Gamescom's organisers have announced the event intends on making a return to the real world this year. They're calling Gamescom 2021 a "hybrid", with plans for both digital and physical parts of the event - though the number of tickets available for the in-person side will be "significantly reduced" from previous years. It'll run from the 25th to the 29th of August online and at Cologne's Koelnmesse, with the Opening Night Live Show taking place on the evening of the 24th.
Gamescom is one of the biggest yearly consumer shows and E3-like announce-a-thons, and it tends to have a bit more of a PC presence than some of the others. A press release says the 2021 event will have "an entertainment area especially designed for a reduced amount of on-site visitors", including space for cosplay and esports competitions.
They mention their safety plans for physical event given the ongoing pandemic, which include a digital queue-management system, as well as whole lot of exhibitor guidelines and social distancing rules.
Despite that, it all seems a little optimistic to me. While I'd love to go to Gamescom (I've still never been), I'm still not convinced I'd be totally comfortable at an event with loads of other people this August - even if it is reduced capacity.
"Should pandemic-related developments make it impossible to stage an on-site event, Gamescom will be held as a purely digital format again," they add.
They plan on further developing the online portion of the show anyway, to make it a "central meeting point on the web for gaming fans all over the globe", which is a nice sentiment. The digital stuff last year was super neat (like the free browser MMO that let you wander around the indie booth), so hopefully there's more of that to look forward to.
Headline photo credits: Koelnmesse / Gamescom / Koelnmesse Allgemein.