Gamers will gain if rookie organiser delivers

People walk in the Electronic Arts booth during the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los Angeles, California June 11, 2014.

SINGAPORE - After five years, a young start-up is planning to hold a video-game convention in Singapore.

The organiser, Eliphant, is essentially a one-woman show, although there is a silent partner lurking in the background.

However, Singapore's video-game scene has had a disappointing history with such events. So what makes the upcoming GameStart show think it is likely to succeed?

The last major game convention here, which involved big names such as PlayStation and Xbox, was Games Convention Asia. It lasted three years and ended in 2009.

There have been several video-game-themed events here, including License2Play and Casual Connect, but they are more of a showcase of new and existing games.

Non-gamers will not notice the difference, but a true games convention would be E3 in Los Angeles or September's Tokyo Games Show. Game publishers and developers will flock to such events to show off preview builds of unreleased games, announce new titles and offer hands-on sessions of yet-to-be released titles to attendees.

Gamers like me will flock to these events and wait for hours in line just to be among the first in the world to get our hands on the games and previews.

I remember waiting in line to be the first to try out the PS Vita, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles before they went on sale.

The hands-on sessions I attended for The Last Of Us, Fantasia: Music Evolved and Beyond: Two Souls stoked my interest in the games early on and kept them on my radar over other titles which were announced later on.

Many gamers, I am sure, after reading about the games announced at June's E3 and at Gamescom last week, have already set their minds on upcoming titles to pick up.

I hope that GameStart is ready to deliver on these expectations. Elicia is a friend whom I got to know when she was working at Electronic Arts and, while I have every faith in her abilities as an organiser, the work leading up to the event is pretty much like a preview of a video game.

So far, this debut act has unlocked Sony's PlayStation and Namco Bandai Games as exhibitors and while it sets up expectations, it is the final gameplay that matters.

There are a few things she has done right and one of them is in scheduling the event for October. While some would argue that it is right before the school exam period, this puts GameStart right after the well known Tokyo Games Show.

It is at this time that developers such as Sony will be more open to bringing in demos which debuted in Tokyo, giving local audiences a taste of something they would previously only get to read about.

And even though it is less than two months to the Oct 25 weekend event, GameStart has yet to set ticket prices for the convention.

Doing so without a proper event line-up would not bode well for this inaugural event, even if it means having less time to drum up sales.

As there is still time, here is what I want to see at GameStart.

With the Xbox One launching here on Sept 23, the rivalry between Sony and Microsoft will finally hit our shores, so I am expecting to see the best games from both parties.

If Sony brings in the horror title Until Dawn, I expect Microsoft to showcase Quantum Break.

If Xbox's Halo 5 makes an appearance, so should PlayStation's The Order: 1886.

Here is hoping that Ubisoft will come to show off the new Assassin's Creed Rogue, against EA's Dragon Age: Inquisition. October is also the launch for Skylanders: Trap Team, right after the competing Disney Infinity 2.0 comes out in September.

Let the games begin.


This article was first published on August 20, 2014.
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