G-Star 2014 powering up in Busan

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G-Star 2014 powering up in Busan


Visitors crowd into NCSoft’s booth Thursday on the opening day of G-Star 2014 at Bexco in Busan. According to the organizer, a record number of game companies are participating in the fourth-largest game exhibition. [NEWSIS]

G-Star 2014, the world’s fourth-largest game exhibition and Korea’s largest, kicked off on Thursday at Bexco in Busan under the slogan “Game Is Not Over.”

The 10th anniversary of the annual game show drew 617 game companies from 35 countries, a record number of participants.

This year also had another record - 1,397 booths were set up in the 26,000-square-meter (280,000-square-foot) hall. Last year, there were 1,235 booths.

“Thanks to the active participation of game companies this year, the registration finished earlier than expected,” said a spokesperson for the Korea Internet Digital Entertainment Association (K-Idea), an organizer of G-Star. “We will do our best to provide a more pleasant environment for visitors and a place for companies to trade freely until the end of the show.”

K-Idea predicted the number of visitors this year will exceed 200,000 and could surpass the Tokyo Game Show, the world’s third largest, which draws about 220,000 visitors.

G-Star, which stands for Game Show and Trade All-Round, was created in 2004 as the first joint project by the former Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the former Ministry of Information and Communication to foster digital and cultural content.

Korean companies like Nexon, NCSoft, Gravity, Webzen, Windy Soft and NHN, as well as foreign players Sony, Sega, Intel and Konami, established exhibition booths in the B2C and B2B exhibition halls. This year, NCSoft, Nexon and XL Games are attracting global attention as they release new large-scale online games.

NCSoft, a leading Korea-based online game company, is introducing Lineage Eternal and Project Hon. At the exhibition booth, about 100 people will be able to try their hand at Lineage Eternal.

For Project Hon, NCSoft prepared a CGV Screen X theater at the exhibition with 100 seats to show a Project Hon video.

Its local competitor and largest stakeholder, Nexon, is introducing four online games: Maple Story 2; Sudden Attack 2; first-person shooter (FPS) game Ghost in the Shell Online, which is based on a Japanese animation and 3-D cartoon rendering; and the role-playing game Peria Chronicles.

Smile Gate, another Korea-based online game company that has been growing rapidly overseas with its FPS game Cross Fire, is introducing Lost Ark, another role-playing game that has been in development for three years.

Participants of G-Star also introduced new mobile games.

NCSoft launched a mobile version of Blade & Soul called B&S Mobile, Aion Legions, which used the intellectual property of Aion, and the casual mobile game Fashion Street.

Ntreeve Soft, a subsidiary of NCSoft, is launching new games Project H2, Be the Summoner and Pangya Mobile.

Nexon is introducing six mobile games, including the trading card game Mabinogi Duel, Durango and Pretta.

NHN Entertainment will introduce different mobile games each day throughout G-Star, which runs through Sunday.

On the first day, it introduced Help Me Jack, a mobile action game, which combined adventure and lively hack and slash game style.

At the B2B Hall, which is exclusive for businesses and buyers, Naver, NHN, Nexon, Neowiz, Gamevil, Come2uS, Tencent and many others occupied the booths early on.

In the mobile game sector, in particular, Chinese companies such as Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu will likely compete over platforms.

Meanwhile, prior to the opening of G-Star 2014, the Busan mayor announced his opposition to game regulation.

“The game industry has boomed in Busan and it plays a significant role in leading the Korean economy,” said Suh Byung-soo. “In order for the success of G-Star 2014, I will spare no effort and support.

“I oppose the various government regulations on online games that will hinder the development of the game industry. Busan City will spare no administrative effort to actively support the development of cultural business as a friend of game industry.”

In addition, K-Idea said that in order for the G-Star to become a worldwide exhibition beyond Asia, it is signing a memorandum of understanding with one of the top three game shows, Gamescom, for strategic partnership.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON [kjy@joongang.co.kr]
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