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Lol, Gamescom Still Thinks It’s Holding A Physical Event In August

Well, things are getting better out there now that vaccines are starting to roll out around the world, but most countries still have restrictions on public gatherings (and if not the countries themselves, then individual states/cities still do).

Germany too has strict rules on how many people can gather indoors that make something as big as Gamescom–the world’s largest gaming event by attendance–completely impossible. The country is on a lockdown until the end of the month, with individual states going into a reduced lockdown state depending on their coronavirus caseloads.

Gamescom organizers believe that the vaccine rollout will allow them to enter into a hybrid event in August that will allow for some physical presence, although the majority of attendees will almost certainly be virtual.

Gamescom 2021 will run from Wednesday, August 25 to Sunday, August 28, with the developer-focused Devcom to take place on the Monday/Tuesday prior. Strict measures will be in place to ensure public safety, such as attendance limits in Koelnmesse Halls 5 through 10 as well as a digital ticket system that will require attendees book specific time slots for game demos.

As for the digital parts of the event, Gamescom will have two apps with either a business or consumer focus. Gamescom Biz will be the B2B platform and provide attendees with access to talks, meetings, roundtable discussions, and business networking in a virtual cafe. Gamescom Now will be for the consumer side and focus more on game announcements.

Both will have a virtual show floor where Gamescom’s largest presentations will air. Geoff Keighley will kick off the digital Gamescom event with an Opening Night Live presentation on Tuesday, August 24.

“Without doubt, the preparations for all people involved will be much more demanding than usual in the light of this special situation,” said Felix Falk, Managing Director, managing director of the Association of the German Games Industry and co-organizer of Gamescom. “But the enthusiasm of the gaming community definitely makes these efforts worthwhile!”

Falk admitted in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz that he expects attendance to be “strongly reduced” from Gamescom’s historic highs of around 350,000, and that those that do show up will be mostly “superfans.”

Meanwhile, E3 is still canceled in its physical form as most publishers swap to their own digital-only events.

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