CES 2021 will be an all-digital tech extravaganza, minus the Las Vegas glitz

(Image credit: Future)

Those hoping to get their new tech-fix in the Nevada desert next year, prepare for disappointment. CES 2021 is going to be a digital-only event, backtracking on previous in-person plans for the show.

The annual tech extravaganza, held among the lights and glitz of Las Vegas's conference centers and hotels, will instead be an "immersive experience" held online, CES showrunners the CTA announced on Twitter today:

"We'd hoped to hold an in-person event in Las Vegas, but given the current public health concern, it's just not possible to bring everyone safely together," said CTA president Gary Shapiro.

"Moving to an all-digital format for CES is simply the right thing to do. Our exhibitors, partners and thought-leaders will now have the time to plan, to think, to create compelling ways to engage digital audiences from around the world."

"CES has stood the test of time," continued Shapiro. "Like the tech sector itself, CES constantly innovates and evolves. For more than 50 years, CES has been the global stage for innovation and this is the next stage of our evolution."

Show closures

CES Asia has not been so lucky, however, with the current climate of uncertainty meaning that the show has been killed off for good. In a statement on the CES Asia website, an announcement reads

"In mid-March, we said would cancel CES Asia 2020 due to the pandemic. CTA has now decided to cancel CES Asia going forward. We have enjoyed annual growth and success since CES Asia was launched in 2015 in Shanghai. We evaluate our events in light of the changing needs of our industry and the priorities of our members and exhibitors.

"Given the pandemic, the economy, and our visible role as an American trade association, we have decided to focus on other CES related programs and serving the interests of our industry and how innovation can make all of us healthier, safer and better."

CES is just the latest in a string of shows affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 2020's MWC mobile-focussed show in Spain was cancelled, as was the gaming blowout of E3 2020. IFA 2020, Europe's answer to CES, is still going ahead, but it's expected to be on a much smaller scale than previous years, with the public no longer in attendance and only select media and trade partners being invited.

Still, Shapiro closed his video saying that his team "looks forward to seeing you in person in 2022," so for the time being at least, CES's future intentions for the western event remain in the physical realm. 

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Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.