In spite of a ban on events in host city Cologne, the organisers behind Gamescom have confirmed they are still preparing for the show to go ahead as planned in August.
In a statement on Twitter, the organisers said “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 is due to go ahead.
A short update on the current situation:
— gamescom (@gamescom) March 16, 2020
“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 organisers said. “The preparations for the [event] are continuing as planned according to the current state for the determined date.”
“The city of Cologne banned all major events with more than 1,000 participants up to and including April 10, 2020, on the basis of a decree issued by the state government on the same day,” the organisers added on a subsequent tweet.
A week ago, organisers of E3 – the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) – insisted it was continuing to “plan for a safe and successful” show later this year whilst “actively assessing” the coronavirus outbreak. Now E3 2020 has been cancelled, as has EGX Rezzed, GDC, and both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled scheduled live events.
Bungie, EA, Nintendo and now Rockstar have all 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. BAFTA has also confirmed it’s revising the format on its upcoming Games Awards in light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), too.
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.