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2017-11-19 16:53
Female game fans crowd an Actoz Soft’s World E-sports Games & Leagues event for online shooter “Overwatch” during the G-Star 2017 game show in Busan, Thursday. / Korea Times photo by Yoon Sung-won

Gaming gear makers expanding presence at G-Star 2017

By Yoon Sung-won

BUSAN For those who prepare for an international game show, the decreasing presence of computer online games in Korea in recent years came as a major concern. It coincides with the explosive growth of the smartphone as a popular gaming platform.

Mobile games are easy to access regardless of time and space. But on the other hand, small screens of mobile devices are considered out of synch with the fancy atmosphere of game shows.

Netmarble Games, Korea’s top mobile game provider, showed mobile games can make a decent game show exhibition, attracting visitors with hands-on play opportunities of new games that had yet been released during last year’s G-Star.

This year, the most distinguishing change at the extensive hall of the BEXCO exhibition center, the main venue of G-Star, was the presence of an e-sport contest.

Under strong financial support from its parent company Wanda Group, Actoz Soft has set up massive exhibition booths decorated for the finals of its e-sports contest brand “World E-sports Games & Leagues (WEGL).”

Game companies such as Riot Games and NCSOFT had previously opened e-sports events for their computer online games “League of Legends” and “Blade & Soul” at the sidelines to the game show. But it was the first time for G-Star to have an e-sports contest on such a major scale inside its main venue.

Despite concerns, Actoz Soft succeeded in drawing large audiences to its e-sports contests, which consisted of diverse matches of games such as “Overwatch,” “StarCraft: Remastered,” “Hearthstone” and “Counter Strike: Global Offensive.”

Bluehole, parent company of provider of megahit shooter “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (PUBG), and its local distributing partner Kakao Games jointly opened an Asia Invitation event match for the game, also drawing a large audience.

One conspicuous change from previous years was a larger presence of female visitors to the games show, brought by e-sports contests and the fandom for popular professional gamers

“I visited G-Star 2017 particularly for these booths, I’m a great fan of Overwatch and PUBG, and it is great to watch my favorite pro players of both games in the flesh in one place,” said Kim Hee-won, a 21-year-old college student who visited Actoz Soft’s exhibition, Thursday.

With computer online games reclaiming their popularity through e-sports, computer gaming gear makers also expanded attractions for game users at this year’s G-Star.

Taiwanese computer maker ASUS, graphic technology provider Nvidia and gaming laptop and monitor manufacturer LG Electronics have set up exhibition booths and events themed with e-sports during the game show.

G-Star has had the bold goal of becoming a major international game show such as Tokyo Game Show in Japan, Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in the United States and Gamescom in Germany.

In offering more diverse entertainment as a game show, this year’s event is expected to be remembered as a move forward to the goal.

But still, the most advanced game shows around the world have always had participation of leading game firms both at home and abroad as well as being showcases for new game contents at their core. For this, the organizing committee seems to have much more room for improvement in its game shows for the years to come.


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