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Gamescom 2021 cancels plans for in-person events and opts for digital only

(Image credit: Gamescom)

The Gamescom 2021 organisers have decided to opt for a completely digital event, abandoning previous plans for a digital/in-person hybrid event

In a press release (opens in new tab) provided by event organisers Koelnmesse and the German Games Industry Association (GAME), it was announced that “Gamescom 2021 [is] to be held exclusively online and free of charge for all fans.”

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According to the document, the decision to make Gamescom 2021 an all-digital event “was made after extensive discussions with partners and exhibitors. Thus, the organizers take into account the current situation, in which too many companies are unable to participate in physical events this year due to the still difficult development.”

Reflecting on the previous hybrid event plan, Oliver Frese, chief operating officer for Koelnmesse, said: “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.”

The statement continues: “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.”

This will be the second time that Gamescom has had to become a digital only event after 2020’s Gamescom became online-only due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gamescom isn’t the only gaming event to decide to go all-digital this year, with E3 2021 also set to take place entirely online this June.

Ex-Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has voiced his opinion on this transition into digital-only gaming events noting that, although digital events are the right thing to do considering the times we are currently in; they don’t sound as compelling to him. In a recent interview, he noted that “the platform holders need to find a way digitally to enable their fans, their players to experience the content [...] to play for the first time is what’s magical.”

Gamescom 2021 will kick off with its opening night on August 25 and run until Friday evening August 27.  

Find out everything you need to know about the first of many online gaming events this summer with our E3 2021 guide

Hope Bellingham
Hope Bellingham

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.