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(Pocket-lint) - Gamescom is Europe's answer to E3 and underway right now.

Usually held annually in Germany, it is a huge event for gamers, with the biggest forthcoming titles on display for press, trade visitors and the public alike.

However, thanks to the ongoing pandemic, Gamescom 2021 is virtual-only. That doesn't mean there isn't plenty to see, just that we don't get to play preview builds in the flesh.

Here's our guide on the show, plus the games and hardware have been announced so far.

What is Gamescom and when does it run until?

Gamescom started in 2009 and is traditionally held annually at the Koelnmesse convention centre in Cologne, Germany. It generally runs in mid to late-August.

However, as we say above, it switched to a digital-ony event this year like most others. It ran online from Wednesday 25 to Friday 27 August. An Xbox showcase was also streamed on the eve of the show.

Gamescom 2021 press conferences

Several brands streamed their own showcase events during Gamescom, including Xbox, Bungie - for Destiny 2 - and Future Publishing.

Perhaps the biggest though was Opening Night Live - the now annual two-hour extravaganza held on the first night of Gamescom. You can rewatch it in its entirety below.

Gamescom 2021: Cosplay

One of the things that makes Gamescom a little different to E3 and similar events is that it embraces cosplay more. Indeed, it has an annual cosplay competition, so encourages a host of international visitors to dress as Pikachu or one of their other favourite videogame characters.

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While digital-only this year, there was still a cosplay competition, just online instead. Entrants were encouraged to send photos to the organiser and a select team of judges chose the winners.

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You can find out all about the finalists and winners here.

Gamescom 2021: The highlights

Here are our highlights of Gamescom 2021.

Halo Xbox Series X and Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

As part of the Halo Infinite segment in the Opening Night Live presentation, Xbox announced some Halo-themed gubbins. This included a special edition Halo Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and a Halo Infinite Xbox Series X.

Xbox Cloud Gaming coming to Xbox consoles

Another major announcement from Xbox was that it will enable its consoles to play games over the cloud. This means that Xbox One owners with Game Pass Ultimate will be able to play the Xbox Series X/S versions of many games, thanks to streaming them over the internet.

Saints Row

Deep Silver Volition announced a complete reboot for its long-standing Saints Row franchise, taking the series back to its less zany roots. There will be co-op play throughout the campaign and an all-new cast of characters. You can read more about it here.

Death Stranding: Director's Cut

While we've seen a bit on the PS5 upgrade to Death Stranding already, we got a lengthy gameplay deep dive during the Opening Night Live presentation. Kojima's team are certainly going to towm over the improvements.

Forza Horizon 5

Xbox also showed a length gameplay trailer during its own stream, this time of Forza Horizon 5. What's more, like with Halo, the game will be getting its own Xbox Wireless Controller. You can read more about Forza Horizon 5 here.

Marvel's Midnight Suns

Freshly announced during the show, Marvel's Midnight Suns looks a little different to the other Marvel games out there. It's a tactical RPG for starters, from the team behind XCOM. It also features a superhero lineup that's less conventional, including Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider.

Call of Duty: Vanguard

Gamescom played host to the first full gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Vanguard. This stars one of the main characters - Polina Petrova. Catch up with our Call of Duty: Vanguard round-up here.

Halo Infinite

We may have only got a cinematic trailer for Halo Infinite's free-to-play multiplayer mode, but at least we now know the date it will be released - 8 December 2021. Read more on Halo Infinitre here.

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Panasonic SC-GN01

File this under "crazier gadgets announced at Gamescom". The Panasonic SC-GN01 is a surround sound speaker you wear around your neck like a travel pillow. You can read more about it here.

DokeV

Developed by Pearl Abyss - the studio behind Black Desert - DokeV was one of the games that genuinely gave us a wow moment. It's an open world adventure inspired by Pokemon but with stunningly realistic locations.

Dying Light 2

Last but certainly not least, we got to see how much parkour is improved in the long-awaited sequel to Dying Light - one of our favourite zombie games by far. Find out more about Dying Light 2 here.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 4 August 2016.