Update: German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced today that the country’s ban on large public gatherings will be extended through August 31st. No announcement has been made on the physical event for Gamescom 2020 yet.
Gamescom is one of Europe’s biggest video game trade shows, and like most other public events in 2020, COVID-19 has caused a major disruption to their plans. At first, it looked as though the timeframe the event was planned for would be safe from major hassles. The original plan was to continue this year’s version of events in the Fall, but that may be about to change. The organizers of Gamescom 2020 said they were working with German authorities on the matter, and would adjust plans as necessary.
Although in one shining bright spot for the event, it looks like Gamescom is one of the few events that would be impacted that could pull off an all-digital version of the convention. Oliver Frese, Koelnmesse managing director, has stated that it would be the likely move in such a case. “Gamescom and Koelnmesse already rank among the digital pioneers in the international trade fair landscape,” he said. “We therefore also see the current corona crisis as a chance to implement digital event formats even more. Gamescom 2020 offers the perfect platform for this.”
Some sources within the medical and research community have pointed to a desperate need for both widespread testing and vaccinations as a method for controlling the spread of the increasingly deadly coronavirus variant. Some reports suggest that the US, which has the highest reported rate of both infections and deaths, may have to endure social distancing until a vaccine can be administered on a massive scale. Currently, more than two million people have been infected with the virus, with more than 130,000 have died. Around 600,000 of those infections and 25,000 of those deaths are in the USA.
Gamescom 2020 may be under major pressure as Germany has enacted a number of restrictions on public gatherings and other elements of everyday life. And with the German government will be announcing further restrictions later today, it could mean further severe disruptions to both social and economic plans in 2020.
The event drew more than 400,000 visitors to the city of Cologne last year. A gathering that massive this year could be out of the question, as we find out whether the German government follows the path that the US should be following; that is to say, mass-testing and enforced quarantine.