Gamescom is the world's biggest video games event. PHOTO: AFP
Gamescom, the world's biggest video games event, welcomes manufacturers, publishers, and consumers like you to Germany's Cologne Exhibition Center every year. Here's something of what to expect from its 2012 edition, which runs August 15-19.
The four biggest press conferences belong to Electronic Arts, Sony, Capcom and Ubisoft, partly because Microsoft and Nintendo won't be present this year.
Surprise! It's the Wii U
However, Nintendo is tipped to finally, finally announce launch dates and prices for the Wii U on August 13, so look out for that.
Press conference action
Game publisher Electronic Arts opens the show with an August 14 media briefing starting 4pm local time, and can count FIFA 13, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Crysis 3 and SimCity among its wares.
Sony goes next at 7pm and has a number of options: the good value PlayStation Plus subscription scheme, the PlayStation Vita portable system, and a general preview of its late 2012 and 2013 line up.
The line-up includes: God of War: Ascension, Sound Shapes, The Unfinished Swan, Papa & Yo, Zen Pinball 2, LittleBigPlanet Vita if not another peek at The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls. There might even be a little dig at its absent rivals, the Xbox 360 and Wii U.
Capcom has its conference lined up for earlier in the day at 11am but isn't saying what's on the menu apart from "something big." Probably Resident Evil 6, Devil May Cry, Lost Planet 3; possibly something Monster Hunter related.
Ubisoft is hyping action games Assassin's Creed III and Far Cry 3, party titles Just Dance 4 and Hip Hop Dance Experience, and a host of Wii U games. Once Nintendo has spilt the beans on the Wii U, Ubisoft should be far less coy about ZombiU, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013, Rayman Legends et al. It's also being very positive about free games, whether via Facebook or traditional online multiplayer.
Show floor fun
For most of Gamescom's attendees, the real draw is the show floor. From professionals to casuals and costume-wearing fans, expect big show floor draws to include Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Borderlands 2, World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2, Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, One Piece: Pirate Warriors, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Tomb Raider, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and Final Fantasy XIV.
How to follow Ubisoft's Gamescom briefing
Ubisoft's August 15 Gamescom press conference might not be broadcast online when it starts in Cologne at 3pm Central European Time, but there'll be live Twitter updates and a Youtube upload afterwards, with Ubi calling up games like Assassin's Creed III, Far Cry 3, Zombie U, and Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 for the expo.
How to watch EA's Gamescom media briefing live online
Electronic Arts will take to the stage at Gamescom on August 14 to deliver its press conference, starting 4pm CET (10am New York and Toronto, 3pm London, 10pm in Malaysia, Singapore, and Perth), with the event streamed live on the company's website.
How to watch Sony's Gamescom media briefing live online
Sony PlayStation will be broadcasting its August 14 Gamescom press conference and live Q&A from Cologne to the world via a web stream starting 7pm local time (1pm New York, 6pm London, 1am the next day in Malaysia, Singapore, and Perth); it's a far cry from the event's early days, when attendees would attempt to stream low quality footage from struggling smartphones.
Official website: gamescom-cologne.com