[THE INVESTOR] Around this time every year, local game lovers as well as those from overseas ready themselves to make a trip to Busan to attend Korea’s largest game trade show G-Star.
The game exhibition, which takes place on every third Thursday of November, right after the nationwide university entrance exam, draws lots of high school students who are no longer under pressure to study.
Global game giants also gear up to show off their flagship game titles, embracing cutting-edge technologies and splendid visual effects. For independent game firms and individual developers, the G-Star game show is a chance to introduce their games, which could look relatively clumsy for some but are often equally enjoyable as their high-end peers.
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The latest edition of G-Star, to be held at exhibition center Bexco on Nov. 15-18, is expected to be a battlefield for survival game titles, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” of Korean game firm PUBG and US game firm Epic Games’ “Fortnite,” in particular.
Epic Games is the first non-Korean game company that will be the main sponsor of the annual trade show. It will occupy 100 booths at the exhibition center to allow visitors to play “Fortnite” with different types of devices, including PCs, Play Station game console and smartphones.
“In the past, Epic Games took part in the game show only to meet business partners. This year’s G-Star will be especially memorable for us as we will meet gamers in person,” said Park Sung-chul, head of the Korean office of the company, in a press conference held earlier this month.
The company has joined forces with Samsung Electronics to promote the mobile version of “Fortnite,” in which 100 players need to survive on an island to become the last one standing.
Pangyo-based PUBG, which will set up 100 booths for experience zones and promotional events, will hold a competition along with network operator KT, to pick Korean players who will get the opportunity to attend a global league next year for its popular battle royale game “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”
It will also invite some celebrities, who are fans of the game, and influencers to entertain visitors through different events.
Tokyo-headquartered game giant Nexon will once again have the largest presence at the game fair with 628 smartphones and PCs at its exhibition booth.
Among the 14 new game titles the company plans to showcase are the so-called “high-end” massively multiplayer online role-playing game “Traha,” in which players can choose to play a hero belonging to one of two warring kingdoms, and “The Kingdom of the Winds: Yeon,” a mobile sequel of 22-year-old PC game “The Kingdome of the Winds,” which features fictitious stories of three ancient kingdoms. Other Nexon games to be unveiled at G-Star 2018 include “Mabinogi Mobile,” “TalesWeaver M” and “Ascendant One.”
Cloud services companies like SK C&C Holdings, game publisher Kakao Games, graphic chip company NVidia, and application platform operator Google Play are some of the other confirmed participants.
At its exhibition booths, Kakao Games will highlight popular games on its game platform, including the PC version of “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and racing game “Friend’s Racing” -- which features mobile messenger Kakao’s iconic Friends mobile emoticons. It will also run a store for character goods and an artificial intelligence-enabled photo booth.
By Kim Young-won (email@example.com)