Cologne buzzed into life yesterday (5 August 2015) on the first day of Gamescom, the world's biggest computer and video game fair. Desktop and console games from the industry's biggest manufacturers – including Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Microsoft – were wired up for trade visitors on Wednesday ahead of doors opening to general enthusiasts on 6 August. For 2015's edition, all eyes are on virtual reality headsets being developed by a number of producers. Sony used the event to showcase its PS4 Project Morpheus, which has been three years in the making.
"You find yourself actually in the game. You are wearing these glasses, and when you turn your head you remain in the game world. This means that I also have things happening behind me, beside me and so on. So, for example, if I play a car-racing game, then I can look around my car. I can look right in the wing mirror, and these are all things that were not possible in games up until now. So you are completely in the game situation. This also means in football games that I can stand on the pitch with Bayern in the Munich arena," Sony Germany Project Morpheus spokesman, Guido Alt, said.
Microsoft and Facebook are also keen to jump on the headset bandwagon with their respective HoloLens and Oculus Rift offerings. Managing director of the Federation of Interactive Entertainment Software, Maximilian Schenk, agreed that the immersive virtual reality gameplay was topping this year's agenda. "An important trend subject is virtual reality. Players can now delve much further into the gaming world than they used to in the past now with the virtual reality glasses. Another important subject is the new generation of games. These games were made only for the new generation of consoles. The developers were able to focus completely on the new consoles and take the best of these, which means that the games look fantastic," he said.
But more traditional formats still got a look-in, with the latest editions of the Assassin's Creed and Halo franchises attracting eager fans. Schenk added that EA are also hoping that the new editions of the Star Wars movie franchise – the latest of which is set for cinema release in December 2015 – will add to the interest in their video-game foray into the saga, with a reinvigoration of the Star Wars: Battlefront series.
"If we are talking about the Christmas business, then we are always talking about the big titles, the blockbuster titles – which we call the Triple A titles like Star Wars Battlefront, which millions of Star Wars fans are waiting for. The new Assassin's Creed title, Syndicate, many are also waiting for this, and it is also a game which looks really fantastic, opulent, visual. Or Halo 5, [and] Metal Gear Solid 5, one of the most important big games in our branch, which is bringing its new title The Phantom Pain on to the market. Forza 6, Uncharted 4 – there are a lot of games which will certainly dominate in the coming months," he said.
2015's edition marks the seventh year for Gamescom, which is set to welcome tens of thousands of visitors until 9 August.