Gamescom is "significantly expanding" its digital presence for 2020, ahead of a crucial review in May that will determine whether the physical show can go ahead in August.
In a joint statement released today, the venue Koelnmesse and German industry association Game gave their clearest indication so far that the physical Gamescom event is in doubt due to the spread of COVID-19.
The two entities said that "an evaluation will be made in mid-May" about whether Gamescom will take place "onsite in Cologne" in August.
"If an on-site event is possible, there will also be more information at that stage with regard to which changes need to be made in order to fully ensure the health of all visitors," the statement read.
"This has been arranged with the largest exhibitors, therefore all Gamescom plans are continuing at full speed."
However, a larger amount of attention is now being paid to the digital aspects of Gamescom, such as the Opening Night Live format introduced last year. Koelnmesse and Game said that the show's digital footprint will be "significantly expanded and new modules added" as doubts linger about the validity of public events in 2020.
As such, Gamescom will be held "at least in a digital format" from August 25 to 29, even if a physical show is not deemed possible in mid-May. The same is true for the Devcom developer conference, which is held between August 22 and 24.
"In view of the corona crisis, we are now expanding all digital formats at full speed so that Gamescom 2020 can at least take place digitally in any case," said Felix Falk, managing director of Game.
"We already reach millions of Gamescom fans worldwide... Further expansion of our digital strategy is the way to go right now."
If Gamescom and Devcom cannot be held in Cologne by official order, all visitors and exhibitors will receive refunds.