BUSAN, South Korea – Over the past year, the sight of commuters and pedestrians engrossed in the latest smartphone games on their mobile phones has become increasingly commonplace in Korea. Accordingly, this year’s G*STAR, Korea’s largest international game show and trade fair, saw a greater emphasis on mobile games.
Last year’s convention saw a single booth for mobile games, manned by game developer Com2uS. This year, Com2uS was joined by top-two domestic game developer Gamevil as well as Sunday Toz, makers of recent hit game Anipang (currently played by over 20 million users nationwide), and WeMade, creators of the popular Legend of Mir online role-playing-game series.
Mobile platform developers such as SK Planet, which manages the mobile application and content marketplace T store, and KakaoTalk provider Kakao Corp., also took part in the convention.
This year’s keyword in the gaming industry is definitely âmobile,’ said a Com2uS representative at a press conference during the event. Mobile games can be easily enjoyed by anyone, male or female, young or old — this accessibility is the genre’s greatest strength.
In line with this shift (from online to mobile), the size of the mobile game booth area at this year’s convention was double that of the space allotted for online games. Notably, game developers have been taking the lead in the transition, with companies like WeMade, which began focusing on going mobile in 2009, currently counting over 500 people in its mobile development department. NCSoft, developer of popular online games such as Guild Wars, also announced during G*STAR 2012 its plans to transition to mobile games in 2013.
This year’s G*STAR 2012, which ran from November 8 to 11 at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO), also saw the volume of export contracts increase by over half compared to last year. In the B2B (Business to Business) hall, where foreign buyers can meet directly with various suppliers, an estimated USD 148 million in export sales was secured during the four days of the event (compared to approximately USD 99 million last year).
Event organizer Korea Association of Game Industry (KAOGI) also reported that the number of total visitors, including visitors to the B2C (Business to Consumer) hall, was up from last year, clocking in at over 296,000 people (compared to less than 290,000 last year).
The key factor behind the success of G*STAR 2012 was our attitude of consideration for the customers, said KAOGI chairman Choi Kwan-ho. We will work to further develop G*STAR and take it beyond Asia to the global market.
G*STAR, short for Game Show & Trading, All-Round, is Korea’s largest game exhibition and trade fair. Launched in 2005 in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Busan Metropolitan City, the event is now managed by KAOGI and Busan IT Industry Promotion Agency. This year’s event saw participation by over 400 companies from 31 countries. G*STAR is expected to grow in the coming years and join the ranks of such international events as Germany’s Gamescom, America’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), and Japan’s Tokyo Game Show.
More information on G*STAR can be found at the official website: www.gstar.or.kr/eng/index.asp.