ALEX QUEJADO WRITES — “Cons,” or fan conventions, are commonplace in today’s world. They are held for fans of a particular medium, such as comic books or anime. Video game conventions in particular receive extensive media coverage. Game publishers release first-look footage of their upcoming projects at major gaming conventions like the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) or BlizzCon (held by Blizzard Entertainment). Asia is no stranger to such game cons; Japan’s Tokyo Game Show (TGS) and South Korea’s G-Star are just a few that are popular among fans. However, Southeast Asia hasn’t had a persistent game con presence. Perhaps GameStart Asia will change this.
GameStart 2014 was held in Singapore from October 25- 26. The convention was sponsored by Eliphant, a company created by Elicia Lee. Big-name distributors such as Sony, 2K Games, Bandai Namco, and Blizzard were present, while gaming media giant, IGN Entertainment (Imagine Games Network), provided exclusive coverage of the event. Fans attended panels with some of Singapore’s top game developers, while others were given a hands-on look at emerging games. GameStart Asia even featured a match between professional Street Fighter players Daigo and Xian.
GameStart Asia isn’t the first of its kind. Previous ventures in Southeast Asia didn’t maintain the staying power apparent in other popular cons. Elicia Lee, the mastermind of GameStart Asia, seeks to change this, expressing that fans “always wanted a convention like this in Singapore and Southeast Asia.” She expected around 8,000 attendees, but over 12,000 people from Southeast Asia and around the world attended. This year’s success may attract more Western interest in the Southeast Asian gaming market. If GameStart Asia becomes an annual convention, it may potentially become as successful as its more established ‘siblings.’