The definitive esports guide to Gamescom 2017

August is well underway and that means we are getting ever closer to this year’s Gamescom! It’s not just game announcements to get excited about – there is a considerable esports presence to anticipate too.

First things first though – here’s a quick overview of what you need to know about this year’s event:

What is it?

Some are calling it ‘Europe’s biggest gaming event’, and in some ways it functions as Europe’s answer to Los Angeles’ E3. Providing a melting pot of gaming related stalls, shops and shows, the annual arena always delivers on hype as the epicentre of epic new game announcements and groundbreaking industry news.

When is it?

The show proper opens on the 22nd of August for the press and the 23rd for the public. Live streams and announcements will begin rolling out from the 20th, so keep your eyes peeled if you don’t want to miss out on any of the action. The event comes to a close after Saturday the 26th.

Where is it?

At the Koelnmesse, the international trade fair and exhibition centre in Cologne, Germany.

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_pe3check'>pe3check / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 Now for the important question – what esports presence can we expect to see at the event?

ESL brings esports to Gamescom 2017

Gamescom’s Hall 9 will play host to the ESL Arena once again, and ESL promises more action than ever. With the tantalising statement that they will offer “the largest esports production the world’s biggest gaming convention has ever seen”, ESL will utilise more than 5,000 square metres of exhibition space to the 350,000 fans expected to attend over the course of this year’s event.

The main focus will be on the two Esports Stages that will be set up for live competitions. Fans will also want to head down to the Esports Zone, which offers terrific features for the community, including live demos, giveaways, meet and greets and signing sessions with pro players and teams. Across the setups, there’s a mix of classic and new titles to pander to the Gamescom crowd, including latest hot topic PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG), which has sparked debate at the ESI camp over its potential as an esport. ESL has also announced a massive $350,000 (£268,000) PUBG tournament for eighty of the top players internationally that is already grabbing headlines. The other games on offer include perennial favourites League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, as well as a genre-diverse medley of action with Blade & Soul, CROSSFIRE, FIFA 17, Project CARS and Rainbow Six: Siege.

For those attendees who aren’t content watching the pros fight for tournament success, the nearby ESL Playground will host community competitions for games such as FIFA 17, Rocket League and Clash Royale. Even those that fancy a go at virtual reality esports can sign up for a showdown on The Unspoken, the spell-slinging Oculus title making waves in the VR Challenger League. There’s community bonuses on offer here, too, including meet and greets with ESL personalities, raffles, community meetings and workshops.

Twitch will also have their own presence adjacent to ESL, with a prominent stage show, a special “creative stage”, and H1Z1 kiosks that feature alongside Twitch’s own meet and greet zone with popular creators. Limited edition Twitch merchandise will also be on offer.

Competition overview

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege | Pro League Season 2 Finals | Main Stage, 25-26 Aug

The best eight best teams from Latin America, North America and Europe will battle it out for a $237,500 (£182,000) total prize pool, with playoffs on Friday and the finals on Saturday.

LoL, CS:GO and FIFA | ESL Meisterschaft Finals | Alternate Stage, 25 Aug

Germany’s top teams and players in League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and FIFA 17 can prove themselves worthy by winning the most prestigious national title and a chunk of the combined €60,000 (£54,400) prize pool.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive | paysafecard Beat the Legends Vol. III | Alternate Stage, 25 Aug

Sixteen top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive amateur teams will have the chance to prove themselves next to two of the world’s best, bodyy and apEX from G2 Esports, the current Pro League CS:GO Season 5 champions.

Crossfire | Crossfire Stars European Finals | Alternate Stage, 24 Aug

ESL and Smilegate Europe team up to bring Europe’s top 4 teams together for a $20,800 (£16,000) prize pool and the precious slot at the Crossfire Grand Finals in Shanghai, China.

Project CARS | World Final | Main Stage, 23 Aug

The top five teams from the SMS-R Championship Series battle it out for a €5,000 (£4,530) prize pool, on top of the €15,000 that the teams have already secured over the course of the season.

Blade & Soul | European Regional Championship | Main Stage, 24 Aug

Eight teams will compete for the title of EU Champion and the prestige of representing their region at the Blade & Soul World Championship 2017 September in South Korea.

Esports Insider says: With a jam-packed schedule of esports entertainment, there’s plenty to whet the appetite ahead of the latest Gamescom extravaganza. But if that’s not enough, Esports Insider Content Exec Ollie Ring will be around too, so drop him a line at ollie@esportsinsider and make sure to say hello!