Gamescom's attempt at an in-person 2020 event didn't go as planned, to put it mildly, but they're willing to give it another try. Organizers have announced that Gamescom 2021 is designed as a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual components. There will be a physical space for people to try new games, just with a "reduced amount" of guests and a queue management system. You'll also see a competition arena, a business space and developer facilities. However, there will also be digital hubs to help fans and companies network online.
The focus on gameplay tryouts will prevent some past exhibitors from participating, the showrunners said. Ticket sales will start in May, a few months ahead of the four-day show's August 25th opening.
The determination to return to on-site exhibition isn't surprising when hands-on time and socializing are often cornerstones of events like this. With that said, there's no guarantee Gamescom will pull this off. A lot can change over the course of a few months during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Gamescom team discovered first-hand in 2020. Large-scale vaccinations make the 2021 approach a safer bet, but there's still a bit of gambling involved — the Gamescom crew is clearly hoping the virus doesn't sow further chaos.