Gamescom 2021 will take place exclusively as an online event. Koelnmesse announced this. The plans to offer the world's largest consumer fair for computer games as a hybrid event are thus off the table. The reason for switching to the Internet is the current pandemic situation. But there is also good news for fans: Gamescom 2021 will take place free of charge.

The Cologne Trade Fair (proper spelling: Cologne Fair) and the Federal Game Association had discussed intensively and, after discussions with exhibitors and partners, have now decided to allow Gamescom 2021 to take place exclusively digitally. The organizers base their decision on the current pandemic situation. The focus is not exclusively on incidences or vaccination numbers, but on the fact that "due to the continuing difficult development this year, many companies cannot take part in physical events," according to the Cologne trade fair. This meets the need for planning security.

Oink Games digital not inexperienced

The original plan was to offer Gamescom in 2021 as a hybrid event, i.e. to offer a digital and an on-site part. That would have been done together with a specially developed hygiene and safety concept. The organizers initially left it open for a long time as to how to proceed with Gamescom this year. The elaboration and preparation of the hybrid event as an alternative is now followed by another adjustment with the rejection of the plans - this time for good.

In the previous year, the fair took place purely digitally, so the focus is now on: Gamescom 2021 is free for all fans. In 2020 it celebrated numerous successes with this format: over 100 million video views across all formats and channels, over 50 million unique users from 180 countries and 370 partners from 44 countries. However, there will be changes for this year: The digital offering is to be expanded further.

"As the games industry, we also want to show with Gamescom that innovations and courageous further developments are the best way to deal with such crises."
Felix Falk, Managing Director Game

"Together with the game association, we did everything we could to enable fans and the industry to have a hybrid Gamescom 2021," says Oliver Frese, Managing Director of Koelnmesse. “But even if the hybrid concept was very well received by the partners, we had to recognize that Gamescom is still too early for many companies in the industry due to the planning security required. One thing is crystal clear: everyone involved now needs planning security. This is why we are once again relying on a purely digital Gamescom this year and, with sufficient advance notice, we will be able to offer the gaming community an even stronger online event at the end of August 2021”. All partners can now book their participation.

Felix Falk, Managing Director of the Association of the German Games Industry, also sees the decision as the right step: “As the games industry, we also want to use Gamescom to show that innovations and bold further developments are the best way to deal with such crises. The Gamescom team has been working hard on Gamescom 2021 for months, especially on the digital elements. We will only be able to implement many of the new concepts for the hybrid Gamescom, such as digital queue management, in the coming year.”

For the digital Gamescom 2021, the focus is on offering even more games, reach and a community atmosphere, explains Falk. “For example, with 'Gamescom Epix' we are relying on a completely new concept that sends the community on a joint quest journey in social media before the start of Gamescom. With this we want to transfer even more of the unique Gamescom atmosphere into the digital world. Together with our numerous partners, we want to make Gamescom the largest games event in the world again in 2021.”

Gamescom: Opening Night Live again with Geoff Keighley

With Gamescom 2021, the Cologne trade fair and the game association want to follow up on the success of last year's online event. Gamescom will be opened again with the show Gamescom: Opening Night Live with Geoff Keighley. The Gamescom now content hub will be completely redesigned and made even more attractive with numerous additional features for fans and partners. Also new is Gamescom epix, a community campaign that fans can use to immerse themselves in the Gamescom universe in a playful way on the “Road to Gamescom”. Overall, Gamescom fans can look forward to a full program from the start of Gamescom: Opening Night Live on Wednesday evening to Friday evening, August 27th, of which some highlights and promotions will also run on the weekend.

Instead of gambling on site, this year there is only watching from home again. Photo: Volkmann

Thanks to Corona: Instead of gambling on site, this year there is only watching from home again. Photo: Volkmann

"devcom" as the first point of contact for developers and their ecosystem will also come up with an extensive online program and give the games industry a central business platform. Several full-day business matchmaking events, such as the popular "Indies meet Investors and Publishers" format devcom Pitch it! or special matchmaking and pitching events with the international joint booths of devcom, will be significantly expanded. What is also new is that devcom has a clear focus on content and the extensive conference program on the first two days, while Wednesday to Friday are all about business, networking and devcom's popular digital expo.

The start of the new online B2B platform Gamescom biz, on the other hand, will be postponed by a year, since the platform's features can only be rolled out comprehensively in a hybrid concept. The Gamescom congress, Europe's leading conference on the social, economic and cultural potential of games, will once again take place entirely digitally this year on Thursday, August 26th.

First information on the Gamescom 2021 program

In 2020 Gamescom: Opening Night Live in cooperation with Geoff Keighley, according to Cologne-Messe, captivated over two million live viewers on the screens at the same time. World premieres and dozens of brand new news on the most anticipated game titles were unveiled during the grand opening show. Geoff Keighley and his team are again producing Gamescom this year: Opening Night Live, the preparations are already in full swing. The show will be postponed by one day this year - it will take place on Wednesday, August 25th.

Geoff Keighley is already looking forward to it: 2Gaming fans worldwide can already look forward to this year's Gamescom: Opening Night Live: After last year's great success, the developers are very interested in being able to present their world premieres at the ONL this year and thus become an important part of Gamescom 2021.”

That was the Gamescom show last year:

As in previous years, other international Gamescom shows such as the Gamescom Studio and the Gamescom: Awesome Indies show, which was shown for the first time in 2020, will again be produced by IGN. Peer Schneider, IGN's Chief Content Officer, says: "Whether in person in Cologne or in digital form, Gamescom is an annual highlight for our team! The entire IGN crew is excited and ready to bring exciting game reveals, news, developer interviews and hours of new gameplay to the gaming community this August. There will be no better way to celebrate the biggest games of the year – and beyond – than Gamescom 2021.”

Gamescom partners have the opportunity to become part of the shows with their games and content. For indie developers there will be an extensive range in cooperation with the Indie Arena Booth Online, which will be integrated as an interactive game in Gamescom now as the central platform.

Format "Gamescom now" revised

As in previous years, Gamescom now is the first port of call for gaming fans worldwide in 2021. This is where the Gamescom shows and all of the partners' content are bundled in a clear and easily accessible manner - this is where the heart of Gamescom 2021 beats. The platform was completely redesigned in terms of content and technology after last year. Visitors can look forward to revised and significantly improved user guidance, customized schedules, numerous live streams, events, shows and information about all games and Gamescom partners.

Even if everything is purely digital: There are indie games at Gamescom this year too. Photo: Volkmann

Even if everything is purely digital: There are indie games at Gamescom this year too. Photo: Volkmann

The latter benefit from a new, easy-to-use content management system with which they can maintain their content even better and present it to visitors in an appealing way. With the new CMS partners get numerous, individual integration options for content, the digital reach increases accordingly with the optimized display options and other measures.

Gamescom Epix: United with the community before and during Gamescom

Immerse yourself in the Gamescom universe during the “Road to Gamescom”, contest epic quests with the entire community, achieve success and thus revive the Gamescom feeling? This is exactly what the new Gamescom Epix community campaign aims to achieve. Via playful, interactive social media campaigns throughout the Gamescom cosmos, fans can already interact with content and partners of Gamescom 2021 before the Gamescom week and collect points in order to then win unique prizes during Gamescom in August. The winnings are guarded in the large Gamescom Gault, which opens its doors with the start of Gamescom.

The organizers will publish detailed information on the program in the coming weeks. Information is also available at

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