The organizers of Gamescom 2021 have announced that the show is now going to be an all-digital event when it goes ahead this coming August, rather than a hybrid of digital and in-person elements as previously announced.
The change was revealed in a press release from the German Games Industry Association and Koelnmesse, in which it's stated that Gamescom 2021 is going to be held “exclusively online and free of charge for all fans.”
NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER! 🚨 #gamescom2021 goes digital! Ready for an adventure? ➡️ gamescom epix will lead you on a special quest 🎉💯 Back again: gamescom: Opening Night Live with @geoffkeighley and our awesome shows. Statement: https://t.co/kV25mQWAJT pic.twitter.com/qBM5qiE8APMay 5, 2021
In March of this year, the organizers had announced the intention to make Gamescom 2021 a “hybrid” event, taking place both “on-site in Cologne and online around the world”. According to this new press release, the change of plans arose “after extensive discussions with partners and exhibitors” and it emerged that in the current climate “too many companies are unable to participate in physical events this year due to the still difficult development.”
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Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, said that even though the hybrid concept “was very well received by the partners, we had to recognize that Gamescom still comes too early for many companies in the industry due to the required planning reliability," adding, "That’s why we’re going for a purely digital Gamescom again this year and, with sufficient lead time, will be able to offer the gaming community an even stronger online event at the end of August 2021.”
The release confirms the plans for a Gamescom: Opening Night Live with Geoff Keighley on August 25, as well as something called gamescom epix, “which sends the community on a joint quest journey in social media even before Gamescom begins.”
After the opening night on August 25, Gamescom will run until August 27, "with some of the highlights and promotions also running over the weekend."
This won’t be the first time that Gamescom runs as an all-digital event—last year’s event also went down the same path and the organizers have said they “want to build directly on the success of last year’s online event.”
Gamescom 2021 also won’t be the only all-digital gaming event taking place this year. In June, E3 2021 will be going completely online for the first time, after sitting out 2020, and we’re expecting presentations and announcements from the likes of Xbox, Nintendo, Ubisoft and Square Enix at the show.
With Gamescom not taking place until August, there's still plenty that's not yet known about the show but the press release states that “Further information on the extensive online program, indie offering and Gamescom 2021 partners to follow in the coming weeks.”
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Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.