Gamescom 2020 officially canceled, to be replaced by a digital-only event

(Image credit: Flickr)

Gamescom 2020 won't be happening, at least not in its traditional form. The German government has announced that the ban on large gatherings has been extended until at least the end of August, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In response to the mandate, the Gamescom team has put out an official statement saying that it will "under no circumstances" move forward with the physical show but says that it's planning a replacement digital event.

According to German newspaper, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, mass gathering events are prohibited until August 31, with the German government specifying that these measures are to contain Covid-19 and to "ensure urgent clarity for organizers".

This year's Gamescom is due to take place between August 25 and August 29 in Cologne, Germany; and those dates are likely to remain the same once the team firms up its digital event plans. 

Why did this happen?

(Image credit: Kojima Productions)

It looked likely that Gamescom 2020 would be affected by Covid-19. After all, E3 2020 has already been cancelled and Microsoft is transitioning to "digital experiences" in the run-up to the Xbox Series X launch.

Which brings us on to the biggest draw of Gamescom: Geoff Keighley's Opening Night Live show. Introduced at Gamescom 2019, Opening Night Live acted as a mini E3, showcasing upcoming games and premiering new contenders. Last year's Opening Night Live boasted plenty of announcements and even gave us the best look at Death Stranding before its release.

In a relative silver lining to an otherwise gloomy situation, Keighley has announced that Opening Night will be digitally broadcast too, meaning we're still likely to see some announcements from major publishers this year.

TechRadar has contacted organizers Verband der deutschen Games-Branche for comment.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.