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Germany has reportedly banned all major events until August 31, putting on-site plans for this year’s Gamescom event in doubt.
According to the German Press Agency, German chancellor Angela Merkel will announce the restriction on Wednesday, although specific regulations such as the size of events allowed to go ahead will be made by the federal states.
Gamescom is currently scheduled to take place in Cologne from August 25-29 and the event usually attracts in excess of 350,000 people each year.
UPDATE: Gamescom has published the following statement:
UPDATE 2: Gamescom’s organisers have officially confirmed the cancellation of 2020’s physical event due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month organisers Koelnmesse and the German Games Industry Association (Game) said the event would not be postponed and would “definitely take place at least in a digital format.”
Local authorities were set to evaluate in mid-May whether it would be possible to hold an on-site event in Cologne as planned.
Either way, existing digital formats such as Gamescom: Opening Night Live – which attracted an audience of over 500,000 simultaneous viewers in 2019 – “will be significantly expanded and new modules added,” said Koelnmesse managing director Oliver Frese.
“When we reassess the situation in mid-May for all Gamescom formats at the Cologne fair grounds, the health of our visitors will be our top priority,” Frese said.
“Gamescom and Koelnmesse already rank among the digital pioneers in the international trade fair landscape,” he added. “We therefore also see the current corona crisis as a chance to implement digital event formats even more. Gamescom 2020 offers the perfect platform for this.”