The third chapter of Southeast Asia’s premier game convention, GameStart 2016, ended on a high note on Sunday evening after three days of non-stop gaming action came to a close.
Held from 7 to 9 October at Suntec Convention Centre Hall 405 and 506, GameStart 2016 saw over 20,000 enthusiastic visitors file through the halls to experience the exhilarating game demos from local and overseas developers, outstanding musical performances and cosplay showings, and thrilling eSports battles among many other activities on the showfloor
The first 300 visitors daily received a ‘Random Loot’ bag containing valuable swag like gaming peripherals from Armaggeddon and Razer, high-end storage devices from Seagate, gaming merchandise from Bandai Namco Entertainment, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Ingram Micro Asia and more.
There were activities for everyone, like The Quest, where each visitor received a Quest Card and a mission to complete various quests around the showfloor before heading to the Armaggeddon booth to claim their prizes. The daily GameStart lucky draw also gave out epic prizes to lucky GameStart 2016 visitors, with some walking away with loot like a Secretlab Omega gaming chair, MSI notebook, Xbox One console, Seagate storage devices and a ViewSonic gaming monitor.
GameStart organiser, and Director of Eliphant Pte. Ltd, Elicia Lee said, “The Quest and daily lucky draws were big crowd pleasers in our first convention and fans actually requested we bring them back again. The response was great, and we’ll be making them a permanent fixture of the event from now.”
Those roaming the showfloor were also treated to extensive game previews for soon-to-be-released titles like the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy XV, Gears of War 4 and Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, alongside new titles like Tales of Berseria and NBA 2K17, among many others. Local developer talents like XII Braves and Witching Hour Studios had a strong showing with their games Valiant Force and Masquerada respectively, while other independent developers in the Founders Base area were given their moments to shine too.In line with GameStart’s goal of supporting local and regional indie developers, the inaugural GameStart Indie Awards saw Another Indie (China) take home the Visitor’s Choice award and Gattai Games (Singapore) the Judge’s Choice award. Each company wins a paid trip to exhibit at Taipei Game Show 2017, which is a partner event.
Another successful partnership for this year, the Doujin Market area was a popular spot in the venue, with many visitors checking out and purchasing prints and crafted items from the 25 artists that exhibited there.
Battle of the Best – eSports
Reflecting the burgeoning eSports scene, competitive gaming was in full force at GameStart this year, with a diverse range of tournaments from across the genre spectrum. This year’s show saw popular fighting games like Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Xrd –REVELATOR– and red-hot first-person shooters like Overwatch take centre stage alongside newly released titles like FIFA 17.
GameStart 2016 played host to the region’s largest fighting game tournament – South East Asia Major (SEAM) 2016, which saw players and icons from around the world, fly in to attend. Massive crowds gathered at Presenting Sponsor PlayStation’s booth to catch the nail-biting Street Fighter V action from global icons like Mike Ross, Gootecks, INFILTRATION and Singapore’s very own hero, Xian. To deafening cheers from the crowd, Tokido emerged victorious in the Street Fighter V Capcom Pro Tour Premier after an intense battle with 2014 Capcom Cup champion Momochi, and walked away with a coveted spot to compete in the Capcom Cup 2016 in California, USA later this year. The winner of the inaugural PS4 SFV Asia Amateur Tournament was Verloren from Korea. Executive Producer for Street Fighter, Ono Yoshinori, was on site to give out the prizes to the winners.
“Our long term plan is to build and nurture a community of next-generation gamers in the region. The quality of the amateur gamers and participation from gamers from five countries at GameStart 2016 is highly encouraging and an assurance that there is great potential regionally in e-sports and competitive gaming,” said Mr. Hidetoshi Takigawa, Southeast Asia Regional Head of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “We are excited to see how the community grows and to bring about more opportunities for amateur gamers in Southeast Asia.”
Making their debut appearance at GameStart Asia, Mike Ross and Gootecks hosted and commentated through the Street Fighter V matches. “Every match I’ve seen from both the Capcom Pro Tour and the Amateur tournaments in GameStart 2016 has been really strong, and it speaks volume of the overall level of players here in Asia,” said Gootecks, when asked to share his thoughts of the tournaments. He cheekily adds, “Everyone’s a killer here.”
Michael Murray from the Bandai Namco Entertainment Tekken team was also present to announce a new character, Miguel, for Tekken 7 and give out prize to Meat (Indonesia), the winner of the Singapore qualifier for the Tekken 7 King of the Iron Fist tournament. Other tournament winners included Daru-Ino (Korea) for Guilty Gear Xrd –REVELATOR–, who will proceed to compete in the Arc Revolution Cup in Toushinsai, in Japan, at the end of the year, and IPT.Alden (Philippines), who brought home the championship spot for Blazblue: Central Fiction.
The hottest first-person shooting game at the moment, Overwatch, also saw a horde of spectators from the showfloor tuning in to see the best teams duke it out. It culminated in a thrilling clash between Avalon.Tempo and the Singapore Blizzcon representative team, UE..Závazek, before the former claimed the top spot, bagging $2,000 cash from presenting sponsor MyRepublic GAMER, Armaggeddon keyboards and official Overwatch merchandise
Xbox’s first attendance of the show not only saw snaking queues for Gears of War 4, but was also marked with Singapore’s biggest FIFA 17 tournament, GameStart Championship Cup, attracting a big turnout of soccer fans flocking to catch the best FIFA players outplay each other on the virtual pitch. Muhamad Ashrul Bin Noor Muhammad was crowned champion of the 1v1 tournament and won $1,000 cash, an Xbox One console and a 27 inch monitor from ViewSonic.
“At GameStart Asia 2016, we witnessed the gaming community in Singapore and across South East Asia come together like never before, thanks to engaging show-wide activities like the GameStart Championship Cup, and the opportunity to be immersed in the latest and greatest games on Xbox and Windows 10 such as Gears of Wars 4, Forza Horizon 3, and more,” said Chris Goh, Senior Category Manager, Xbox and Windows Gaming, Microsoft Singapore. “At Xbox, we have a vision where the PC and console gaming ecosystems come together, to let you play the games you want, with who you want, on the devices you want.”
Costumes, gear and more
Cosplayers turned up in full force dressed as their favourite characters, with Overwatch characters being a crowd favourite. World-renowned cosplayers Lady Jaded, Okageo and Miu, were also present at GameStart 2016 as judges for the annual Game On! Cosplay Runway. After a spectacular show, Danniel Adi Putera won the judges over with his phenomenal take on Junkrat from Overwatch, earning the title of Best in Show and swag from Seagate, Xmashed Gear and Lunar Works.
Gaming fans eagerly snapped up the merchandise that was available on the convention floor, including fan art from the Liongeeks booth, t-shirts from Xmashed Gear and other gaming-related items from Toy or Game.
“We are absolutely delighted with the response to GameStart 2016 and humbled by the support of our exhibitors, partners, sponsors and most of all, the throngs of gaming fans who turned up. We really have an awesome gaming community here in Asia, and this show could not have been possible without the backing of everyone involved.” said Elicia. “We are definitely pumped and determined to make future editions of the event even better each time.”
About GameStart Asia
GameStart is Southeast Asia’s premier gaming convention. Organised by industry veterans who are avid gamers, GameStart seeks to bring everything gaming-related to audiences in Singapore and Asia. From game previews, eSports tournaments to cosplay competitions, GameStart is the place to be if you love video games. The convention has seen an increasing numbers of visitors since the inaugural event in 2014, including visitors from around the region.