Alongside some week-long programming from event organisers themselves - including a headline stream hosted by Geoff Keighley of The Game Awards fame, and an indie-focused showcase - you can expect a dedicated show from Xbox and another Future Games Show later in the week.
Though busier than last year's show, it's still more subdued than the gamescom we've come to know over the years - but at least, like E3, 2021's conferences are condensed into a single week than a seemingly never-ending list of streams over the summer. Phew!
On this page:
- Gamescom 2021 conference schedule at a glance
- Destiny 2 Showcase - Tuesday, August 24
- Xbox gamescom 2021 - Tuesday, August 24
- gamescom 2021 opening night live - Wednesday, August 25
- gamescom Awesome Indies showcase - Thursday, August 26
- Future Games Show - Thursday, August 26
- What about gamescom 2021 plans from other publishers?
If you've followed our gamescom guides from previous years, as well as date and time details, we provide some background reading so you know what to expect ahead of time - but as always, there's bound to be a few surprise announcements along the way.
Gamescom 2021 conference schedule at a glance
If you're looking to tune into the biggest events of the show, then make sure you're free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, where all of the major streams will be taking place. Though gamescom will offer some additional programming throughout the week, there's no specifics on those at the time of writing.
Here's when every gamescom 2021 conference is scheduled to go live at a glance:
|Gamescom 2021 schedule||Conference Date (UK)||UK time (BST)||EU time (CEST)||East Coast US time (EDT)||West Coast US time (PDT)|
|Destiny 2 Showcase||Tuesday, August 24||17:00||18:00||12:00||09:00|
|Xbox gamescom 2021 stream||Tuesday, August 24||18:00||19:00||13:00||10:00|
|gamescom opening night live||Wednesday, August 25||18:30||19:30||13:30||10:30|
|gamescom Awesome Indies showcase||Thursday, August 26||19:30||20:30||14:30||11:30|
|Future Games Show||Thursday, August 26||21:00||22:00||16:00||13:00|
One-by-one, here's the major streams to catch during gamescom week:
Destiny 2 Showcase times - Tuesday, August 24
- UK: 5pm (BST)
- Europe: 6pm (CEST)
- East Coast US: 12pm (EDT)
- West Coast US: 9am (PDT)
Unofficially kicking off a week of gamescom streams is a showcase from Bungie on what's next for Destiny 2.
The headline is a reveal of the next expansion, The Witch Queen, which was pushed from Destiny's usual end-of-year slot to an early 2022 release instead.
We should hear how Bungie will be keeping us busy until then - including the reveal and immediate release of new season Season of the Lost, which will almost certainly cue up the events of The Witch Queen. We may also hear about a solid release date for Destiny 2 crossplay - one of the most anticipated quality of life features players have been waiting for.
Finally, know there is a pre-show starting one hour earlier - details on what's in there have yet to be confirmed, but know the main reveals will kick off at the above times.
Xbox gamescom 2021 stream times - Tuesday, August 24
- UK: 6pm (BST)
- Europe: 7pm (CEST)
- East Coast US: 1pm (EDT)
- West Coast US: 10am (PDT)
Hosted by Parris Lilly and Kate Yeager, Xbox will be hosting a dedicated gamescom event with "in-depth updates" from Xbox Game Studios titles which have been already announced. We imagine Forza Horizon 5 is a cert, while we have our fingers crossed for a Halo: Infinite release date. We also know we'll receive some Xbox Game Pass updates for the year ahead.
In short, don't expect the same 'game-changing' show that we had at E3 - but more details on games we already know are coming from first-party studios.
As well as this, Bethesda Germany is also streaming over on Twitch from Thursday, August 26th. Don't expect any new reveals here - but hopefully there's some new footage of unreleased games to keep us busy until the weekend. And if it's just someone playing the recent Quake remaster each day, we'd probably be okay with that too.
gamescom 2021 opening night live times - Wednesday, August 25
- UK: 6:30pm (BST)
- Europe: 7:30pm (CEST)
- East Coast US: 1:30pm (EDT)
- West Coast US: 10:30am (PDT)
The headliner for this year's virtual gamescom will feature over 30 games in a two hour show "filled with news, first looks, gameplay, and much more", according to host Geoff Keighley.
Confirmed for the show includes a new character in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania (we've had Sonic and Tails, Jet Set Radio and Yakuza cameos so far), news on Genshin Impact and King of Fighters XV, "raw, real next-gen gameplay" of Call of Duty: Vanguard, new footage of Lego Star Wars: Skywalker Saga and dotemu's new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beat-em-up, a first look at Massive Monsters' Devolver game and a possible Saint's Row reveal.
There's also pre-show 30 minutes beforehand with "eight additional world premieres". We have factored that into the above times, allowing you to maximise your world premiere quota - otherwise, you can tune into the main show on the hour at 7pm BST / 8pm CEST / 2pm EDT / 11am PDT.
gamescom Awesome Indies showcase times - Thursday, August 26
- UK: 7:30pm (BST)
- Europe: 8:30pm (CEST)
- East Coast US: 2:30pm (EDT)
- West Coast US: 11:30am (PDT)
This showcase, created in collaboration with IGN, is hosted not from the spawning Koelnmesse convention halls over in Cologne, but from Venice Beach in Los Angeles. What this means is we're getting a "beach day full of exclusive trailers, fun and games, and the unique scene only Venice Beach locals can provide". Sands good to us.
To give you an idea of what to expect, last year saw the first full reveal of Wonder Boy game Asha in Monster World. Otherwise, here's an official round-up of what went down during last year's show:
Future Games Show times - Thursday, August 26
- UK: 9pm (BST)
- Europe: 10pm (CEST)
- East Coast US: 4pm (EDT)
- West Coast US: 1pm (PDT)
Hosted by Uncharted voice actors Nolan North and Emily Rose, the Future Games Show returns for another gamescom with an evening of "gameplay clips, developer walkthroughs, and world premieres".
More than 40 games and "some special guests" have also been teased. To give you an idea of what we could expect, Future's E3 event featured looks at Jurassic World Evolution 2, Dying Light 2 Stay Human and OlliOlli World. Elsewhere, there will be another virtual show floor you can explore, where demos from the showcase will be playable on Steam.
What about gamescom 2021 plans from other publishers?
For a fourth year running, don't expect a dedicated showcase from PlayStation, a publisher once a big proponent of gamescom in previous console generations. As with last year, it's possible it will instead be involved in the opening night keynote instead - but don't hold your breath.
As for Nintendo, while it has started to do more around gamescom in the years leading up to the pandemic, it appears to be doing its own programming this time of year instead - with both 2020 and 2021 hosting Indie World streams in the fortnight up to gamescom.
As for third parties, Konami has said it will be prepping announcements for eFootball - the new free-to-play version of PES - as well as Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel.
Finally, Dying Light 2 Stay Human's ongoing web series will be featured in gamescom's programming on Thursday, August 26th at 7pm BST, 8pm CEST, 2pm EDT or 11am PDT - delving specifically into parkour and combat.