Gamescom reaffirmed its position as Europe's leading video game conference with some 275,000 attendees storming the halls of the Cologne trade fair for the three-day event. The visitor figures are on par with last year's record numbers.
Still "Wow"ing Them
Online and mobile gaming were the buzzwords at this year's gamescom, with gaming giants such as Electronic Arts and Sony Entertainment moving to capitalize on the fast-growing online and free-to-play business. But Blizzard Entertainment proved pay-to-play is still a workable, as fans swarmed their stand to play the subscription-only MMORPG World of Warcraft.
Blockbuster Titles Still The Draw
The smart money seems to be moving towards lower-tech casual and free-to-play titles but the fans still want their big budget cinema-style games. Gamescom fans were willing to wait in line up to five hours for a chance to play blockbuster titles such as Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed.
PS Vita Line Up Offers Sony Hope
Sony Entertainment's PS Vita, the company's big push into the mobile gaming business, has had a less-than-stellar start. But analysts are more bullish about PS' potential after Sony unveiled a host of new titles for the handheld platform, including Tearaway from Media Molecule, the developer behind LittleBigPlanet.
Razer's Cutting Edge
Gaming technology company Razer got hard-core player's attention with the announcement of its new Deathstalker Ultimate keyboard, a $250 piece of cutting-edge gear aimed at the high end gamer market.
"Call of Duty: Black Ops 2" on The Road to Global Dominance
Coming in to gamescom, Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was already the biggest of the big titles on display. If the rave reviews from both industry press and ordinary gamescom fans are to believed, the first-person combat game is on track to break global records when it goes out internationally in November.
Blizzard Blows Away Competition
Even without CoD: Black Ops 2, Activision Blizzard's stand was the place to be at gamescom. New releases of the company's Diablo and Starcraft franchises packed them in. Blizzard ended with a bang, streaming the final of the 2012 European World of Warcraft Invitational tournament live on the massive screens at its stand.
Return of "Total War: Rome"
Strategy fans applauded Creative Assembly at gamescom when the company finally revealed Total War: Rome II, the long-awaited sequel to its hit strategy title. Brand developer Rob Bartholomew promised Total War: Rome 2 would offer "Saving Private Ryan" levels of drama.
The problems of video game piracy was again a main talking point among industry executives at this year's conference. The women at the Contra Piracy stand managed to spark fan's interest in the sexy issue of copyright infringement.
"Dishonored": Game of the Year?
CoD: Black Ops2 was the biggest title at gamescom but many reviewers argued this first-person adventure game from Bethesda Softworks was the best. The game puts players in control of the supernatural assassin Corvo on his quest for revenge. Fans were impressed by the cutting-edge graphics and gameplay as well as the top-end voice talent, which included Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon.
"The Last of Us" Trailer
Developer Naughty Dog only had a trailer to show off its upcoming post-apocalpytic survival game The Last Of Us, but what a trailer! Gamescom attendees were impressed by its cinema-style graphics and the haunting sound of the Hank Williams Sr. song Alone and Forsaken playing on its soundtrack.
"Tekken Tag Tournament 2" Draws Fight Fans With Online Service
Namco Bandai, the company behind the popular Tekken fighting franchise, announced a new premium online service: Tekken World Federation, that will allow player to compete with each other around the world. The service is a first for a fighting game.
Fans Satisfied, Industry Delighted
Costumed fans crowded the gamescom halls but the real success story this year was with the gaming industry. Industry attendance hit an all-time high, with 24,500 industry players, 14 percent more than last year, made the trip to Cologne between Aug.15-19.
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