Animé? Check. A huge number of RPG games on display? Check. Super geeked out, women and men in cos-play as their favorite game characters? Check.
If you’re thinking about attending the G-Star Global Game Expo in the near future take a look at this first-timer’s guide. It has everything you need to know about the popular South Korea game conference that takes place every year at the end of November or early December.
G-Star is unique, but with similarities to other notable conferences. Imagine taking the E3 conference in Los Angeles, California and combining it with GamesCom in Cologne, Germany. But instead of your typical developers, you had a decidedly Korean game scene. Like many of the other gaming conferences, G-Star doesn’t hold back. One of the first thing you’ll notice upon arriving at the conference are the giant game banners decorating the outside of the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center, better known as the BEXCO Center where the G-Star Expo is held.
Once you enter the conference, it is obvious that Nexon, is a key player in the Korean games industry. Nexon, a huge publisher, has a substantial booth area and banner displays, and several hundred adoring fans crushing through their space. From PC to console to mobile games, Nexon has a growing influence that is going beyond Korean borders. Checkout their Hyper Universe (PC side-scrolling MOBA), Fantasy War Tactics (Mobile RPG), and H.I.T. Heroes of Incredible Tales (Mobile RPG) to get a nice flavor of the Korean fighting and role-playing genres. If you want to know what makes Korean gamers tick, Nexon is the gaming company you need to understand.
The G-Star Conference Environment
While G-star is a show for consumers, there is also a relatively large business-to-business (B2B) portion of the show that is closed to the public. This section of the show is in a completely separate 3-story expo building just across from the consumer show floor.
Unlike E3 and GamesCom which have a very limited mobile gaming business representation, G-Star has various mobile game developers. If you want to find all the up- and- coming Korean Indie developers, you’ll find them at the B2B section of the show. I was able to meet literally dozens of mobile game developers, big and small, and have very productive, impromptu introductory meetings with most of them. Of course, it’s always highly recommended to arrange meetings in advance of the show.
While there were western and non-Korean APAC region developers represented at the expo, the overwhelming majority of developers and publishers were Korean. It cannot be stressed enough that G-Star is THE show you should go to if you want to understand the Korean game scene and industry landscape.
With South Korea having the fourth largest annual games revenue by country at over $4 billion USD (source: http://www.newzoo.com/free/rankings/top-100-countries-by-game-revenues/) – with $1.6 billion from mobile games – the G-Star Expo has become one of the most important shows to attend for companies who want to understand and partner with the most influential gaming companies in Korea.
Getting on a plane to come to Korea is easy enough. Here are a few things you should know if you do make your way here next year. .
Things You Should Know about G-Star and Busan, South Korea