- Gamescom opens in Germany on Wednesday
- Event is world's largest trade fair for video games
- Sony, Microsoft expected to show off new consoles, titles
- "XCOM," "Diablo" and "Dead Rising" updates to be shown
Gamescom brings video game fans, developers and companies together in one place to discover what's new, and what's coming, in the gaming industry.
Held in Cologne, Germany, the event is billed as the world's largest trade fair for interactive games and entertainment. Boasting 275,000 visitors in its third year, the gathering, which opens Wednesday, has been a place for gaming companies to show off their new products and for fans to get their first experience with new titles.
With their next-generation video game consoles scheduled for release later this year, Sony and Microsoft are expected to reveal what games can be played on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One respectively. But there are always surprises at Gamescom, and this year will surely be no different.
Sony continues to roll along after an outstanding showing at E3 in Los Angeles earlier this summer. Unveiling new games for the portable PS Vita, as well as the new PlayStation 4, Sony also made a point of showcasing a wide variety of independent games that will be coming to the new console.
The company has now announced launch dates for the PlayStation 4 -- November 15 in North America and November 29 in Europe. The new console is expected to be in 32 countries at launch. Sony also lowered the price on the PS Vita ($199) and is making a 12GB PlayStation 3 available for a relatively meager $199.
Microsoft is showing off its Xbox One lineup at Gamescom, featuring 51 new games (including 20 at console launch) with many being exclusive titles or having exclusive content for the new home console.
Attendees will have the chance for hands-on experience with "Ryse: Son of Rome," "Dead Rising 3," and "Forza Motorsport 5" among others.
Gaming companies will be making "surprise" announcements at the event to showcase their new titles -- and possibly tip their hands about the directions they expect to go in the near future.
Many companies also are attempting to bridge the coming console generation gap by letting customers upgrade their games from current-generation to next-generation for a small fee.
UbiSoft will introduce a new fighting game designed specifically for the Xbox One, "Fighter Within." The new game aims to provide realistic fighting competition by using the Kinect controller and giving players more precision and responsiveness.
This game is destined to get players moving, sweating and involved as they battle against their friends. The 1-to-1 motion tracking with Kinect should deliver realistic moves and "injuries."
Blizzard took this opportunity to announce additional content for its popular "Diablo 3" game. Called "Reaper of Souls," the new content aims to give players the experience many have been clamoring for since the release of the game.
"Reaper of Souls" will have a new melee class, more monsters and environments, and, of course, new loot. "Diablo 3" will be making its console debut this fall on current generation and next-gen consoles.
Fresh off the success of "XCOM: Enemy Unknown," 2K Games wants players to take another plunge into the world where you defend Earth against alien invaders. "XCOM: Enemy Within" will be announced at Gamescom and offers upgraded weapons, abilities and enemies in the battle for the future.
More than just an expansion pack, it will enable players to actually utilize alien technology -- making their squads more than human. While the endgame is still the same, how you get there radically changes with the new tactical elements.
Electronic Arts, Warner Bros. Interactive, Activision, Bethesda and many others are also at the show, touting new features to games previously announced. Many of the new games will be playable at the event, which is why so many fans flock to Germany for a taste.