UPDATE: An extension of the German government’s ban on mass gatherings has meant that Gamescom 2020 will not take place on site in Cologne. Organisers have since confirmed an alternative, digital event “will definitely take place”.
This decision has come due to German nationwide ban on major events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show organisers said on Twitter: “Furthermore: gamescom 2020 will definitely take place digitally!”
In spite of a ban on events in host city Cologne, the organisers behind Gamescom had hoped the show would go ahead as planned in August. In statement on Twitter, the organisers said at the time “the health of all trade fair visitors and partners is our top priority” and insisted it was taking the COVID-19 pandemic “very seriously”, but was confident the show would go ahead as the instruction to ban public events in Cologne would expire before the event was due to go ahead.
The coronavirus is affecting the games industry all over the world and in a myriad of ways. In response to the pandemic, E3 2020 has been cancelled as has GDC and EGX Rezzed – although it subsequently ran as digital event – and Develop:Brighton 2020 has been postponed to November. Both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled scheduled live events.
Studios like Bungie, EA, and Rockstar have implemented homeworking to minimise staff exposure to the virus whilst Pokémon Go developer Niantic has made changes to the game to enable players to continue participating even whilst in self-isolation. The increase in people working from home and/or self-isolating, however, has put strain on online services like Xbox Live and Nintendo Switch Online.
A number of publishers have teamed up to create GDC Relief Fund to assist indie devs who may have lost money on paying in advance for the now-cancelled GDC. Sony says it will do “all we can” to support the individuals on the frontlines of battling COVID-19, and EA has pledged up to $2 million in order to support global Coronavirus relief efforts.