Last year, Gamescom attracted more than 373,000 participants to Cologne, Germany, in August, while Devcom attracted approximately 3,000 professional game developers. I attended both events and moderate sessions on the vast grounds of the Koelnmesse convention. But the German government has prohibited these big events because of the coronavirus, and online is the only way to go.
This year Gamescom will kick off with Geoff Keighley’s Opening Night Live event on August 27 and continue through August 30, without the major physical exposure it has normally had in the past. It will have an online-only format, with programming to be announced at a later date, said Felix Falk, managing director of Game (the German gaming industry association), in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We have been working on it for many weeks now, as we adapt to the coronavirus,” said Falk. “We feel responsible for continuing because many other events are canceled around the world. It’s a responsibility because games have such a positive impact on society right now, and so it’s a responsibility to make a Gamescom event. “
Meanwhile, the smaller Devcom event will add new programming and span several weeks before Gamescom. Devcom CEO Stephan Reichart said in an interview with GamesBeat that the new Devcom 365 program will be an online event year-round, but will focus on the two weeks leading up to Gamescom.
“We are starting our Devcom 365 online events much earlier in early June and will be launching many services,” said Reichart. “We will have a Discord server for the Devcom community and a Patreon site.”
Devcom will launch in early June The GameDev Show, a new weekly podcast on the Devcom Twitch channel. Deborah Mensah-Bonsu, former presenter of Xbox Upload and advisor for Devcom, will host the show.
“Gamescom had its Twitch broadcast, but for Devcom it’s a new thing,” said Reichart. “On Twitch, it’s clear that you have to do it in an entertaining way.”
The Devcom 2020 digital conference will take place from August 17 to 30, with more than 60 pre-recorded conferences that span two weeks rather than the usual three days of the physical event, said Reichart.
“We will have time to focus on 60 high-class interviews, or six interviews a day,” said Reichart. “It’s not like having a single chance to do it live. Many of our speakers are spread all over the world, and in the event of an Internet connection failure, we can produce everything and put it online according to a certain schedule. “
And during the summer, Devcom will introduce two new extensions: Devcom Tutorials and Devcom MasterClasses. The tutorials will take place on Twitch and will cover all aspects of game development, such as technology, design, production, leadership and creating your own studio.
Designed for freelancers, newcomers, students and part-time developers, the Devcom tutorials from June are intended to help young studios and future studios find their way to success.
The Devcom MasterClasses will take place in the form of exclusive webinars, intended to help and further train industry professionals. Devcom MasterClasses will start in July. More information on speakers, topics and schedules will be released soon.
Another new feature is Devcom podcasts. Lars Janssen, director of studio relations at Koch Media / Deep Silver; and Nico Balletta, program manager at Devcom), will lead the Ask-me-everything (AMA) with speakers from Devcom and other industry experts, discussions with the Devcom advisory board and much more. Podcasts are part of a range of services that organizers have developed in the form of various Patreon memberships. From mid-June, subscribers can access the content and obtain a ticket for Devcom 2021 with a monthly contribution.
Finally, the Devcom 2020 digital conference will be an extended business-to-business (B2B) event during the two weeks ending August 30.
“We have noticed that many business people are simply not able to be on their desks for eight hours a day and listen to the discussions and do the pairing,” said Reichart.
Over 100 experts from the global gaming industry will be contacted for this purpose. Devcom will use the Pine online event tool, with AI-supported matchmaking, and a virtual expo for independent game developers. Devcom will also have a virtual expo for publishers, service providers, business groups, etc. Devcom ticket sales are available today here.
Back to Gamescom
Gamescom 2020, meanwhile, will focus on the online business-to-consumer event (B2C).
“Gamescom is really focused on providing very entertaining and exclusive content for B2C fans out there,” said Falk. “It will start with Opening Night Live and last another three days. We want to expand our digital reach. “
The Gamescom Now content hub, where Opening Night Live will be held, will be significantly expanded this year. It will also include themes for creators, esports, cosplay, indies and merchandise. Gamescom 2020 will be free for consumers.
Falk said that Gamescom decided not to have virtual exhibit booths because the technology used was rather “fragile” and many partners have their own websites online.
“We are not trying to make everything analog into a digital form, and that is why we will not make virtual booths.”
Gamescom 2020 will offer a new addition called Awesome Indies, with ads related to indie games in a show format. Gamescom will also present its Daily Show, which will showcase the highlights of the event daily. Gamescom Studio will offer interviews with game developers about their games, and the event will close with the Gamescom: Best of Show announcements.
Falk said Gamescom will have programming in English and German. And Devcom will broadcast its discussions in English at a time when North American audiences will also be able to watch it.
Devcom is a subsidiary of Game, which is also co-organizer of Gamescom.
“We are fortunate not to be the first to face this situation,” said Falk. “We can prepare, even if it’s only six months, and learn from others.”