It’s good news for gaming fans in Singapore: A new convention has been announced that aims to be Southeast Asia’s premier consumer gaming event. GameStart, organised by Eliphant, hopes to feature some of the best in international and regional gaming, and it’s got a good start with Sony already signed on.
To be held on Oct 25 and 26 at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre, GameStart hope to attract all types of gamers, from the hardcore PC and console warriors to the casual mobile gamers.
Sony, the first main sponsor, will have a 200sqm booth at the convetion, and will feature games like racing game Driveclub, the anticipated LittleBigPlanet 3, the (very) scary horror game The Evil Within and the recently launched PlayStation Vita game, Freedom Wars.
“(Sony Computer Entertainment HK Ltd Singapore Branch) is delighted to be the first main sponsor for the inaugural GameStart as we are confident that
it will become a landmark event in the Southeast Asian video gaming calendar, said said Jacqueline Chiu, SCES Head of Marketing. “There is definitely a gap in the market for an event such as this.”
Console game cafe St Games Cafe and local T-shirt designer Xmashed Gear will be partners for the event, and Xmashed will be launching new designs.
Our good friends Neo Tokyo Project will be organising the Game On! Cosplay Competition as part of the convention, and submissions have already opened and will close Oct 6. Yasemin Arslan from Australia, Yuegene Fay from Thailand and Singapore’s own Tessie will be cosplay guests (and judges) for the event.
I might have compared it to E3 at first – which is fair, since E3 is pretty much the biggest gaming show right now. But E3 is also a trade-only show, while GameStart will allow fans to get a hands on with new and upcoming games, just like the Tokyo Games Show and its non-trade days. That said, it’s hard to see gaming companies coming here to announce anything like in E3, TGS or Gamescom – but at the very least it’s a start.
It’s been years since Games Convention Asia – which touted guests like Peter Molyneux (Fable), Cevat Yerli (Far Cry, Crysis) and Ragnar Tornquist (The Longest Journey) in their 2008 edition – disappeared without a whimper in 2010. Other conventions, like SPH’s License 2 Play (with hilarious acronym of L2P) has the tagline of “Eat, Play, Flea” for its 2013 edition – not particularly promising (and it was never very popular, nor focused, to begin with). MediaCorp VizPro’s The Games Expo has seemingly gone kaput too (the website’s dead), and while there’s also the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention, the show’s focus is mostly on the comics and toys, leaving the gaming sphere under-represented.
I haven’t forgotten Casual Connect Asia – which was held back in May. That said, while Sony and a few other big players were there, the focus was mostly on mobile and indie gaming, and it was meant for those in the industry rather than the general consumer. Nothing wrong with that – Singapore developers do tend to be under these umbrellas so more exposure is always good – but it might be interesting to see if GameStart focus purely on the big names, of if it’s more of a, come for the triple-A titles, stay for the hidden gems, so to speak.
So this is really good news, and knowing the team behind it (who are working hard as I write this) it does give a glimmer of hope that this will do well. Singapore’s always been in a weird spot in terms of gaming: Gaming penetration is pretty high here, but the population is small. But at least companies do do official launches here (you can’t officially buy an Xbox in Malaysia, for example), and using this as a regional platform makes sense. Australia has EB Games Expo and PAXAus, but it’s so farrrrrr.
Eliphant does say that GameStart is inspired by E3, Gamescom and PAX.
“Pretty much everyone is a gamer nowadays,” said Ms Elicia Lee, Founder of Eliphant. “We wanted to create a show that we would want to go to with our friends. Drawing inspiration from PAX and GamesCom, our vision is to bring the buzz and fabulous content of these big shows to our part of the world.”
We’re looking forward to October now, and bringing our friends – hopefully we don’t get too much of a hangover from STGCC in September!