"We have decided we want to hold a SPIEL convention," organizer Friedhelm Merz Verlag said of the annual Essen Game Fair, citing "the prospect of a widespread vaccination program by fall" as a reason for hope.  This year’s show is scheduled for October 14-17, 2021; the 2020 show was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic last May (see "Essen Game Fair Canceled").

If it seems that the event cannot be held safely at a later date, "we will act responsibly as early as possible, as we did last year," the organizers said in the announcement.

Some contingency plans are in place to be implemented if necessary, including safety rules to make the show safer, such as wider aisles and walkways.  Additional digital support is planned, allowing exhibitors to present new releases digitally.  If the physical event is canceled, a purely digital event will be offered for the second time.

Internationale Spieltage SPIEL (the German name of the event), held annually since 1983, is the largest game fair in the world, and an event where exhibitors from all over the world debut new games which then make their way to trade in the following months.  It’s a major business event where international rights for games are negotiated and announced.  A live show in 2021 would be a welcome return for an important event in the annual business calendar.