We're on the ground at Gamescom 2019. Year after year, Cologne, Germany has hosted the most exponentially growing gaming convention in the industry. In a world where we have E3 in the United States, one might wonder if Gamescom puts up a competing event that makes it worth the trip. We're going to argue yes, absolutely. Besides the city of Cologne being a beautiful and varied hotspot of good food and beautiful sights in the Rhineland, Gamescom also hosts a gargantuan display of the latest and greatest that the gaming industry has to offer. From the biggest and best new and upcoming games to the most interesting indies, it's far too much to shove into one article, so this one is all about our experience with the major halls and Entertainment Areas on our Day 1 adventure at Gamescom 2019.
The Main Event of Gamescom 2019
Gamescom 2019 is simply massive, and even our focus this time takes up its fair share of the Cologne Trade Fair. The Entertainment Areas take up four of the Cologne Trade Fair's eleven halls worth of space. People familiar with E3 may recall that the LA Convention Center splits its main attractions between the South and West Hall. Each Entertainment Area hall at Gamescom is about the size of the South or West Hall at E3. That means with four of them, Gamescom easily has double the space dedicated solely to its main public attractions. Bring a comfy pair of walking shoes.
With the scale of Gamescom hammered home, we dove into the halls. Sony, Xbox, Bethesda, Square-Enix, and many more of the most popular gaming companies went all out on an absolutely decadent display of gaming booths and entertainment. In one hall, PlayStation was letting us have a go at the upcoming Medieval remake, Death Stranding, and Iron man VR alongside Capcom's booth entirely dedicated to the new Monster Hunter: Iceborne and Frontier Development's upcoming Planet Zoo. In another, Nintendo was letting people try much of their upcoming catalogue of Pokemon, Zelda: Link's Awakening, and much more while Google let people take the Founder's Pack Stadia for a spin and Square-Enix repped everything Final Fantasy. Ubisoft was giving us the latest taste of Watchdogs while Bandai Namco put a full-size Shenron on display, watching over Dragon Ball FighterZ and DBZ: Kakarot booths. In every corner of every hall, Gamescom Entertainment Areas were filled to the brim with good new games to try.
Highlights of the Gamescom Entertainment Halls
For all of the people at Gamescom, it does an admirable job of putting room and organization between the booths and their lines. Certainly, there's some that were always more busy and electric than others (looking at Cyberpunk 2077 and Stadia), but for the volume of people, it's easy to know where to go and the spectacle is tremendously good. We got an absolute kick out of the set-up of both the full-scale Eternal Dragon and the World Tournament at DBFZ, but Borderlands 3 was also in fantastic form with their booth, showing all the bombastic art and spectacle you should expect of Gearbox around their demo set-ups. Meanwhile, Google Stadia was rocking an appropriately S-Shaped slide you could ride down after you experienced everything they wanted to show you.
A surprisingly good one was THQ Nordic, who were repping their upcoming Destroy All Humans and Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom remakes as well as Biomutant and Darksiders Genesis. Despite their share of publicity issues earlier in 2019, THQ Nordic brought a lot of love and fun to their booth with some cool life-size Destroy All Humans and Darksiders displays, cosplayers taking pictures, and a great array of gaming demos to go with it all. A lot of the Entertainment Areas at Gamescom felt like a non-stop party, but THQ Nordic's booth felt particularly fun.
There's still a lot more of Gamescom to see, but if the main attractions are what you crave, the Entertainment Areas of the convention put on an air of fun and excitement like little else you'll find in the world. Thankfully there's also a lot of room to step out of the fun and take a breather either in outdoor avenues outside the hall or at food and rest areas scattered about, but the vast space of the Cologne Trade Fair allows for a never-ending sea of the best things in gaming. If there's an upcoming reveal or new game you want to play, Gamescom's Entertainment Areas are a wild way to experience the best of the best this industry has to offer.