Gamescom cancels its in-person event due to COVID-19

It will be digital-only in 2020.

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Visitors play "Hearthstone" at the World of Warcraft exhibition stand during the Gamescom 2013 fair in Cologne August 21, 2013. The Gamescom convention, Europe's largest video games trade fair, runs from August 22 to August 25. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENT)
Ina Fassbender / Reuters

Gamescom announced today that it won’t host its annual in-person event in Cologne, Germany this year. Germany has had a nation-wide ban on events through August, so this isn’t a surprise, and the organizers didn’t really have a choice. The Gamescom team is planning a digital version of the conference, so gamers and exhibitors still have something to look forward to.

Gamescom previously said existing digital formats, like its Opening Night Live stream, scheduled for August 24th, will be “significantly expanded.” For some, this won’t be too much of a change. Last year, millions of fans followed Gamescom online.

According to a tweet, all paid tickets will be refunded, and more details about the online event will be revealed in the coming weeks. You can follow the #StayHomePlayTogether hashtag for updates.

Of course, Gamescom isn’t alone. Plenty of other events, including SXSW, Facebook’s F8, Google’s I/O, E3 2020 and GDC 2020, have all been canceled. As Engadget’s Jess Conditt wrote, the coronavirus pandemic could speed up the end of tech conferences. Fans who tune into Gamescom online this year, will likely expect expanded digital offerings in the future, too.

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