The week of the sausage is upon us once again, and before too long there'll be far too many people descending upon Cologne's Gamescom, walking the cavernous halls of the Koelnmesse, and getting an early taste of all that's going to be great about gaming in the months ahead. There'll be plenty of questions asked and answered throughout the week as well.

For a start, how will Microsoft take advantage of Sony largely skipping this year's show? What's Blizzard planning for its next World of Warcraft expansion, and what else will the publisher announce during its media briefing? Is that pungent smell in the air the fried onions being served over hotdogs at the canteen, or is it the armpit of the enthusiastic man in the sweat-stained Allods Online T-shirt you're pressed up against in the annual scrum?

To help you navigate the show for yourselves, we've put together a guide to all of the major conference times, wherever you happen to be in the world. We'll be streaming all of the available conferences throughout the show, and also providing live reaction and chit-chat alongside each one. We'll pop links to those streams into this article a few hours before each one is scheduled to begin.

For now, we've included links to all of the most interesting background reading that will help get you up to speed before each conference starts. Once each presentation has concluded, we'll strip out those links and replace them with our coverage of the biggest announcements, so you can catch up on all of the most important news from one place.

Microsoft's Gamescom 2015 stream and announcements

Tuesday 4th August

  • BST: 3pm
  • CEST: 4pm
  • PT: 7am
  • ET: 10am

Watch Microsoft's Gamescom 2015 stream live now

With E3 being a week later this year, and Gamescom a week earlier, Sony's decided to skip its annual European press conference at Gamescom in favour of Paris Games Week. It's going to be fascinating to see how Microsoft seizes the spotlight as a result.

There's an understandable emphasis on European studios for the publisher's big show, with concrete details expected on Remedy's Quantum Break, as well as a strong likelihood of a proper look at Crackdown. From further afield comes Platinum Games' Xbox One exclusive Scalebound, which will be seen in action for the first time.

That's a serious slate that Sony should be envious of, but will Microsoft serve up any surprises alongside the games we're already expecting? And what about third-parties - will Mafia 3 or Homefront: The Revolution make an appearance?

Microsoft's biggest Gamescom 2015 announcements:

EA's Gamescom 2015 conference stream and announcements

Wednesday 5th August

  • BST: 9am
  • CEST: 10am
  • PT: 1am
  • ET: 4am

Watch EA's Gamescom 2015 stream live now

EA's Gamescom press conference is a dry formality, but it's at least enlivened - for those lucky enough to be in the audience - by Peter Moore's warm-up routine. He truly is the thinking man's Bobby Chariot.

But how are the games doing? On this front, EA might be onto a winner. Star Wars Battlefront will hopefully be stomping back into the limelight, while Mirror's Edge: Catalyst should balance the all-out warfare rather nicely with open-world parkour tailor-made for the era of Edward Snowden. Elsewhere, Garden Warfare 2 will presumably receive the same bewilderingly extensive stage time it always does, and FIFA 16 will be looking less out of place in Europe than it always does in Los Angeles. Hopefully Pele will be air-dropped in with a bunch of new anecdotes, too. Who else has patted his hair?

On the more speculative side of things, it would be wonderful to find out exactly what Criterion's been working on - and how much progress has been made on the exciting open-world mixed vehicle prototype it showed off at E3 2014. Stick a release date on that, and we'll even forgive EA for Rory McIlroy's latest.

Microsoft's biggest Gamescom 2015 announcements:

Call of Duty's Gamescom 2015 conference stream

Wednesday 5th August

  • BST: 6pm
  • CEST: 7pm
  • PT: 10am
  • ET: 1pm

Call of Duty has its very own conference event all to itself this year. We know that the multiplayer beta is coming to PlayStation 4 owners later this month, with other platforms to follow at the end of the month, but what other news does Activision have up its sleeves? With most expected game modes having been announced and detailed already, it's something of a mystery.

Recommended background reading

Blizzard's Gamescom 2015 conference stream and announcements

Wednesday 5th August

Media briefing

  • BST: 11am
  • CEST: 12pm
  • PT: 3am
  • ET: 6am

Thursday 6th August

World of Warcraft expansion reveal

  • BST: 5pm
  • CEST: 6pm
  • PT: 9am
  • ET: 12pm

Watch Blizzard's World of Warcraft expansion reveal

Blizzard actually has two events taking place at Gamescom this year. First, there'll be a press briefing on Wednesday morning at 11am, where you can expect to hear a little more about all of the company's known quantities: Legacy of the Void for StarCraft 2, the recently-revealed Grand Tournament expansion for lovely old Hearthstone, and perhaps even a new Hero or two for Heroes of the Storm. We might even get a beta date for the studio's next game Overwatch. There won't be a stream for this event unfortunately, but we'll be discussing all of the breaking news in our live text coverage.

Things get really interesting on Thursday evening, however, when the publisher will lift the lid on the sixth expansion for World of Warcraft. It's not even been a year since the previous expansion was released, which leaves us speculating that the development team has either achieved their dream of a faster development cycle for the game, or BlizzCon (the traditional home of the WOW expansion reveal) is being cleared for something else - maybe Diablo, maybe some as-yet-unannounced aspect of Overwatch. This second event will be streamed, and we'll be running commentary on all of the expansion announcements as they happen as well.

Blizzard's biggest Gamescom 2015 announcements:

Recommended background reading

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