Last weekend, I zoomed over to the SMX Convention Center first thing in the morning in order to cover at least one day of the E-sports and Gaming Summit 2015 (ESGS 2015). I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of a convention specifically targeted towards a demographic of the gaming community, specifically a group that I wasn’t familiar with at all (aka, E-sports). Nevertheless, in spite of a few hitches, I can’t say that I regret going.
Saturday morning was the roughest part on my end. The side events that were supposed to take place in the morning and early afternoon – Sony Playstation and AOC/Philips – simply didn’t happen, and media partners like me weren’t actually informed of the changes until late the other night and on the morning of the convention itself. To add insult to injury, there appeared to be a bit of a mix-up regarding side events and media partner participation during the convention itself. I’ll admit that this left a pretty bad impression on me at the beginning. What curtailed this was the fact that the volunteers for the convention were quite organized, and every OTHER aspect of ESGS 2015 went on just fine. From the looks of it, the thrills, chills, and spills of the morning were things that weren’t entirely in their control.
I can’t give everyone a lot of details on how the competitions like Brawlfest 2015 went down (best to look through our other articles for that!), but what I can say is that ESGS 2015 was a great look at the future of gaming in our country – and that future, on several fronts, looks pretty bright. Most of the booths were dedicated towards showcasing our homegrown industries and local branches of international companies. There were a number of booths with merchandise, and a few more dedicated to the Computer Science and Game Design-related courses from our universities. A number of cosplayers were also around to add a bit of color to the scenery, and there were tons of freebies up in the wings for the folks who dropped in on the premise of trying out some of the demos they had for the crowd.
The impression that I’m getting is that the majority of our local talent is dedicated towards developing mobile apps and PC games, and I’ll have to say that based on what I saw last weekend, we’re damned good at what we do. Nightfall, for example, is the first survival horror computer game produced by local talent: you can check it out for yourself on Steam. Wild Season, produced by Quickfire Games, is a Harvest Moon inspired game with a couple of unique twists. Synergy88 Studios also had a corner of the convention area to themselves where they were showing off their motion capture software (they’re the first local company with the tech) and KUNA, a horror game that utilizes the Oculus Rift.
Yep, you read that right: a horror game that utilizes the Oculus Rift. Best/worst combination ever, as I’m sure the people who tried the demo out will agree.
On the more global scale, there was also Ubisoft’s booth to consider, something that was of special interest to me given the fact that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was released just this October 23. (I played the demo, btw. It was awesome. We can all forget the nightmare that was Unity now, thanks.) Ubisoft was also around ESGS 2105 in order to receive any CVs from local game designers, artists, and project managers. Their presence confirms a rumor that was circulating around the internet about major game companies taking an interest in establishing bases in the Philippines. How this might change the industry is yet to be seen, but I certainly find the prospect exciting.
If there is one thing that I would have really liked to see during the next ESGS, it would have been seminars and panel discussions. Call me a massive academic nerd, but conventions like this are a great venue not just for showcasing talent, but also for discussing pertinent matters in the gaming and game development community. There’s always a lot of interest about how the industry is doing on our shores, but not a lot of answers for those of us who bother asking questions. I do hope that they’ll take this into consideration.
Our Twitter and Instagram accounts have a number of pictures of the event for those interested. We’re all quite happy about the fact that we were invited to cover the event, and we’re looking forward to seeing how ESGS does next year!