Coronavirus pandemic

Major gaming festival in S'pore postponed till next year

Gamescom Asia organiser cites concern over health of visitors, staff amid Covid-19 crisis

Gaming fans excited about a major gaming festival due to take place for the first time here in October will have to hit the pause button as it has been postponed due to concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gamescom Asia, an offshoot of Germany's Gamescom, which is one of the world's largest gaming events, will now take place from Oct 14 to 17 next year. It had been scheduled from Oct 15 to 18 this year.

Its organiser, German trade fair company Koelnmesse, said in a statement yesterday that the decision was made to protect the health of visitors, exhibitors and staff.

"As much as we would have loved to bring the event to life this October, the current global crisis has forced us to recalibrate our wants for Gamescom Asia. The health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors and staff are paramount," said Koelnmesse Singapore managing director Mathias Kuepper.

The postponement comes after news that the main Gamescom festival to be held in Cologne, Germany, had to be cancelled and will take place only online.

Gamescom, which has been held in Cologne every year since 2009, is a highlight in the gaming world. Last year's show attracted 373,000 visitors and around 1,150 exhibitors from more than 50 countries, making it the industry's biggest event.

Koelnmesse had initially in April said it would be proceeding with the festival, even as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases here continued rising, as it had expected the situation to "ease considerably" in the months leading up to October.

The venue for Gamescom Asia, Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, remains unchanged.

Interest in the event is expected to hold, with netizens expressing disappointment but adding that they understand the caution. The organiser had said the event this year was set to attract over 30,000 enthusiasts and gaming industry professionals from around the world.

The festival here will involve big names in the gaming world who would debut new titles, set up booths for players to try out new games and organise e-sports competitions.

Yesterday, Koelnmesse said the decision to postpone the event to next year was made after it had consulted various stakeholders, partners and the Government.

Gamescom, which has been held in Cologne every year since 2009, is a highlight in the gaming world. Last year's show attracted 373,000 visitors and around 1,150 exhibitors from more than 50 countries, making it the industry's biggest event.

Last year, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Koelnmesse to mark a partnership for the upcoming festival.

STB's executive director for exhibitions and conferences Andrew Phua said it remains committed to partnering with Koelnmesse for next year's festival.

"The inaugural event will be a highlight in Singapore's events calendar and provide new business opportunities for local and regional companies," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2020, with the headline 'Major gaming festival in S'pore postponed till next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe