Gamescom is about to get underway for the second year and Pocket-lint will be live from Cologne covering all the action as it happens, so you can keep abreast of all the biggest gaming news coming out of Germany this week, from the likes of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

That's great if you already know what Gamescom is, but what if you don't? Here is your quick guide to bluffing your way through a conversation with your mates down the pub.

The European equivalent of E3 in Los Angeles and Tokyo Game Show in Japan, GamesCom is one of the largest games trade shows in the world and will see 480 exhibitors from 33 countries descend on Cologne, Germany for 5 days.

Kinda. While E3 is great for new launches, Gamescom is held another 2 months on, so that means we get to see the games that were first announced in June and see how they are coming along. It's also a good chance to really see what will be coming out in time for Christmas. 

The major themes include new concepts in motion control and game entertainment in 3D; as Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all try to expand on their offerings first announced at the E3 gaming convention in LA in June.  

Totally. This year will also see an “Online World” area showing how apps and web games are breaking through to the mainstream, and if that wasn't enough the 9th International Case Modding Championships will be in full swing.

For the old skool gamer there is a Retro Gaming exhibition by René Meyer showcasing the history of video games from their beginnings, 35 years ago, until today.

There already have been. Microsoft has confirmed the Kinect for Xbox 360 UK release date and the Windows Phone 7 games launch line-up has been announced too. Sony has a press conference scheduled, so we can expect some exciting news from that and EA also has something lined-up. 

Our man, Paul Lamkin, is on the show floor all week, with plenty of interviews lined-up plus he'll be looking at the latest games, so stay tuned.

Yep, Sony announced the PlayStation 3 Slim, a smaller and lighter model of the console, at the 2009 event.

Does this show replace the GDC (Games Developers Conference)?

No, but the GDC Europe is held at the same time, in the same city, in the same convention centre.

At Pocket-lint of course. For all the latest news, First Looks, Quick Plays, photos, and interviews, check out our dedicated Gamescom 2010 homepage.