Get your game on at Gamescom 2016
Gamescom is an annual clash of the computer/video game industry and private consumers. Dating back to 2009, Gamescom is the world’s largest gaming event and one of the few video game conventions that invites the public to join in the festivities. From Aug. 18-21, 2016, visitors are encouraged to explore the newest games, try out the latest hardware products on the market, join in the fun with cosplay costumes, and much more at Koelnmesse, Cologne’s exhibition center.
2016 Theme and trends
Each year, Gamescom highlights some of the most progressive trends in the gaming industry, showcasing the most innovative products and ideas on the market. For 2016, Gamescon has chosen three trends that tie into the “Heroes in New Dimensions” theme.
• Virtual Reality – With the release of the first functional virtual reality goggles in the past year, the technology is reaching the entertainment industry. With devices such as the Oculus Rift and the PlayStation VR just now making their way to private consumers, Gamescom hopes to explore the use of virtual reality not just in gaming, but also with film and live events. Many test products will be available for the public to try out at the convention.
• E-Sports – Considered the sport of the 21st century, electronic sports events have taken the world by storm. With viewership and prize pools far surpassing those of traditional sports, the realm of e-sports is an extremely up-and-coming trend. Worldwide events, such as ESL One, have captivated audiences over the past few years, and their prevalence has grown due to streaming capabilities of organizations. Gamescom 2016 will host a number of gaming competitions as it has in the past, but will also pay special attention to ideas surrounding the use of social media, streaming and advertising in the growing e-sports world.
• The Player as the Designer – In our new era of interconnectivity, players have affected the design and development of independently inspired games. Gamescom has always acknowledged the influence of players within the gaming industry, whether through post-game or development critique, crowd-funding of independent games, beta-testing, or even direct development of their own future games. The increasing popularity of e-sports athletes and Let’s Players is yet another indicator of players’ desires to participate in the future of the gaming industry, and Gamescom 2016 hopes to continue the discussion on this hot new trend.
While much of the convention is conducted in German, English is the primary language used by the developers to interact with the public, so there is no fear of language barriers getting in the way of enjoying the convention. Some of the biggest names in the gaming/entertainment industry will be participating this year, including Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts (EA), Intel, Warner Bros. and many more. In addition to the main exhibitions by the video game industry’s biggest names, a number of supporting exhibitions with fun-filled activities for visitors are also available to enjoy.
• Debuting in Gamescom 2015, the Family and Friends area located in Hall 10.2 is available for those who wish to take a leisurely stroll through what the convention has to offer. Many child-friendly games, including Activision’s famed Skylanders franchise, are available to play, and lounging areas are available for relaxing. Also included in this area are activities such as HEADIS (table tennis played with the head), retro gaming stations, a skate workshop, photo van and the juniors club.
• The Indie Arena Booth in Hall 10.1 has won multiple awards for marketing this growing branch of the gaming industry. In this area, consumers can try out some of the newest independent games in development and learn how to successfully self-develop games for the indie market.
• The Cosplay Village in Hall 10.1 is a great place to mingle with the creatively costumed cosplayers attending Gamescom. From homemade costumes to professional cosplayers, the range of subjects and quality is sure to amaze and entertain those visiting this melding of the minds. Multiple shows and awards are given out in the Cosplay Village for those who best capture the spirit of the gaming and entertainment industries.
• Finally in Hall 5.2, the massive fanshop spreads out further than the eye can see with more games and items than any gaming fan could ever imagine. If you’re looking for that one game you haven’t been able to find or that one item to finish your collection, then chances are you will find it at Gamescom with more than 75 companies exhibiting their wares in this hall.
For a child-friendly atmosphere, all the games and wares are rated by the German ratings board and assigned rankings that relate to color-coded age limits. At the entrance to the convention, guests are given colored wristbands associated with their age, and entrance to certain exhibits is restricted by these colors. All public exhibits are child friendly standards, and more mature games are in closed exhibits requiring a certain colored wristband.
• No wristband – Under 12 years
• Green – 12 years and over
• Blue – 16 years and over
• Red – 18 years and over
Cologne celebrates this massive event with an outdoor Gamescom Festival for everyone to enjoy. Shows and concerts are performed outside the convention hall, and the party atmosphere is amazing to enjoy even if you travel to Cologne without a Gamescom ticket. For more information, please visit the Gamescom wesbite.