G-Star game fair kicks off in Busan for four days

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G-Star game fair kicks off in Busan for four days


Fans try out the latest games at the G-Star exhibition in Busan last year. [JoongAng Ilbo]

Korea is fully prepared to host its key game trade show in the southern port city of Busan this week and a record number of game developers and companies are set to attend, organizers said yesterday.

The G-Star Global Game Exhibition is scheduled to begin today for a four-day run with 434 game-related businesses from 31 countries taking part, according to the Korea Association of Game Industry and Busan IT Industry Promotion Agency.

Now in its eighth year, this year’s fair is the first to be organized independently of the government, and aims to draw avid gamers as well as bolster business-to-business deals as part of efforts to become one of the world’s three biggest game shows, they said.

While some big-name online game developers, such as NCsoft and CJ Entertainment & Media, are expected to miss out on this year’s event, a legion of prominent game houses from home and abroad will take part.

The list of attendees includes Korean game giant Nexon as well as U.S. and Japanese developers Blizzard Entertainment and Sega.

The number of participating mobile game developers is also higher than last year, mirroring their strong growth momentum backed by the country’s soaring smartphone penetration rate.

Korea’s smartphone subscriber base is estimated at roughly 30 million, or 60 percent of the total population, with handset makers scrambling to roll out high-end smartphones that are more compatible with mobile games.

In addition to mobile game houses such as Com2uS and Gamevil, SK planet, an affiliate of top mobile carrier SK Telecom, will also attend the Busan event as it moves to bolster its mobile game distribution platform.

Meanwhile, the organizers said they plan to hold various events - a job fair, seminars and investment meetings - on the sidelines of the exhibitions on online, console, arcade and board games.

Despite regulatory hurdles aimed at protecting adolescent gamers, Korea is home to one of the world’s most thriving game markets.

The 8.8 trillion won ($8.1 billion) local game industry is expected to top 10 trillion won this year and reach 15 trillion won by 2014, according to the data by the Korea Creative Contents Agency.

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