Initially, gamescom 2021 in Cologne was planned as a hybrid event, but now it is to become a purely digital trade show again. The background to this is the continuing tense situation due to the Corona pandemic.
Goodbye hybrid event
As in the previous year, gamescom will now also take place in the fall of 2021 as a purely digital trade fair. Actually, under the appropriate security and safety measures this year, a so-called hybrid event was planned, in which at least selected exhibitors and visitors were to participate in the fair on site. Due to the current development, the game association and Koelnmesse have now decided, after intensive discussions with the exhibitors and also partners, to organize the fair again as an online event. Due to the current situation, many companies can also not participate in a physical event at all, hence the decision against a hybrid event.
The decision against a hybrid event already at this point in time has already been made mainly to give the partners and exhibitors planning security. This means that gamescom 2021 will now be completely digital and also free of charge for all fans of the trade fair. Last year, the digital gamescom was already a success. There were more than 100 million video views, over 50 million participants from 180 countries and 370 partners from 44 different countries. To ensure that this year’s gamescom is just as successful, the digital offering is now to be further expanded.
Koelnmesse CEO Oliver Frese says of the canceled hybrid event, “Together with the game association, we have given everything to make a hybrid gamescom 2021 possible for the fans and the industry. But even though the hybrid concept was very well received by the partners, we had to recognize that gamescom is still too early for many companies in the industry due to the planning security required. One thing is crystal clear: all participants need planning security now. That’s why this year we are once again focusing on a purely digital gamescom and, with sufficient lead time, will be able to offer the gaming community an even stronger online event at the end of August 2021. We have shown that we can do this with gamescom 2020 as well as with other trade fairs such as DMEXCO @home 2020 and h+h cologne @home 2021. All partners can book their participation now.”
Felix Falk is Managing Director of game – Verband der deutschen Games-Branche e.V. and sees it as follows : “As the games industry, we also want to show with gamescom that innovations and courageous further developments are the best way to deal with such crises. To this end, the gamescom team has been working hard for months on gamescom 2021, especially on the digital elements. We will now only be able to implement many of the new concepts for the hybrid gamescom, such as digital queue management, in the coming year. For the digital gamescom 2021, we are focusing on being able to offer even more games, reach and community atmosphere. To this end, we are relying on a completely new concept with gamescom epix, for example, which sends the community on a joint quest journey in social media even before the start of gamescom. With this, we want to transfer even more of the unique gamescom atmosphere into the digital realm. Together with our numerous partners, we want to make gamescom the biggest games event in the world again in 2021.”
One Week of Digital Events
In doing so, the original schedule has been adjusted somewhat. It will start as usual on August 23, 2021 with devcom, then on Wednesday August 25 will be gamescom Opening Night Live with Geoff Keighley, and the core days of the show will then be over the next two days. In addition, there will then be offers over the coming weekend.
With the fair this year, the organizers then also want to build directly on the success of 2020. To this end, the content hub (gamescom now) is to be comprehensively relaunched and made even more appealing with additional features for partners and fans. There will also be a new community campaign, gamescom epix, with which fans can immerse themselves in the gamescom universe.