The world continues to be rocked by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing mitigation efforts. The next gaming event to fall victim could be gamescom 2020, set to be held in Cologne, Germany from August 25-29. The German government is announcing today a prohibition on large gatherings through the end of August in an effort to maintain social distancing and continue to flatten the curve of infection. The most recent reports from gamescom organizers said they were still planning on holding the 2020 event, but Germany’s new restrictions could make it impossible, at least physically.
Last year, more than 370,000 people gathered for the event. Gamescom is one of the biggest gaming events in the world, eclipsing the likes of other events many times over. In comparison, US events like E3 and PAX only see an average of about 60,000 attendees. Gamescom organizers have yet to comment on the new development, but the previous report indicated they were actively monitoring the situation and prepared to hold a digital event in its place if a physical gathering became untenable. Whether the organizers will choose to briefly delay the event, cancel altogether, or simply push forward with a digital production is currently unknown.
August may still be four months out, but Germany’s guidelines may set the stage and start calling into question other events scheduled for later this summer. GDC, for example, postponed its March event and recently opened registration for “GDC Summer” to be held in August, which at this point may still be too early. Even if large gatherings aren’t outright banned by then, there’s a good chance many won’t want or be able to travel for it, which could render the summer show a failure to launch. On the other side of the coin, Microsoft expressed its intentions to hold digital-only events for the remainder of the year and into 2021, especially notable in a year it is trying to launch a next-gen console.
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