Koelnmesse and the German Games Industry Association (GAME) have announced that their annual Gamescom event will go back to having an in-person expo this year.

From 24th to 28th August, fans will be able to explore the Koelnmesse exhibition centre and get their hands on the latest games and upcoming releases. For those slightly more hesitant to visit in-person, an "extensive" digital event will be taking place over the course of the five-day event, so no one's missing out.

The expo will kick off on 23rd August with Gamescom: Opening Night Live, and the digital side of the event will be jam-packed with activities, streams, and events, such as:

- Entertainment area and business area, as well as additional sections, including for cosplay, retro, and indie fans, with the unique festival feeling of Gamescom on-site
- Gamescom shows like Gamescom: Opening Night Live, Gamescom studios, and Gamescom: Awesome Indies with a live audience on-site, as well as streams broadcast on numerous channels
- Bundled Gamescom content on Gamescom Now
- Interactive quests on all Gamescom channels and attractive rewards in the context of Gamescom Epix
- Many cooperative projects with international creators and media partners

Gamescom was originally meant to return as a hybrid in-person and digital event last year, but the organisers changed their minds due to the pandemic. This year, though, many video game expos and shows are bringing back their in-person events — such as the Tokyo Game Show — but are keeping their online elements just as prominent.

The organisers are very aware that the showfloor itself won't be as busy as pre-pandemic times. Managing director of Game (the association of the German games industry, not GAME, the UK retailer) Felix Falk, for example, believes they will not sell as many tickets. However, in comments featured in the Gamescom press release he's optimistic about the showcase:

“So the event is basically the best of two worlds from 2019. 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.”

Likely as a response to returning to in-person showcases, the organisers have announced a sustainability initiative called "Gamescom Goes Green", which pledges to make the expo a climate-friendly one.

Are you excited by the return of live events? Let us know in the comments!