COLOGNE, Germany – The Gamescom Awards are the most coveted prizes in the European games industry and an accolade for outstanding software and hardware. Last week, more than 275,000 visitors to Cologne experienced the spectacular innovations presented at Gamescom 2012. Among them were the 20 international jurors and experts from the world’s leading games media who made up the jury for the Gamescom awards 2012. It was this jury that picked out the winners of the awards for this year’s best games and hardware from more than 100 entries.


Having grown up with a fantastic generation of PlayStation's Japanese RPGs, it's sometimes hard to relate to some of this generation's biggest releases -- where are the tropes and colorful sprites we're used to, left over from an age long past?


The 2012 Game Developers Conference Europe (GDC Europe) concluded on Wednesday, August 15 with a successful showing and a final attendee count of more than 2100 game professionals.  Professionals from all areas of the game industry gathered throughout the three day conference to learn and network. The keynote roster included industry leaders from Ubisoft Montreal’s Creative Director Alex Hutchinson, to CEO of Victor Kislyi, to Epic Games senior engine programmer Niklas Smedberg. 


GRAPEVINE, Texas – Ever wonder how those used games at GameStop ended up on store shelves? Well, the process they go through is a lot more than simply checking the disc. All used games, consoles, and electronic devices in the US go to a huge factory in Grapevine, Texas where they’re inspected, refurbished, categorized and then shipped back out to stores around the country. Check out the process in the exclusive video below.


GRAPEVINE -- The largest video games retailer in the world, GameStop, has seen its sales of used games and hardware increase in recent years. The pre-owned market accounts for a considerable portion of the company’s business. As a result, the company invested $7 million in a refurbishment center down the street from its U.S. headquarters in Grapevine, Texas. Bruce Kulp, svp of supply chain and refurbishment, offers an exclusive look inside the factory in the video below.


While E3 is over and Gamescom is right around the corner, retailer GameStop is offering its PowerUp Rewards members a chance to experience a mini-E3 just like store managers. Every year, the game industry brings in celebrities and game developers to showcase the biggest titles for Christmas and beyond to GameStop managers. This year, the managers will get their own show in San Antonio, Texas, but then approximately 5,000 gamers will get the next day to see everything up-close and experience hands-on with the biggest titles of this year. Nintendo Wii U will have a large presence at this EXPO 2012.


Activision watched as Skylanders catapulted to the top of the video game and toy charts for 2011. The game publisher will showcase Skylanders Giants at San Diego Comic-Con 2012. The new game builds upon the breakthrough fundamentals of the Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure—merging the physical and virtual realms with an innovative line of cross-platform toys with “brains,” which players everywhere can magically bring to life in the world of Skylands.  Using the mystical Portal of Power, players once again lead a team of heroic Skylanders in a new adventure to save their world. Developer Toys for Bob talks about the new game for Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC and mobile devices in this exclusive video interview below.


With E3 2012 now a recent memory, there's a reason video games are receiving more media coverage these days -- even outside of the big trade show. A majority (54%) of Americans play video games each week, up from 50% last year, according to new research from the Magid Media Futures 2012 study. Nearly six out of 10 (58%) men, aged 8-64, play weekly, up from 53% last year. Among women, weekly gamers rose to 51% from 48% last year.


The idea behind E3 was to showcase the latest and brightest games of 2012, but there are always a few games that disappoint us. Some games on our list made serious changes to their formula, and not for the better. Other games took center stage at E3 when they shouldn’t have. There were many games at E3, but here is our top five list of disappointments.


Earlier this month, we reported on the story that 2K Sports was looking to launch its latest basketball sim, NBA 2K13, sometime in early October, and would have the game ready to hit the floor of E3 next week.  Today, 2K Sports confirmed the story, stating that its championship series would indeed be heading back to stores to once again dominate the paint.


After a fiscal report that questioned the future of the Major League Baseball 2K franchise, we were wondering if 2K Sports had gotten a little soft, concerned about how they could compete with their main rival, EA Sports.  Well, we got our answer today with a nice tomahawk jam to the face, in the form of an announcement for NBA 2K13.


When it comes to the global sport, soccer still reigns supreme. EA has sold over 100 million copies of its FIFA games over the years. With E3 around the corner, Electronic Arts unveiled five new innovations that will bring big changes to EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer 13, along with the largest and deepest feature set in the history of the franchise.


Well, it seems 2K Sports is very pro-active to what NBA 2K12 gamers want and they wanted a better Jeremy Lin to create Linsanity magic in their NBA 2K12 games with their virtual Lins.  Just two days after 2K Sports upgraded Lin to 69 from 56 in the NBA 2K12 "Living Rosters" update, they upgraded him again to 75 today in another update, which is closer to where Lin should probably be even after he cools down from his Linsane pace, which he inevitably will.


Penny Arcade continues to expand. With PAX East coming up in April in Boston and PAX Prime set for later this year in Seattle, the comics are now helping educate consumers about game ratings. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has unveiled a new PSA campaign featuring artwork designed by the creators of the hugely popular video game webcomic Penny Arcade. The three-part national print and online campaign features caricatures based upon real parents and gamers, each of whom conveys a unique perspective about the ESRB ratings and tools like rating summaries and the ESRB mobile app. These ads will start appearing this spring in parent-focused and game enthusiast media outlets nationwide and can be viewed here.