Gamescom 2016 is underway in Cologne, Germany, and video game fans have gathered for the latest announcements, hand-on demos and more. The world’s largest video game convention of its kind, Gamescom kicked off its eighth year with a mixture of new games and additional details for those games announced during E3.
Takeaways thus far from Gamescom 2016 include: publishers favor influencers over press, VR and mobile are making a big push and this is going to be one heck of a holiday shopping season for the video game industry.
Microsoft took a new approach to Gamescom this year, skipping the press conference and opting for XBox Fanfest, a community event running throughout the show that offers hands-on demos of upcoming games. Microsoft isn’t alone in this idea—Sony, too decided not to hold a press conference for the second year in a row. Peter Moore, EA’s chief competition officer, told Eurogamer that publishers like themselves are moving toward influencers rather than press coverage. “I’m not too sure that press conferences have a future,” he said. “The medium is changing. Influencers, celebrities who aren’t the classic journalists are finding their own way. Our job is to put the games in their hands.”
Microsoft announced FIFA 17 during Gamescom, as well as two forthcoming Xbox One S bundles that include the game. There will be versions of the 500 GB and 1 TB console available. Konami unleashed a look at Metal Gear: Survive, a zombie take on the classic franchise and the first MGS game since the exit of Hideo Kojima. Blizzard unveiled its fifth Overwatch animated short entitled The Last Bastion, a story that ties into a new map coming in September.
Traditionally, the largest game announcements occur during E3, but Gamescom is the ideal follow-up with trailers, DLC and additional features to explore. Although this is far from an inclusive list, here are some highlights from the show:
The latest creature was unveiled for Pokémon Sun/Moon—Turtonator, a fire/dragon-type. Additional footage and details were also released for Battlefield 1, featuring desert combat on horseback. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will soon get a zombie DLC entitled Zombies in Spaceland, starring Pee Wee Herman and a 1980’s-style theme park. South Park: The Fractured But Whole shows off the new battle system and Bandai Namco announced that Lee Chaolan and his alter-ego Violet are joining as playable characters in Tekken 7.
Ubisoft and Sony are both on hand to show off their virtual reality wares, including Eagle Flight and Star Trek: Bridge Crew. EA has announced FIFA Mobile, feauring an “Attack Mode” that implements turned-based gameplay. In addition, FIFA Mobile will benefit from live content updates, inviting players to play a variety of mini-games created in accordance with real-world events.