Like every other major event, GamesCom took 2020 off, swapping its enormous in-person show for a series of online presentations. Unlike other major events which are taking 2021 off as well, however, GamesCom organisers think they’ll be able to get people in the door sometime in “late summer”.
That seems like...a bad idea? Organisers aren’t proposing a straight-up return to the shows of old, that would be nuts; instead, there are plans for GamesCom 2021 to be a “hybrid” event that comprises online presentations but also in-person stuff like fans getting hands-on time with games, and business meetings.
Even with this reduced attendance, with lines for games replaced by a “digital queue system”, “late summer” means August, and we’re already in late-March. Had Europe been able to be mostly vaccinated by then, or at least Germany, then OK, sure, I could see the appeal!
But Germany’s current Covid status is shaky, with the country stuck in repeated lockdowns and with a vaccine rollout that has been described as “glacial”. Is it really going to be safe enough for thousands of people to get together in a convention centre so soon?
Organisers, touting a “#B-SAFE4business” model of making this all work, are clearly confident. But if the last 12 months of this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that “confident” doesn’t mean shit to this virus.