Gamescom, like E3 and GDC before it, isn’t banking on holding an event this year due to concerns surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But while E3 is completely cancelled and GDC is technically only postponed at the moment, Gamescom is going to be holding a digital event should the call be made to pull the plug on the convention.
In a statement on the convention’s website, the event organizers say this is being done as a precautionary measure, because frankly, no one seems to know exactly when things will be back to normal at this point. The plan is for these digital events, including expanding its existing streams like Gamescom: Opening Night Live and Gamescom Now, to take place on August 25 to 29, when the convention was originally scheduled. Digital conferences will also still take place from August 22 and 24.
While these plans are in motion, there is still some chance Gamescom can have some sort of physical presence, but the plan is to assess that mid-May, based on the status of the coronavirus pandemic at that time. If there is no convention, refunds will be issued to everyone who bought tickets, as well as to exhibitors.
“Millions of fans worldwide are excited about gamescom 2020,” says managing director of game, Felix Falk in a statement. “That is why we are determined to celebrate the latest news, announcements and world premieres together with the community again this year at the end of August. In view of the corona crisis, we are now expanding all digital formats at full speed so that gamescom 2020 can at least take place digitally in any case. We already reach millions of gamescom fans worldwide with the global show gamescom: Opening Night Live and the gamescom now portal. Further expansion of our digital strategy is the way to go right now.”
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Despite the lingering possibility of a physical event still taking place, it’s worth considering that Gamescom is, when measured by people in attendance, the biggest game convention in the world, with over 373,000 people gathered in Cologne last year. Even if the coronavirus pandemic is relatively under control just under five months from now, that’s still a lot of people to have in one place so soon after, so we’ll see what decision the higher ups ultimately make.
While industry events have taken some major hits this year, the coronavirus pandemic has had ramifications for video games outside of large gatherings of people in just a short time. Some games have been delayed while studios scramble to keep their employees safe through work from home initiatives, GameStop stores have all been closed off to the public, and Sony’s even making download speeds worse on PlayStation Network to account for the uptick in home internet usage.
It’s a scary time for everybody, but if you need some games that can help you pass the time, check out some of our recommendations.