Over the last few years, E3 has developed a habit of stealing the limelight in terms of gaming exhibitions. While the LA event is considered to be of a higher profile, the significance, and indeed timing of Gamescom cannot be understated. Having amassed over a quarter of a million attendees – 275,000, to be precise – at last year’s event, the expo is widely considered to be the largest annual trade show on the video game calendar. You see, unlike E3, Gamescom opens its doors to the general public, and considering that the event falls between the furore of June’s E3 and the forthcoming holiday season, the level of excitement surrounding Cologne rarely disappoints.
2013 marks the fifth iteration of the European event, which will, as always, take place in the Koelnmesse Centre in Germany and is poised to start its five-day gaming related exhibition on August 21st through to August 25th. With a schedule that encompasses the developing heavyweights of the industry – including Electronic Arts, Sega and Square Enix, to name but a few – the guest list for Gamescom 2013 isn’t short of gaming A-listers. We’re just three months away from the nebulous release date of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which means that developers will be able to present a refined, near-complete version of their upcoming games.
Ahead of the software showcase, though, Microsoft and Sony will take to the stage to talk about their next-gen hardware, before their eventual release later this year. Much like E3, the two competitors will address the gaming audience on the same day; August 20th in this case. During which, it is all but guaranteed that both companies will pin specific release dates for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Other than the former hitting retail in November, it’s all been legends and hearsay to this point. Still, one would imagine that Black Friday – which falls on November 29th this year – will act as the figurative cut-off point for both consoles. That first Friday after Thanksgiving is a lucrative market for high street retailers, so it’s difficult to imagine Microsoft, or indeed Sony, dropping the proverbial ball on such an advantageous release window.
What’s important to remember about next week’s occasion is to never underestimate the stature of Gamescom. After all, this is an event that has witnessed the announcements of the PlayStation Slim, Uncharted 2 and Fable III over the years – to name but a few – so best clear your schedule for next week, dear reader.
But before it all kicks off and we become, once again, engulfed in a storm of next-gen hyperbole, let’s retread the road leading up to Gamescom for both Microsoft and Sony, what’s expected of each company at the event, and a few wild theories thrown in for good measure.
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