- The organizers of gamescom 2021 have decided that the August event will be held entirely online;
- The decision was made after consultation with partners and exhibitors, for whom the coronavirus became a big obstacle in game development and participation in such events;
- gamescom 2021 will kick off on August 25 with Opening Night Live, hosted by Geoff Keighley;
- Streams of the event will be free.
Despite previous announcements, this year's gamescom will be held entirely online. This decision was made by the organizers of the event after consultations with partners and exhibitors. The reason for this is quite obvious - the coronavirus pandemic, which not only prevents the organization of such events on a mass scale, but also hampers the development process, which means that publishers must plan their releases more carefully than before. The only good thing is that, just like last year, the streams from the event will be available for free to all interested Internet users.
This is not the only change, however - the gaming part of the fair will start a day later than planned - on August 25 instead of August 24 - and will last for 3 days. According to previous information, it will be opened by Gamescom Opening Night Live, which will again be hosted by a well-known journalist Geoff Keighley. The two days before the opening ceremony will be devoted to the so-called devcom, a series of business events during which, for example, indie developers will be able to tempt publishers with their upcoming projects. The full schedule of the August event is available below.
Even before the fair the gamescom epix campaign is to begin on social media. Its aim will be to create the right atmosphere for the digital event, as well as to attract a larger audience. The fair, in turn, will certainly bring a lot of fresh information about already announced games, but also news about completely new productions. There will also be a show of smaller titles - gamescom Awesome Indies - once again prepared by IGN. The website will also be responsible for creating a studio for the fair.
The organizers - the Koelnmesse exhibition center and the German Game Industry Association - wanted this year's fair to use the hybrid model, so that the audience could see a part of the "real" event in addition to numerous presentations. However, it was expected that due to the epidemiological situation these plans would have to be changed, and this is exactly the scenario that came into effect. Oliver Frese, COO of the Cologne exhibition center, was unhappy with the situation:
"(...) we have put all our energy into making gamescom 2021 in a hybrid format possible for fans and industry alike. 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. (...) 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."
Geoff Keighley, meanwhile, seems excited to host another opening ceremony. The journalist admitted that the event held in Cologne is of interest to more developers this year than last year:
“Gaming fans worldwide can already look forward to this year's gamescom: Opening Night Live. After last year's great success, the interest of developers is huge to be able to present their world premieres in the ONL this year and thus become an important part of gamescom 2021.”
The interest of developers should come as no surprise - streams from gamescom 2020 have been viewed over 100 million times, gathering over 50 million unique users from 180 countries in front of their screens.