Gamescom 2011


When it comes to videogames, there are three major exhibitions and trade fairs throughout the year every gamer should take notice of and follow – GDC, E3 and Gamescom. I will be discussing the latter and mind you there’s more to it than meets the eye.



Let me start off by saying this has been the third time I have attended such an event and eventhough everytime it’s basically the same all over again, there’s always something that makes each year of this geeky gathering rather unique.

Gamescom 2011 was traditionally held mid-August in Cologne, Germany and in every aspect was exponentionally bigger than it used to in its previous years. The exhibition area was spread out across 120,000 m2 of the Koelnmesse venue and an amazing number of 275,000 visitors managed to attend and get their hands on various upcoming titles during those 5 days.

What were some of the highlights? The easily longest queue was for Battlefield 3, no doubt. This highly anticipated first-person shoother was so hyped up that nearly everybody wanted to give it a try and play through roughly 10 minutes of the game. Graphically it’s a very demanding title that will leave many players wondering wheter they’re watching a Hollywood blockbuster or actually experiencing an evolution in gaming first hand. That’s not to say that the competition, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, was running short when it came to visitors and avid fans of the series waiting in line for hours just to satisfy their needs. I personally prefer slightly more realism over scripted action and thus usually go with Battlefield whenever I have the chance. One thing I have to admit though, CoD is a huge magnet for online multiplayer on the Xbox 360 console. Speaking of which, Blizzard Entertainment were present as well and, thanks to playable versions of Diablo III and the new StarCraft II expansion pack, they more less stole the show.

Other interesting titles that were in the entertainment area and are worth mentioning include, but are not limited to: Star Wars: The Old Republic (mmo/rpg by EA), Metro: Last Light (horror/fps by THQ), Sonic Generations (platformer by SEGA), Batman: Arkham City (action-adventure by WB), Mass Effect 3 (fps/rpg by EA), Prey 2 (fps by Bethesda), Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (action-adventure by Ubisoft) and much more. Sony had prepared for consumers with dozens of Playstation 3 exclusives as well, but their newest handheld device – the PS Vita – remained in the spotlight throughout the show.

Having access to the business area as a journalist, I had the chance to also see and experience certain things regular visitors have no idea about. The approach and communication of people in this section of the venue is completely different than what you’re used to as a consumer. People here have a tendency to take care of you and it’s noticeable at first glance. The area isn’t so crowded, it’s cleaner, you can take advantage of private bars, talk with the developers and most importantly play titles that aren’t showcased in the entertainment area behind closed doors first hand. There are no lines. You just need to schedule an appointment in advance and you’re ready to go. It’s amazing how many contacts you can take from these sessions back home with you at the end of the day. Not to mention how down-to-earth almost everyone is.

To conclude, this was overall a pretty strong year for Gamescom. The presented titles were solid and exciting, the weather turned out pretty well, and there was enough to do to keep you entertainted for the whole week. The only downside was the record-breaking amount of visitors, who made finding a free spot in three of the restaurants and numerous restrooms quite a challenge. Trust me, you don’t get to see that many people every day. Not to mention in some cases the long queues. Thankfully Cologne is a large and beautiful city you will surely find interesting to explore if everything else fails. Wheter you are looking for business opportunities or simply want to spend a week with videogames, Gamescom is worth checking out. At least once in your lifetime. Afterall, it is the „European Mekka“ of gaming.