After announcing it had a digitally-driven contingency plan for this very possibility, Gamescom 2020 has been officially cancelled.
Event organizers made the announcement through a post on Twitter, where it said the event originally scheduled for August would not be taking place in Cologne as was planned. However, as this has been a lingering possibility hovering over the event for several months now due to the coronavirus pandemic, planning for digital events in its place is well underway.
The full statement reads as follows:
“It’s official: unfortunately, gamescom will under no circumstances take place on site in Cologne this year. Just like many of you, we are disappointed because, as the gamescom team, we have been working on a wonderful gamescom 2020 for months, just like many exhibitors. However, it is also quite clear to us that, in the face of the corona pandemic, we must stand united. This means that we must all be considerate of each other and reduce the risk of infection.
We are, however, already working at full speed on a digital gamescom. It is, after all, the world’s biggest event for games, and that’s what it should be again this year. You can already look forward to how we will celebrate the best games and gamescom together with you and millions of gamers worldwide at the end of August, even if it will only be digital and not on location this time. Because one thing is certain: this year too, gamescom is and will remain “The Heart of Gaming”!
We will reveal more about this in the next few weeks. Until then, stay healthy and don’t forget to #StayHomePlayTogether!”
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As previously announced, Gamescom’s digital shows called Gamescom: Opening Night Live and Gamescom Now will now be where the bulk of announcements and presentations that would have taken place at Gamescom proper will be held. These will still be during the same timeframe as Gamescom, from August 25 to 29, with digital conferences also scheduled for August 22 to 24.
Like the statement says, Gamescom is the biggest industry event in the world, with 373,000 people in attendance last year. So this is probably a good call, especially with the timeline of the pandemic still so unclear. But it sure doesn’t feel great to know that events that are four months away are being cancelled. It feels like the goal post for when things can be normal again just keeps getting moved.
This is the latest example of how the industry at large is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, even beyond cancellation of large gatherings like E3 and GDC (although GDC seems to be a little more optimistic about August). Whether that be in work-from-home initiatives, indefinite delays in the case of games like The Last of Us: Part II and Iron Man VR, or entire branches of companies shutting down for the time being like Nintendo’s repair services.