SME Tech

More to see and do at bigger GameStart

GameStart founder Elicia Lee (right) with the event's mascot Alyse, played by Ms Sharlene Tan. Ms Lee is bullish about this year's convention.
GameStart founder Elicia Lee (right) with the event's mascot Alyse, played by Ms Sharlene Tan. Ms Lee is bullish about this year's convention.PHOTOS: GAMESTART, SONY
GameStart founder Elicia Lee (right) with the event's mascot Alyse, played by Ms Sharlene Tan. Ms Lee is bullish about this year's convention.
PHOTOS: GAMESTART, SONY

Three-day video game showcase will feature talks and hands-on demos of new products

Entrepreneur and game enthusiast Elicia Lee cannot wait to pick up a copy of the highly anticipated game Fallout 4.

But she will not have time to play it, and the dozens of unopened games she has bought in the last few months.

The 34-year-old owner of Eliphant, the company behind local video game convention GameStart, is too busy putting the finishing touches to her event.

After experiencing a tough inaugural start last year, Ms Lee is more bullish this year.

GameStart 2015, which kicks off on Nov 13, is a three-day showcase which will take up twice the hall space compared with last year's two- day, single-hall event.

Alongside returning exhibitors such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Blizzard and Bandai Namco, this year's show will include Warner Interactive and Ubisoft, all of whom will be showing off upcoming games such as Street Fighter V, Dark Souls III and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege.

Sony's PlayStation will also be hosting hands-on demonstrations of its upcoming PlayStation VR virtual reality hardware, which is slated to be released next year.

The number of exhibitors has grown from 26 last year to 55 this year, and the focus has moved beyond just previewing new games.

  • BE AMONG 20 LUCKY READERS TO WIN TICKETS

  • Twenty Straits Times readers stand a chance to win a three-day VIP pass to GameStart 2015, worth $58.

    With the pass, they will also be able to skip the expected long queues for the try-out of Sony's new PlayStation VR headset on Nov 13, the opening day of the show.

    They will instead join an exclusive priority queue, which will open from 5pm to 8pm, and be among the first to try out the virtual reality gaming headset.

    To qualify, like the ST Digital Facebook page (www.facebook.com/StraitsTimesDigital). Send an e-mail to stdled@sph.com.sg, along with your name, IC number and phone number, and tell us why you are interested in the PlayStation VR. The 20 best entries win.

The Business Day on Nov 13 will have speakers from Facebook, Ubisoft and Twitch talking about video games from the Asian perspective.

"We wanted to invite speakers based in Asia who could make the knowledge-sharing session more relevant to local start-ups and independent game developers," explained Ms Lee. "For example, Facebook is a huge marketing platform, but not many know about its gaming strategies in Asia."

She had actually wanted to host a similar session last year, but did not have the bandwidth to manage it.

Ms Lee is not the first to start a local games convention, but GameStart is currently the only one in town.

She said that last year's successful event, which drew over 12,000 attendees, made it a little easier to sign up exhibitors this year.

However, she noted that the video game industry has grown disillusioned with previous gaming conventions, such as TGX, which fizzled out.

"There are still a lot of jaded people in the industry and they are not keen on such events because they have not worked out for them before."

She managed to get local speciality toy retailer Simply Toys to take a booth at this year's show as well.

"The owner of Simply Toys has been very supportive. She has the toy audience and she kind of wants to try to hit the video game market."

Three things to see at GameStart 2015

SONY PLAYSTATION VR

Sony is bringing in six playable demos for the PlayStation VR virtual reality demo at GameStart. Each session should last 20 minutes.

Designed to function with Sony's PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita consoles, the headset was first announced last year. It was then known as Project Morpheus.

The PlayStation VR is just one of several virtual reality headsets slated for launch next year, and this is the first time that one is being being made available for a public hands-on.

STAR WARS: BATTLE POD

Designed and built by game publisher and developer Bandai Namco, the Star Wars: Battle Pod is an arcade machine which features graphics displayed on a curved dome sealed in an enclosed environment.

The software was designed by Bandai Namco's Singapore office, which included several local game designers.

The arcade machine was released earlier this year, but no video arcade company has brought the machine in.

Working with Disney and Bandai Namco, local entertainment website Geek Culture is moving the set from the Bandai Namco Singapore office to the show.

ROCK BAND 4

This year marks the return of two top music game franchises, Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Both games require players to use plastic instruments to recreate drum beats and guitar strums in popular songs.

Another player can sing along with the lyrics.

There are currently no plans to launch the Rock Band 4 game locally, but Mad Catz, the games accessory maker responsible for the new range of peripherals for Rock Band 4, will be having a stage presentation of the game during the show.

There are also plans for a public hands-on session, but details are still in the works.

  • GameStart 2015 will be held at Suntec convention centre halls 401 and 402, from Nov 13 to 15. To get tickets for the show, go to http://gamestart.asia/, or retail stores GameXtreme, Gamescore and St Games Cafe.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2015, with the headline 'More to see and do at bigger GameStart'. Print Edition | Subscribe