Did you go to the Games Convention Asia 2009 that took place at Suntec Convention Hall earlier this week? No? Well, you really didn’t miss much. I last attended GCA in ’07, and decided to give the ’08 event a miss due to scheduling conflicts. This year, I went past its Level 3 conference venue on my first pass and had to circle back; the crowds were that thin, and its signboards that inconspicuous.
Besides the recession, GCA 2009’s close proximity to next week’s Tokyo Game Show was also blamed for the poor turnout (at least on Day 2) of the event. I certainly hope this isn’t a sign of the much-vaunted gaming industry in Singapore – MDA wouldn’t be too pleased.
The business exhibition appeared almost sorry, having been constrained to a single alley of booths on the far side of Suntec Convention Level 4. I saw few new exhibitors (beyond a mobile payment company from Europe), and plenty of the usual suspects. Earlier, IDA and MDA had jointly launched Game Box, a 1-year pilot initiative to promote awareness of Made-in-Singapore game titles and enable game developers to test and gather feedback for their game prototypes. MDA probably also timed its funding of Razer’s IDM Lab with a joint investment between both entities to the tune of US$20 million for the show. Without these, GCA ’09 would not have much else left to shout about.
Let’s hope the show organisers can turn GCA around next year!