Gamescom 2019: what you need to know
What is it? The world's largest gaming event (in terms of exhibitions and visitor numbers)
Where is it? Cologne, Germany
When is it? August 20-24, 2019
Can I get tickets? Not anymore.
Gamescom 2019 has now wrapped up for this year but it was certainly one heck of a show.
While Gamescom isn't typically a big show for announcements – that's usually the remit of the earlier E3 2019 event in July – journalist and presenter Geoff Keighley shook up the formula, hosting a pre-show announcement livestream called Opening Night Live, which featured announcements and new content from Square Enix, Google Stadia, Epic Games and many more.
On top of that, the TechRadar team was on the show floor all week to bring you the latest news, hands on and features from the biggest upcoming games. Missed some of our coverage? Don't worry, we've collected it right here for you to peruse at your leisure.
- See the best upcoming games for Xbox, PS4 and Switch
Gamescom 2019 games
Gamescom 2019 is, of course, all about the games. This is the biggest gaming event in the world, which means there are hundreds of games on the show floor. Luckily, we here at TechRadar were on the floor playing the hottest games at the show.
We went ahead and collected all of our hands-on coverage in one place:
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- Watch Dogs: Legion
- Final Fantasy VII Remake
- FIFA 20
- Luigi's Haunted Mansion 3
- Pokémon Sword and Shield
- Marvel's Avengers
- Nintendo Switch Lite
If that's not enough for you then make sure to check out some of our great features from the event:
- Gamescom 2019 made me believe in ray tracing again
- Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s Ghost War adds some much-needed suspense to PvP
- 20 years later, the Blair Witch is still scaring the **** out of me
Gamescom: Opening Night Live
For the first time for the massive gaming event, Geoff Keighley (the creator of The Game Awards) kicked off the start of Gamescom will a live show called Opening Night Live. As promised, there was a wide mix of world premiere content and announcements, including another attempt by Hideo Kojima to explain the bewildering Death Stranding game and its assortment of babies, BTs (shadow creatures), and urination mechanics. You read that right.
We also got a Little Nightmares II reveal, a new Gears 5 trailer, a release date for The Witcher III on Nintendo Switch, and news that Devil May Cry 5 and Blair Witch Project are both coming to Xbox Games Pass.
Hearsay not enough for you? You can watch the stream for yourself below:
Sony at Gamescom 2019
Sony's presence at Gamescom 2019 marks the company's first public appearance of the year – and we're very excited following such a long period of radio silence.
The silence has certainly been broken, with the news that Sony has acquired its longstanding partner Insomniac, which was behind its brilliant Marvel's Spider-Man game. Kojima tried to explain more about Death Stranding, but we'd be lying if we said we understood all of it. There wasn't much in the way of The Last of Us: Part 2 or Ghost of Tsushima news either.
Microsoft at Gamescom 2019
Microsoft Xbox went pretty hard for Gamescom 2019 with nearly 200 booths on the show floor, including the first public hands-on of both Minecraft Dungeons and Gears 5's Horde Mode. Fans also had the opportunity to try out Project xCloud.
We didn't get the scoop on Halo Infinite or Sea of Thieves we hoped for during Opening Night Live, but a new Gears 5 trailer went some way to making up for it. During a special Inside Xbox episode before the event, Microsoft also promised ray tracing support for Minecraft, which should give the blocky sandbox game even better-looking blocks. We're still waiting for more details on Xbox Project Scarlett, but hey ho.
Nintendo at Gamescom 2019
Nintendo hasn't shown anything particularly new at Gamescom this year, instead offering hands on with the same titles as at E3 2019.
On the show floor, attendees also got a chance to play The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, The Witcher 3, Astral Chain, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and Dragon Quest 10 S: Echoes of an Elusive Age.
Nvidia at Gamescom 2019
Nvidia appeared at Gamescom 2019 with one goal: expand ray tracing. And, well, that's exactly what it did. Rather than introducing a new generation of graphics cards like it did last year, Nvidia reinforced the current Nvidia Turing lineup with a host of new games that feature ray tracing technology.
These include Synched: Off-Planet which will use ray-traced reflections and shadows, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare remake, which comes with ray-traced shadows and new downloadable content for Metro Exodus called The Two Colonels.
The upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion will also get ray-traced reflections, and Dying Light 2 will get real-time ray tracing.
However, perhaps the biggest news is that Minecraft will be getting ray tracing support in a free update. We got a chance to play some Minecraft with ray tracing enabled, and we can honestly tell you that it completely transforms the game. Changing the lighting engine has made the game look completely different, whether its from shockingly realistic water to the eerie red glow as you start nearing some lava in a tunnel.
- Check out our Hands on: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review
Intel at Gamescom 2019
Intel appeared at Gamescom 2019, but rather than launching new desktop processors aimed at challenging AMD Ryzen 3rd Generation processors, Intel instead talked about how it was still the best place for PC gaming. Intel detailed that not only was the Intel Core i9-9900K still the best processor for gaming, but explained that through the use of software, Team Blue is focused on making PC gaming better for everyone.
Intel clearly has an eye on the competition, though, with a sly swipe at AMD, which it says has “done a great job closing the gap, but we still have the highest performing CPUs.”
It also helped recontextualize Ice Lake and Intel Gen11 graphics in a way that made sense for gamers. Integrated graphics on Ultrabooks, starting this year, should be able to handle some more intense gaming workloads than years prior – though don't expect to enable ray tracing on them.
We did miss out on getting new Intel Xe graphics card information, but Intel assured us that more information on its discrete graphics cards is on the way. We just have to wait and see.
Dell and Alienware at Gamescom 2019
At Gamescom 2019, Dell announced a whole host of Alienware and Dell G Gaming products. This includes the Alienware Aurora R9, a gaming desktop that follows in the footsteps of the fantastic Alienware Area-51m.
Just in time for that new desktop, Alienware also revealed the AW3420DW gaming monitor, a refreshed version of the beloved AW3418DW – one of the best ultrawide monitors. And, if that's just not enough screen for you, Alienware also showed off the massive AW5520QF gaming monitor – a whopping 55-inch OLED gaming monitor coming in with a 4K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. You're going to need one hell of a graphics card to power it, but it's definitely a sight to behold.
We also got new Alienware gaming peripherals and the Dell G5 gaming desktop, an entry-level prebuilt gaming PC that should make it easier for people to get into PC gaming without dropping a fortune on Alienware's pricier output.
HP at Gamescom 2019
It's not all fun and games of course – even at Gamescom – with some serious hardware releases being announced at the event as well. You can check out our hands on HP Pavilion Gaming 15 review for our first take on HP's affordable gaming laptop, and what it brings to the company's 2019 range.
- Best games 2019: our favorite PC and console games of the year