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GamesCom Wises Up, Goes Fully Digital

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lines during the gamescom 2019 event gamescom 2021 all digital
A look at the lines of GamesCom’s 2019 event.
Photo: Voelz Tom (Shutterstock)

GamesCom 2021 will be a fully digital event this year, GamesCom officials announced in a press release today. The move is a reversal of earlier plans for a semi-live event, inadvisable given the, y’know, roiling pandemic that’s still an ever-present aspect of everyday life.

Held annually in Cologne, Germany, GamesCom is one of the more prominent trade shows in the video game industry. Though not quite E3-tier in terms of omnipresent publicity, the event is still a hotbed for trailers, updates, and announcements.


Last year, as countries around the globe struggled to contain the covid-19 pandemic, GamesCom pivoted to an entirely digital production, much like many other events. This March, GamesCom organizers said they intended to hold a hybrid event—featuring both digital presentations and IRL hands-on demonstrations—a decision Kotaku deemed “uh...” at the time. Today, it’s clear GamesCom will follow the lead of other major industry events by going all-digital.

Read: Here’s The E3 (And Not-E3) 2021 Press Conference Schedule So Far

“Even though the hybrid concept was very well received, we had to recognize that GamesCom still comes too early for many companies in the industry due to the required planning reliability,” Oliver Frese, COO of Koelnmasse, the German trade show organizer, said in the press release. “One thing is absolutely clear: All those involved now need planning reliability. That’s why we’re going for a purely digital GamesCom again this year.”


Steel yourself for “world exclusives!” and pre-show trailers: Live or digital, Geoff Keighley will still host the marquee event, Opening Night Live, just as he did last year. GamesCom kicks off on August 25 and runs through August 27.