German chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans for a “gradual and cautious loosening of stringent coronavirus measures,” the New York Times reported Wednesday, allowing some small businesses to reopen in the coming weeks. But the country’s ban on large public events has been extended, and that will mean a radical change for Germany’s massive gaming convention, Gamescom.
Gamescom draws more than 350,000 attendees annually to Cologne, Germany. This year’s event was scheduled to take place Aug. 25-29, but the country’s ban on public gatherings now extends to Aug. 31, ruling out a massive convention.
Organizers said on Twitter that the extension will affect this year’s show, but did not provide specifics, other than to say Gamescom 2020 “will definitely take place digitally.”
❗ Even though not all details are known at present, the nationwide ban on major events until the end of August will also affect the planning for #gamescom2020. Furthermore: gamescom 2020 will definitely take place digitally! We will provide further information shortly. ❗— gamescom (@gamescom) April 15, 2020
At Gamescom 2019, host Geoff Keighley held a special event called Gamescom Opening Night Live, a two-hour livestreamed press conference that featured game reveals and updates on Death Stranding, Gears 5, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and more. Keighley and Gamescom announced plans to bring back Opening Night Live this year on Aug. 24.
Update (April 16): Gamescom officials tweeted on Thursday that this year’s event is officially canceled, saying, “unfortunately, gamescom will under no circumstances take place on site in Cologne.” Organizers said they are “already working at full speed on a digital [Gamescom].”
Geoff Keighley followed up with an update of his own on Twitter, saying “Gamescom: Opening Night Live will now be an all digital show, streaming live on Monday, August 24.”