As GameStart 2019 wraps up, we can begin looking forward to the events in the coming year. To wit, Gamescom Asia 2020 will gradually approach us. We talk to Prakash Ramajillu, Division Director of Technology, Digital Media, Entertainment & Mobility at Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, Singapore, about organizing the upcoming event.
Gamescom will be in Asia for the first time, with Koelnmesse backing it in Singapore. Prakash expresses his excitement at the plans finally getting into motion, saying it’s been in the works for a while though its launch was only in May this year. “It’s been at least almost a 2 year journey,” he reveals. There’s plenty of potential and prospects to make the event huge, continuing off where GameStart leaves.
Germany’s Gamescom often sees the latest games showcase, launch or have demo gameplay at the event. Plenty of big names like Bandai Namco, Square Enix and Ubisoft make their presence known, so the Asia chapter has much to live up to. Prakash is definitely hoping for a similar showing, talking about the meetings to bring the same caliber of showing to Asia. So far, he cannot confirm anything specific, but the global network is assisting in bringing the dream to life. They’re working to bring the names to the SEA region, for sure.
As it happens, Razer has already committed to Gamescom Asia, which Prakash considers as a good start. The company will be one of Gamescom’s esports partners and will help in curating the esports zone at the event. As with most things, it’s currently a work in progress, but it will help in the momentum to get even more companies to opt in.
Gamescom Asia is meant to fill a gap in the SEA region, where there is a lack of a “Tier 1” event. Many countries, if not all, have their own gaming event, which are often very localized. Ranging from E3, ChinaJoy and Tokyo Game Show, he says they often have their own purpose to serve. Gamescom, with the weight of its brand, intends to take that opportunity within the SEA region, to create a space to showcase the region’s abilities, games, and bring the rest of the world over. “I think we can create something that’s quite unique for this region,” says Prakash.
Regardless, he intends to stay realistic and not expect the same numbers of Europe’s Gamescom in Asia in its first year. The plan is to create a big festival environment where it’s not just about the event, but everything else surrounding Gamescom Asia; esports, cosplay, you name it. As it is, the planned indie game zone alone is the size of GameStart’s hall. The current intent is to fill the whole fourth floor in Suntec, with Gamescom being about twice as big as GameStart. Gamescom Asia will not be B2C – business to consumer – alone, and will feature a big B2B – business to business – component.
Conferences are to be held on the first two days, with meeting spaces for interested companies for B2B. Prakash mentions how most events in the region tend to be B2C focused, so this is already a different tack. Other SEA country events could see large turnouts thanks to the population, which Singapore doesn’t have the luxury of. They’d definitely want to bring in more of the regional communities for the event, with all regions to be represented at Gamescom Asia.
With Razer on board, they can envision some plans to create esports opportunities related to the region’s hottest titles. The finer points are still being worked on, but Prakash suggests announcements will arrive over the next 2 months. He believes the mobile market is very strong in SEA, but will not be neglecting PC or consoles, seeing them as part of the whole gaming ecosystem. There will be a focus on mobile, definitely, with the exact weighting to be decided. For the time being, he hopes people will see Gamescom Asia as a venue to kickstart their plans.
Prakash too is studying the gaming scene. How different SEA is from Europe he can’t give a direct answer yet, but in the end, all gamers carry their passion no matter the regional characteristics. As he understands for now, the most readily obvious differences would be in the type of games and platforms played on. He’s slowly getting back into the groove of gaming and will continue to learn as he goes.
Gamescom Asia can be a good starting point for the region’s gaming scene to grow. Prakash also places importance on the local governments: how do they help developers to grow, how their products are marketed and so forth. Pockets of strong development have been appearing, so he thinks it’s just a matter of time a big player will rise to contend with the rest of the world.
While there’s nothing concrete he can divulge, Prakash encourages readers to keep an eye out for future announcements. They need time, and there’s often a lot of planning even close to expected deadlines. They want to create an atmosphere of fun that the world will join in with, and to grow the event into something much bigger. More news is likely to come out towards the end of the year as more pick up on the opportunity that Gamescom Asia can provide.
Whatever it is, there’s plenty of excitement in store for the future. Just hang in there, and the announcements will be made as time progresses. What are you hoping for?