In an epic win for the video gaming and e-sports scene here, Singapore will play host to the first Asian edition of the world's largest gaming festival, gamescom.
To be held from Oct 15 to 18, gamescom asia will consist of a two-day industry gaming conference and a three-day trade and public exhibition.
It will include e-sports events, a showcase of emerging technologies in video games, as well as gaming workshops, meet-and-greet sessions and cosplay theatrics.
Visitors can also look forward to a launch of global titles and an extensive showcase of gaming-related offerings.
Yesterday, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and gamescom organiser Koelnmesse to mark their new partnership. The Straits Times understands that gamescom asia will be a yearly event.
Held in Cologne, Germany, yearly since 2009, gamescom is one of the highlights of the gaming world.
Sponsored by the Association for the German Games Industry, it is the industry's largest event measured by exhibition space and number of visitors, with 370,000 visitors and 1,037 exhibitors from 56 countries attending last year.
STB chief executive Keith Tan said the board kicked off discussions with Koelnmesse to develop an Asian spin-off two years ago. It consulted numerous stakeholders such as the Infocomm Media Development Authority, Enterprise Singapore, industry associations, game developers and organisers of local and e-sports events.
Mr Tan said: "Apart from adding vibrancy to our events calendar, we aim for gamescom asia to position Singapore as the natural base for the development and commercialisation of digital and gaming content, which in turn will support our digital media industry."
The organisers said the festival will be a platform for industry leaders, local and regional buyers, programmers, game designers and audio professionals to network.
Mr Mathias Kuepper, managing director of Koelnmesse Singapore, said gamescom asia will be held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre. Asia has been hungry for a "tier one gaming event" of this scale, and the firm expects to attract more than 30,000 enthusiasts and gaming industry professionals to the festival next year.
STB noted in a statement: "There will be business opportunities for both local and regional companies as the event will allow them to tap into the region's flourishing and lucrative gaming market."
In November last year, market analysts Newzoo forecast that the global games market would reach almost US$135 billion (S$187 billion) this year, and US$174 billion by 2021.
STB said the festival will complement other game-related events in Singapore. These include Singapore Comic Con, formerly known as the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention, and GameStart Asia, a consumer video gaming convention.
At the MOU signing, Mr Kuepper said gamescom will be taking over GameStart Asia, and this year's edition will be the latter's last.
Ms Elicia Lee, founder of Game-Start and gaming marketing firm Eliphant, said: "GameStart will now be handing over the reins to gamescom asia, and (we) look forward to working closely with Koelnmesse Singapore to build on the current gaming community that GameStart has established over the years. We are extremely excited for what is to come and will be gearing up in full force as consultants for the event, bringing to the community and industry a bigger and more vibrant convention."