Gamescome 2021 is officially going online, canceling previously-announced plans to have a ‘hybrid’ show with in-person demo stations.
Summer is quickly approaching in the video game industry, bringing with it a wave of conventions, reveal events, and announcements. Like in 2020, everything has moved online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, though it’s growing increasingly possible for in-person events to start up again in certain places across the world. One key 2021 event has now confirmed that it’ll be online again, at least. Gamescom 2021 will not be the first convention to go live again.
Gamescom‘s plans were officially confirmed Wednesday on the event’s official Twitter account. An attached document states that Gamescom 2021 will be available exclusively online and free of charge. The English-language version of Gamescom 2021 is also confirmed to be produced by IGN, as well as a Gamescom: Awesome Indies broadcast. Geoff Keighley will also be returning to host Gamescom 2021’s Opening Night Live broadcast, kicking off the show on August 25 with the full event running August 26 and 27.
This year’s Gamescom is aiming to build off of the success of the all-digital Gamescom 2020. There will be some changes, however, at least from the point of view of the production’s scope. Gamescom 2021 will have an even larger focus on games, as well as more of a community atmosphere. Gamescom 2021 will strive to achieve that through working with additional partners, as well as expanding its social media presence.
The news that Gamescom 2021 will be fully online is somewhat of a surprise. That’s because Gamescom had previously announced that its 2021 event would have a “hybrid” convention structure. The show was planning to mix online broadcasts with a live event where visiting gamers could play certain games hands-on. Gamescom did explain why it’s going a different direction, however, saying that many of its partners were unable to dedicate themselves to a live, physical presence.
For some perspective on the situation, Gamescom is typically hosted in Germany. Germany currently has just 8.3% of its population currently vaccinated, though that should increase dramatically by August. Regardless, it’s all but certain that the pandemic will still be ongoing in August and crowded indoor events are a particularly dangerous situation. Even if Gamescom’s partners hadn’t refused, a live event would be a very risk-filled endeavor.
Gamescom joins a long list of 2021 events that will be online rather than in-person. June’s E3, which much like Gamescom is one of the world’s biggest gaming conventions, will also be going online this year. At this point, it’s unclear if the conventions will be returning to a live experience in 2022, either. Regardless, Gamescom 2021 will begin with Opening Night Live on August 25 and run through August 27.