With GDC, E3 and countless other events postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus, the organisers of Gamescom have received enquires about how it could be affected, especially since events with more than 1,000 attendees have been banned in its host city of Cologne. It's not until August, however, and will apparently be going ahead as planned.
In 2018, Gamescom saw 370,000 people squeeze inside Cologne's Koelnmesse across five days. In the height of summer, with thousands of bodies pressed together, some of them skipping a shower to get to all the games, it's not exactly the healthiest or cleanest place in the world at the best of times. But the ban on large events only goes up to April 10, though that could change.
"On 10.03.2020, the city of Cologne banned all major events with more than 1,000 participants up to and including 10.04.202 on the basis of a decree issued by the state government on the same day," reads the statement from the organisers. "Since gamescom takes place at the end of August 2020, we are currently not affected by this decree. However, we will of course follow the recommendations of the responsible authorities regarding major events, evaluate them on a daily basis and make our decisions after careful consideration. The preparations for the #gamescom2020 are continuing as planned according to the current status for the determined date."
A short update on the current situation: ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️ pic.twitter.com/nZH3qMMVvjMarch 16, 2020
If the event is cancelled, however, tickets purchased via the official ticket shop will be reimbursed, though as with other cancelled events, this still leaves exhibitors and visitors in trouble if they've already shelled out for flights, hotels and spent time and money on preparation and making demos to show off. The closer the event gets, the more likely it is that a cancellation will have serious consequences.
While the coronavirus outbreak is expected to dip in the summer, there's still no guarantee that it will be safe for people to gather in large groups come August. Hopefully the optimism is well founded, as Gamescom is one of the last major gaming conventions of the year, aside from PAX West, and will be even more important to publishers and developers given E3's absence this year.