Gamescom goes all-digital for 2021 show

Gamescom goes all-digital for 2021 show

Cologne trade fair Gamescom has ditched its plans for a mixed physical-digital event for 2021.

In a release, organisers – venue Koelnmesse and German trade association GAME – said that the show would be taking place entirely online. This digital offering will be free-of-charge, with hopes to build on 2020's Gamescom Digital, which brought in more than 100 million viewers.

Initially, the intention was to have a hybrid physical and digital show for this year.

“Together with GAME, we have put all our energy into making Gamescom 2021 in a hybrid format possible for fans and industry alike," Koelnmesse COO Oliver Frese said.

"However, 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. One thing is absolutely clear: All those involved now need planning reliability. 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.”

GAME MD Felix Falk added: “We, as the game industry, also want to use Gamescom to show that innovations and bold developments are the best way to deal with such crises. With this in mind, the Gamescom team has been hard at work for months on Gamescom 2021, especially on the digital elements. Next year will be the first time that we will be able to implement many of the new concepts for the hybrid format of Gamescom

"For digital Gamescom 2021, our focus is to provide even more games and reach as well as a heightened community atmosphere. We are therefore introducing a completely new concept called Gamescom Epix, which sends the community on a joint quest journey in social media even before Gamescom begins. What we want to do with this is transfer even more of the unique Gamescom atmosphere to the digital world. Together with our numerous partners, we want to make Gamescom the world’s biggest gaming event again in 2021.”

Gamescom went all-digital in 2020 after Germany placed a ban on physical events due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.