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Gamescom will return as biggest in-person game expo in August

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Gamescom 2022 will return as an in-person game expo in Cologne, Germany from August 24 to August 28.

Felix Falk, managing director of German trade association Game and co-organizer of Gamescom, said in an interview with Gamescom that the event will not sell as many tickets as it did in 2019 — a record-setting 370,000 for the last time the show was held in person — but it would still be the “world’s largest game expo.”

The event will also be more environmentally sustainable, as it will work to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and purchase carbon offsets in order to be climate-neutral, Falk said. Falk hopes that gamers and game industry professionals alike will be hungry for the return of Gamescom, where players can see premiers of top games as well as try out the big games coming out this year.

“So the event is basically the best of two worlds from 2019,” Falk said. “It has all the digital parts we developed in the last two years. We have COVID measures already in mind, and because we have six months to go we are looking to the measures that we will have at the end of August. There is still time, but we will decide some things. We are very confident that, together with some measures we already have in place, we can get a really nice Gamescom atmosphere and feeling back.”

The line for Borderlands 3 eight minutes after Gamescom 2019 opened.
The line for Borderlands 3 eight minutes after Gamescom 2019 opened.

The event will also be accompanied by the Devcom event for game developers on August 22 to August 23, held on site just ahead of the larger event. The day for press will be on August 24, while general admission ticket holders will be able to visit booths of game companies from August 25 to August 28.

“We did have 370,000 as a world record and we are not we’re not trying to get the next record,” Falk said. “It will have a great atmosphere, but not too many people.”

The hybrid event will also feature online streams and videos so others can enjoy the content from afar. Geoff Keighley’s opening night live, which will be held both in person and broadcast live online, will take place in a brand new hall built during the pandemic on August 23, Falk said.

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“We are really positive. There is big interest,” Falk said. “Some companies may need more time, but the demand is there and the interest very high. We expect to have new players who have never been to Gamescom before from Asia.”

Since the show is six months away and no one really knows what the pandemic situation will be like, the show will implement a hygiene and safety routine, where attendees will likely have to show proof of vaccination. The halls will also not be as crowded with attendees as they have been in years past, and the aisles will be wider.

The show will comply with local regulations, Falk said, but he noted the Koelnmesse expo center has already been operating with numerous other shows. Falk said Gamescom has learned to create backup plans and be flexible in the past two years. Last year, the group planned for an in-person event but had to cancel it as the coronavirus saw a resurgence.

The show will have sections for entertainment and business, and it will feature cosplay, retro games, indie titles, and shows with live on-site audiences.

Crash Bandicoot didn't get the memo about Gamescom.
Crash Bandicoot didn’t get the memo about Gamescom in 2020.

Oliver Frese, chief operating officer of Koelnmesse, said in a statement, “We are now finally back again with Gamescom – in Cologne and online! And this with a convincing momentum from the games industry. Together we have set up a strong concept, in the context of which we of course also ensure the safety and health, as well as the well-being of
all those present.“

The real test will be whether game companies sign up and book floor space. Interested companies can compile and directly book their participation at gamescom.global/take-part as of now.

“We are starting the phase where partners and exhibitors can can book their participation,” Falk said. “And Gamescom goes green will make this our first climate friendly event in the games world.”

The crowd at Gamescom 2019  on opening day on Tuesday, August 20.
The crowd at Gamescom 2019 on opening day. The show was online-only in 2020 and 2021.

The “Gamescom goes green” program will build on existing measures, such as free local public transport tickets, constant hall renovations, or the Gamescom forest, Koelnmesse and the Game association want to design Gamescom as a whole to be climate-neutral over the medium and long term through the reduction, avoidance, and offset of carbon dioxide emissions. The group is teaming up with ClimatePartner to calculate carbon dioxide emissions and offset them through two certified carbon offset projects: a wind power project in northeastern Brazil and clean cooking stoves in Abuja, Nigeria.

“Those two projects will allow us to offset what we can’t reduce,” Falk said.

Visitors can also make a voluntary donation to climate action by buying a green ticket.

Susanne Wöllecke, head of sales for Germany at ClimatePartner, said in a statement, “Climate action is about calculating your own carbon dioxide emissions, reducing them, and offsetting residual emissions. Gamescom’s Event
Carbon Footprint serves as the basis for reduction measures. Residual carbon dioxide emissions are offset via certified carbon offset projects. It is also exemplary that Gamescom is raising awareness about climate action among both exhibitors and visitors and providing the opportunity to get involved by making climate contributions.”

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