Chalk another one on the board, team. Gamescom 2020 has been added to the illustrious list of events called off due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, nestled alongside the likes of E3 and GDC. But look on the bright side - while the Koelnmesse might be silent this August, Gamescom organisers this week announced plans to replace the on-site show with an entirely-online digital event.
To combat Covid-19, the German government has extended its ban on public gathering until August 31st (via German-language outlet Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger). That spells trouble for Cologne convention Gamescom which, unfortunately, was scheduled from August 25-29. Even without the ban, it may have been irresponsible to host a convention that last year saw over 370,000 people attend, considering a vaccine for the virus may be at least a year out.
While Gamescom organisers gestured at cancellation, today's statement sealed it. The show as-planned will no longer take place - replaced, instead, by an entirely-online "digital Gamescom".
— gamescom (@gamescom) April 16, 2020
As noted, we don't quite know what form this digital Gamescom will take. Fortunately, we've got examples to jump from. This year's EGX Rezzed (run by RPS' corporate overlords), for instance, went online after postponing its three-day London show 'til July - with the RPS crew pitching in for panels, indie streams and all their usual Rezzed nonsense via Rezzed Digital.
Will we miss not covering Gamescom from a crowded show floor? Probably? I don't know, I've actually never been. Last year's show gave us some absolute corkers on everything from Cyberpunk 2077 and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 to bizarre gems like The Eternal Cylinder.
Given CDPR intend to launch Cyberpunk as-planned in September, we'll likely get one last drop before release. It'd be neat to see a few more vampires ahead of Halloween. But hopefully, Gamescom's online replacement finds ways to platform the less headline-grabbing games you'd usually catch from the corner of a packed Koelnmesse hall.
Gamescom's showrunners hope to detail more on Gamescom's replacement in the coming weeks. As always, we'll keep you posted.