Posted on June 29, 2015
The road to Gamescom 2015 – part 1
As some of you may know it is almost time for Gamescom 2015!
Gamescom is an annual event/trade fair in Cologne, Germany and this year it will take place at the KoelnMesse from the 5th to the 9th August.
Every year hundreds of exhibitors meet thousands of gamers in a big event that last 5 days. This is one of the bigger events that we have in Europe and is often compared to the E3. But while the E3 is primarily for the press, Gamescom is primarily for the gamers and is open to the public. You can just buy a ticket and line up to see some of your favourite games and meet some of the developers.
On Gamescom there is plenty to do for everyone who is interested in videogames. You have game-developers showcasing their (newest) titles, competitions, e-sports but also big merchandise stands and gorgeous cosplay. So whatever your preference is, there is always something to do for you here.
The event itself is visited by thousands of gaming enthusiasts and every year the numbers of attendees and the popularity of the event seems to be growing. Which does make it a bit tricky to navigate the halls and make sense of it all.
So here is my “Road to Gamescom 2015” with some tips for everyone who is interested in attending the event.
If you are planning to attend Gamescom this year and haven’t made any arrangements, I suggest you to be fast. So far the tickets for the Friday and Saturday have already sold out. The only way to attend these days is to queue up in the morning and get some of the tickets that grant you access after 14.00. I don’t expect there to be many tickets like that so if you really want them I suggest to get there early.
There are still some tickets left for the Thursday and Sunday but expectations are that those will be gone soon. You can buy them at the Gamescom Ticketshop.
The same goes for hotels and other accommodations. The hotels are filling up very quickly and most of the cheaper options are already booked up. If you are still looking for hotels I suggest you to be fast and be prepared to drop some money. Sites like Booking.com and Expedia.com can be really helpful but even now the offers there are quite expensive.
If you don’t mind to go camping you can try and get a place at the Gamescom-Camp site. They offer both field-beds in tents and places to set up your own tent. The prices are really good and you are sure to be surrounded by a lot of like-minded people. If you are on a budget than this is the place to go.
Getting to the actual event itself is really simple. You can go by car and park in one of the big garages on or around the site of Gamescom.
If you go by public transport than your Gamescom ticket (with a valid ID) that have the symbol of the VVR or VRS will allow you free travel in trains, trams an buses to and from the KoelnMesse. This is only valid for the date on your ticket.
For more information on which trams and buses stop there you can go this handy section on the Gamescom site.
Planning on site
Gamescom is a huge event, HUGE! Last year there was an attendance of 335,000 (source) visitors which were spread over 5 days. Traditionally the Friday and Saturday are the most popular days and will be by far the busiest. So you can imagine it will be hot and crowded as you share the same space with thousands of other people and a lot of electronics which will generate a lot of heat as well.
In order to make your Gamescom visit a good one you need to prepare accordingly.
So make a list of the things/ games you really want to see and prioritize them. The queues are long and at times horrendous, so if you are going for the really big and popular games on a busy day you will be waiting in line a long time. The queue can take from 10 minutes to upwards of 6 hours for other games.
Interested in games? Depending on what you want to see you can end up seeing only two games of your list or 8. It all depends on how big the stands of publishers are and how many people want to see the game. Last year Witcher 3, Battlefield, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Oculus Rift and some more, had huge waiting times which started at 3 hours and went up to 6. So decide what you want to do and what is important. That way you won’t be as disappointed if you miss certain things.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of games have age restrictions in place. So if you are below the age of 18 some games will be off limits for you and even if you queue up the chances are you can be removed (after waiting for 20 minutes-3 hours). Gamescom has a handy solution for that, for both attendees and the exhibitors of the event.
When you enter the event there are several places where you can get a coloured bracelet which indicates in which age bracket you fall. You just go up to one of the people there and show your id. They will give you the appropriate bracelet which will grant you access to the games and lets the attendants quickly check if you are allowed to actually see their game. More information about that can be found here.
What to bring.
Pack everything you need in a small backpack and travel light. While you can drop of your bags and coats at cloakrooms but still you need to take some stuff with you while at the event so. You will be on your feet and walking around a lot so it’s very unhandy to take a huge bag that you are carrying around at all times.
Here are some base essentials to take with you: your entry ticket, your ID card, a bottle of water, some snacks/lunch, your phone, a book/handheld and some deodorant.
* Your entry ticket is a given, but an ID card is also needed if you travel by public transport or with the games who have an age restriction.
* A bottle of water as the halls can get very hot and even more so when it’s sunny outside. During the past years people have actually fainted or had issue with dehydration. So taking your own water with you and drink a lot. And while you can get food at the food-stalls you might be stuck in a queue at a game. Take some small snacks with you for during the wait.
* Your Phone, not only to keep in contact with people but you can also use the Gamescom app to navigate the event. So make sure you have it fully charged and perhaps bring a powerbank with you to keep it juiced up. As for the Wifi at the event, it’s not really good so keep your data usage in mind or make sure you topped it up.
*Book/handheld, as the waits will be long and you need to keep yourself entertained. I always bring my Nintendo DS with me so I can play some games and meet other people through the Streetpass option. But bringing an E-reader or small book is also a good plan, it will make the wait at least more bearable.
* Deodorant, like I said it’s very hot in the halls and people tend to get very sweaty at Gamescom. Having something with you to freshen up is not only good for you but also for the people who wait in line with you.
In my next Gamescom updates I will give you some information about foods and drinks, merchandise stands and how I travel. But also what my plans are and what I am hoping to see.
Take care and perhaps see you at Gamescom!