Gamescom 2020 might be a digital-only after Germany moves to ban all major events

The event, which say 400,000 visitors last year, might be truly digital.


The future of Gamescom 2020, one of Europe’s biggest video game trade shows, is in doubt as the German government is due to announce that it will be banning all major events in the country through Aug. 31. Gamescom 2020 had been scheduled to run from Aug. 25 to 29, so it is just inside the line of events that will be affected.

Germany, much like the rest of the world, has enacted a number of restrictions in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and it looks like the German government will be announcing further restrictions later today. The move is already touted to have been approved by the government, with a public announcement of the new plans coming this afternoon.

It is hardly surprising that this move is being made by authorities. Even after countries are able to lift lockdowns, there will still be a high degree of care required by people to not contract and pass on the coronavirus, and large-scale events like Gamescom, which had nearly 400,000 visitors last year, will be prime sites for people to infect others.

The good news is that organizer Koelnmesse already has an established digital presence for the event, with the opening night stream from last year’s Gamescom amassing half a million viewers, so a digital-only event could be entirely possible.

When the original lockdown and event restrictions were announced in March, Oliver Frese, Koelnmesse’s managing director, was positive that they could pull it off as a digital-only event. “Gamescom and Koelnmesse already rank among the digital pioneers in the international trade fair landscape,” he said. “We therefore also see the current corona crisis as a chance to implement digital event formats even more. Gamescom 2020 offers the perfect platform for this.”

Depending on travel restrictions, many companies may still have a limited presence and may need to do their own digital presentations, but there may still be a way for the event to go ahead, even if the government does restrict large events until the end of August.