Gamescom 2020 is one of the many video game conventions that has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of a trade show, this year’s Gamescom will be held over the internet. The all-digital event is now set for Aug. 27-30 and will open with Geoff Keighley’s usual Opening Night Live presentation, where new games and footage will be revealed. This year’s stream will be part of Summer Game Feast, the series of industry broadcasts that Keighley will be hosting through August.
The annual convention was originally scheduled to be held in Cologne, Germany from Aug. 22 to 29. The decision to alter the dates and move to digital was made by Gamescom organizers Koelnmesse and the German Games Industry Association (aka Game) as a result of Germany’s ban on “major events” through the end of August.
“Even though not all details are known at present, the nationwide ban on major events until the end of August will also affect the planning for #gamescom2020,” the Gamescom organizers wrote on Twitter. “Furthermore: Gamescom 2020 will definitely take place digitally! We will provide further information shortly.”
Game managing director Felix Falk said in an earlier statement after the ban was first announced that the organization was “determined to celebrate the latest news, announcements and world premieres together with the community again this year at the end of August. In view of the corona crisis, we are now expanding all digital formats at full speed so that gamescom 2020 can at least take place digitally in any case.”
Game has also vowed to send refunds to ticket holders and exhibitors.
Gamescom 2020 is just one in a long list of gaming trade shows and conventions to either be delayed, canceled, or transformed into a digital event due to the coronavirus emergency that’s sent most of the world into a “shelter in place” lockdown. E3 2020 was canceled earlier this year and plans to hold a digital version of the trade show have been scrapped. GDC 2020 was moved to an all-digital event in August. Bethesda’s annual id-centric event QuakeCon has also been canceled, as has CCP’s EVE Fanfest, which was to be held in Iceland.
In the absence of major trade shows like E3, IGN and Geoff Keighley’s The Game Festival have stepped up to take its place. The outlet’s Summer of Gaming live streams will cover game reveals, trailers, and gameplay footage from a line-up of AAA publishers and smaller outfits, while The Game Festival will curate a series of PC demos to be hosted on Steam on top of the Summer Game Fest live streams.
At the time of writing, more than 328 million people have died of the virus around the world, with over 5 million confirmed cases, according to Google. The U.S. has had more than 1.5 million confirmed cases, with almost 95,000 deaths.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about Gamescom 2020.