Korean game expo has fewer vendors

Game Show and Trade All Round, or Gstar, the largest game expo in Korea, kicks off today. This year the show focuses on online and mobile games.
A huge illegal gambling scandal that erupted around computer slot machines sharply cut the number of arcade vendors participating in this year’s show. Meanwhile, both Nintendo and Sony snubbed Gstar, after displaying their new game consoles at the Tokyo Game Show last month.
Only a few international companies are part of the game exhibition, including Vivendi Games, Microsoft Korea and Ubifrance.
Unlike other international game shows, which serve more as trade venues for business people, Gstar attracts throngs of actual game enthusiasts. Statistics from last year show that students made up 35 percent of participants, followed by game developers at 13 percent.
Because the show has been criticized in the past for its vague identity, firms are focusing this year on local game players and the huge domestic gaming market. In the spotlight are games that may have been introduced at foreign game shows or released in foreign markets, but not yet in Korea. In previous Gstar shows, game makers exhibited games that were already released, making people question the worth of the show itself.
Major Korean game developers NCsoft, Nexon, Neowiz, Webzen and Hanbit Soft all have plans to give Korean gamers something new.
The four-day event will also include a second Superfight session hosted by CJ Media, where individual professional StarCraft players are selected to battle each other one-on-one. Gstar also has an “education pavilion” with 18 participating institutions as well as booths of companies that create basic parts and devices for game equipment and accessories. Conferences and seminars on games, a music concert, a costume play and game-related conferences are also planned.
by Wohn Dong-hee

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