TechAltar was able to actually go out and attend Gamescom this year to get some fairly good scoops. And as you’d expect, it was rather amazing. We’ve got a few words regarding how it went and how our own experiences were from two of our writers. Next year we’ll have even more exclusives than we did this year (which was minuscule) and a lot more coverage. Gamescom is a great way for gamers to come together and celebrate their favorite products.
Gamescom 2016 Wrap-Up
The venue is certainly very big, and no, that isn’t a ‘that’s what she said joke’. It’s quite amazing to see how many gamers come together at Gamescom, and see people share their passion. The booths were beautifull and the atmosphere was amazing. In total there were 5 entertainment halls, 3 business halls and a hall full that was dedicated to showcasing fan merchandise.
Hall 6 had Ubisoft, 2K Games and EA as the big game companies. In hall 7 Blizzard had about half the hall in use. Hall 8 had the Xbox stage with a lot of more devs. Hall 9 was mostly hardware and entertainment related, with companies like ESL, Twitch and OmenbyHP. Also there were played out a lot of tournaments at the ESL Stage.
The worst part about Gamescom in my opinion is that EVERYTHING, literally EVERYTHING was in German. For me as a Dutchman it’s quite okay and relatively easy to understand, but for people that never heard anything German-like it’s horrible and kind of prohibitive. Also during the weekend it’s quite busy all throughout the city anyway, not to mention the draw from the massive amounts of gaming fans throughout the world that come to visit. You could almost walk over other peoples heads to get the other side of the venue, if you really wanted to.
After 1 day of walking around I was really tired but I hadn’t seen everything yet. But on the second day I started to get a bit bored. I wasn’t really planning on staying in the queues for multiple hours, so I only played Forza Horizon 3 (which was amazing by the way). So if you ever decide to go to Gamescom, I would recommend you to take a chair with you, and go for around 2 days, maybe 3 if you really want to but everything more than that is too much in my opinion.
Overall it was an outstanding experience and I hope we’ll be able to go again next year in order to get even more great info, interviews and other exclusive content.
Count to Infiinity
One of the things that struck me regarding Gamescom was the scale and scope, its lauded as being one of the biggest events of its type globally and not for nothing, the stands are all huge affairs with even the smaller ones being large enough to fit multiple desktops for demonstration purposes as well as the staff needed to assist visitors. Due to a lack of real notice in terms of attendance I hadn’t properly planned my visit so only really got to see a couple of booth sadly, these being the Star Citizen booth and the stand for The Climb, arriving early we got to the SC booth early and got to spend a bit of time investigating what’s on offer, being a backer I declined to try the title, already being more than familiar with what it offers and instead spoke to a few of the guys operating the stand, mostly all volunteers with a few CIG staffers dotted about. Spirits were high despite the volunteers basically being in the middle of a multi day streaming event to help promote the title and the general feedback both in terms of what was on show and the booth itself was overwhelmingly positive with a lot of excitement about the unexpected CIG hosted backer event later that evening.
The Climb booth was next on the agenda, not only to give the game a try, but also because it represented a good opportunity for me to try the rift touch controllers. I’ve owned a rift for a few months (review to follow) and was intrigued to see if the oculus touch could close the gap between it and the vive in terms of experience. To say I was not disappointed is an understatement.
To those not following VR or VR titles, The Climb is a currently available game by Crytek which is pretty much as it’s name describes, a climbing simulation. The title throws you into a first person view of a climber in varying terrain settings, offering stunning vistas and beautiful views as a backdrop to the main activity, climbing. Gameplay to date has been via the Xbox One controller that ships with the rift and as such it’s been a game I’ve not even contemplated buying due to suffering a degree of VR sickness when moving in game currently. The controllers seems to help here, since part of the issue I have is the disconnect between my vision and what my body is actually doing. I found the simple act of just moving my arms to try to move around the cliff face helped significantly, with the only reason I cut my play time short being due to being stood a tad too close to the two camera sensors meaning I often ended up ‘in’ the cliff face rather than scaling it, something which I doubt would be a problem with more room to manoeuvre than was readily available at the booth.
The rift controllers themselves are something else. Surprisingly sensitive, incredibly light but with a feel of durability which their design and weight suggests shouldn’t be possible, the controller interface is cleanly laid out and very conducive to the type of ‘blind operation’ that wearing a VR headset will require. The whole thing felt solid and utterly enjoyable to use. I think that once these finally hit the market later this year one of the biggest arguments in favour of the Vive will become a tad redundant since both headsets will have a reasonable degree of feature parity. While I couldn’t test the handsets as fully as I’d liked I suspect even the Vives much vaunted roomscale support may start to face competition since I have heard reports of the rifts cameras being able to track over a fair distance, though the lack of the front facing camera will likely be something of a potential obstacle to fully realising the potential of this, at least with the CV1, I know one of the reasons I was wary of moving around to avoid climbing into the cliff face during the demo I had was the awareness of the fact that I had zero clue as to what was actually going on around me.