The story behind Starcraft booming in S.Korea and eSports.
Gstar2012 was held from the 8th to 11th of November at Bexco, Busan with 190,000 visitors. Gstar2012 was special because it is hosted by Korea Association of Game Industry instead of KOCCA(Korea Creative Contents Agency, which is a government organization. Let’s find out what achievements Gstar2012 has accomplished.
New venue for B2B
B2B area for Gstar2011 was inconvenience because it is split into several areas. With the completion of the 2nd Exhibit hall, B2B area for Gstar2012 was as good as it gets. Even though B2B schedule was shorten to 3 days from 4 days, the number of business meeting that was held during the event has been increased about 49% with the total number of 167. More than 50% of companies were from abroad as well as the number of buyers from abroad has been increased more than 100%.
Gstar2012 recorded 190,353 visitors for 4 days, which is 30% down from the last year’s record, 290,000. The reason is that the organization has changed the counting method. Gstar counted visitors one time only instead of counting them based on the visiting number.
Mobile for the win
Mobile games were very popular at Gstar2012. Many mobile game companies were presented include Com2uS and Gamevil. T-store, an open market from SK Telecom, also presented the large scale B2C booth for the first time. Nowcom and Wemade introduced a series of mobile game aggressively.
On the other hand, giants client based online game developers such as NCsoft, Webzen, Hanbitsoft, Mgame did not participate in Gstar2012. Mabinogi2: ARENA from Nexon, BLESS from Neowiz, Icarus from Wemade, Red Gems 2 from L&K Logic Korea were MMORPGs that we could find at Gstar2012. As a foreign company, Nintendo & War Gaming presented the large scale booths.
The place for Gstar2013
The contract with Busan was closed. Therefore, the organization will select the new host city for Gstar2013 during the early next year.
The result of our Gstar2012 survey
We asked a series of questions to 833 visitors. The below is the result.
Most wanted B2C booth – Nexon
66.8% of people who took part in the survey said Nexon B2C booth was the best Nexon presented Warface, Pro Baseball 2K, Mabinogi2:Arena, FIFA Online 3, Counter Strike Online 2. . The 2nd and the 3rd were Blizzard with Starcraft2: The Heart of the Swarm and Neowiz with BLESS.
Most visited B2C booth – Nexon
Booths on the left side were took #1, 2, 3. Nexon took the 1st while Blizzard and Gamevil took the 2nd and the 3rd.
Most cool exterior – Blizzard
Blizzard booth was favored by 51.3% people as the most cool booth exterior followed by Nexon, Neowiz and War Gaming.
Most wanted Game – Mabinogi 2
Mabinogi 2 was selected as the most wanted game at Gstar2012. The 2nd was Starcraft2: The Heart of the Swarm.
Most satisfied game – Dungeon Striker
124 out of 139 people selected. Dungeon Striker from NHN as the most satisfied game after playing. FIFA Online 3 was the 2nd best.
Most wanted game to play again – FIFA Online 3
77.5% of people chose FIFA Online 3 as the most wanted game to play again. Starcraft2: The Heart of the Swarm was the 2nd with 70.3% chose.
KeSPA(Korean e-Sports Association) announced they will not join GSL Season 4 Code A qualifier.
GOM TV, the host of GSL (Global Starcraft2 League), asked KeSPA whether they will join or not during the last season as well. At that time, they said their team and pro-gamers are not ready enough for competing and need more time. However, they rejected to join this season again.
GOM TV, KeSPA and Blizzard were held the day of the vision declaration, which they said they will unite separated Korean e-Sports scenes into one and cooperate to improve e-Sports. It seems it was an empty promise after all.
GOM TV told “We will open the registration for GSL Season 4 Code A qualifier from the 24th of August as we planned”. It seems the decision from KeSPA could break the reconciliation mood between GOM TV and KeSPA.
Fans have gone crazy to watch during last WCS matches as well as Cross matches, which were the events that KeSPA and GSL pro-gamers are all competing together. Because GSL pro-gamers participate in StarLeague from Ongamenet, fans expect KeSPA pro-gamers will be presented at the next GSL season.
However, the decision from KeSPA is pouring the ice cold water over Starcraft2 fans again. KeSPA boycotted MSL in 2007 and made GOM TV Classic Starcraft League closed in 2008, and 2009 by not allowing their pro-gamers to participate in the league.
GOM TV is very disappointed and they will announce their stance very soon. A staff from Blizzard Korea also said “We are disconcerted by KeSPA’s sudden announcement. We will look over it and make an announcement by tomorrow”.
Chinese 2012 was held last week. So many Chinese online games was introduced to gamers. We have picked a few pictures from Chinajoy 2012. All of them were taken from foreign booths.
Chinajoy 2012 at Shanghai international Expo center
B2C Booth of Chinajoy 2012
John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment, with Soon-woo Park, CEO of The9 Korea at Planetside 2 booth
Planetside2 20vs20vs20 PvP booth
World of Warcraft: Mist of Pandaria booth
Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm booth
Blizzard’s Panda folding fan was very popular