While the corona virus threw a spanner in the works of Gamescom last year, the popular computer games trade show is to get back on track this year – to some extent, at least. This time, for example, there is to be no purely digital trade fair on the Internet, but a so-called hybrid version that relies on a combination of online events and classic events in the Cologne exhibition halls.
Finally, visitors again
Of course, the masses will not be able to make the pilgrimage through the Cologne exhibition halls that we are used to in 2019 and the years before. Nevertheless, this year’s Gamescom should again approach a bit of the usual normality. In particular, the number of private individuals who are allowed to get their hands on the latest games and upcoming hardware on site is to be extremely reduced. Thus, in 2019, a total of 370,000 visitors cavorted at the exhibition center. Although the sheer mass of people was sometimes nerve-wracking for both visitors and exhibitors, at least the organizers are likely to look back on last year’s “Corona edition” with horror. It should be all the more gratifying for them that things are getting a little closer to normal again.
Exact number of visitors still unknown
How many visitors will ultimately be possible, is so far still unclear. Here, the corresponding infection situation certainly plays a decisive role. Other than the number of visitors, many event points are already fixed. For example, not only e-sports tournaments and cosplay costume shows are to take place, from which the visitors can benefit on site. On top of that, online offers are to be brought to the fans at home. The organizers already emphasize that great importance will be attached to infection control. Thus all usual protection measures inclusive distance and hygiene rules are to be kept.
Certainly, the testing strategy that is now gaining momentum with the help of practical quick tests can also be used at the upcoming Gamescom. Contact tracking using apps like “Luca” could also be an important component in the implementation of a safe trade fair. The organizers’ plan to avoid queues sounds commendable. For example, it should be possible or necessary to book appointments to play at the booth online in advance. In our opinion, this can also be maintained in the time after Corona. Anyone who has ever visited Gamescom will certainly be able to understand the annoyance of the long queues.
An industry breathes a sigh of relief
It’s not just the local event industry that will be pleased with the plan to allow Gamescom to take place in part as usual. Gaming fans, game developers, retailers and publishers will also breathe a sigh of relief. Small developer studios in particular have always been able to use the trade show to draw attention to their indie games. Unlike the number of visitors, the numbers of expected professionals are already fixed – roughly, at least. The organizers are talking about as many industry experts coming as there were in 2019. This means that we should expect around 31,000 professionals. In order to ensure safety here as well, the organizers would simply like to expand the business area by one hall. Trade visitors who can’t or don’t want to be on site will also be able to use the “gamescom biz” Internet platform. We are curious to see what the staked out “hybrid version” of this year’s Gamescom will look like and are keeping our fingers crossed that the plan will work out.