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Europe's biggest games conference, Gamescom, will officially kick off on August 21. Held in Cologne, Germany, the show will see the biggest names in the industry coming together to flaunt their wares, including Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and developers including Bethesda, Ubisoft, Activision and more. 

Gamescom tends to play second fiddle to E3, the mega gaming event that takes place each June in LA. It's at E3 that companies tend to first announce exciting new titles, but at Gamescom we hope to dig a little deeper into those games and have more opportunities to actually play them. 

Here's what you need to know about Gamescom 2018, and what gaming titles we're most excited to check out. Check back, as we'll be updating this article with more information as it arrives. 

Shara Tibken/CNET

Where and when is Gamescom 2018?

The show takes place August 21-25 in Cologne, Germany. It's a pretty city, famous for a delightful beer called Kolsch that's served in small glasses. As a result, I tend to order them two at a time. 

While the opening day is set aside for trade and press (it gives us journalists more space to roam the halls), public tickets are available for the remaining days. If you're interested in attending, day tickets cost 15.50 euros in advance or 18.50 euros on the day. 

Gamescom 2018 press conferences? 

Actual press conferences are a little thin on the ground this year, as most companies made their big announcements back at E3. Still, there are some notable times to be aware of.

Nvidia GeForce Gaming Celebration 

Monday 20 August at 5:30 p.m. CET (5:30 p.m. UK time, 12:30 p.m. ET, 9:30 a.m. PT)

"The event will be loaded with new, exclusive, hands-on demos of the hottest upcoming games, stage presentations from the world's biggest games developers, and some spectacular surprises!" says the official invite from Nvidia. The "spectacular surprises" may well relate to the rumoured upcoming GTX1180 graphics card.

Microsoft online launch

Tuesday 21 August at 4:30 p.m. CET (4:30 p.m. UK time, 11:30 a.m. ET, 8:30 a.m. PT)

Rather than host a physical conference at Gamescom, Microsoft is instead streaming an announcement in the form of a special episode of "Inside Xbox" on Xbox.com, Mixer, Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Microsoft hasn't said exactly what it's going to be showing off, but don't cross your fingers for a new Xbox. 

Bethesda, EA, Sony and Ubisoft have all so far confirmed that there will be no official press conference at Gamescom this year. 




Leaks and predictions?

The big prediction so far is Nvidia's GTX 1180 graphics card, which, based on the numbers, will sit right at the top of its lineup and therefore promise a big boost in gaming performance to anyone with enough cash to shove one -- or more -- of them inside a PC case. 

While we don't know for sure when it'll show its face, we can expect a host of related developers talking about how their new and upcoming titles will look even better on this new hardware, making Nvidia one of the bigger companies to keep an eye on this year.

We're not expecting any other big surprises at the show this year, but instead we're hoping to dig a little deeper into some of the titles we saw at E3. 

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