The 2015 edition of G-Star kicked off last Thursday, with the largest number of participants in its 11-year history, but with the lowest attendance ever recorded. The four-day event features 633 game developers from 35 countries. The final visitor attendance tally for the public portion of the show was just 188,707. That might seem like a big number, but it’s actually the lowest attendance G-STAR has ever recorded.
The drop in the final tally is a bit of a surprise, although last Friday it was announced that the show had already experienced a 12 percent year-on-year attendance drop following its first public day. At the time, the event organizers speculated that the show opening on a Thursday (rather than a Saturday as it had last year) was the cause of the drop. But now, it appears the G-STAR organizers believe the drop was caused by the separation of the public and business aspects of the event this year.
It also didn’t help that the first two days of the conference overlapped with some important work for Korean high school students, which prevented many from attending.
And several high-profile domestic developers including NCsoft (only B2C hall), Neowiz, and Gamevil opted not to participate in this year’s G-STAR as a form of protesting the proposed 1% tax on South Korea’s video game industry. Even so, though, attendance at the business side of the conference apparently grew 66 percent this year, thanks in part to an influx of overseas exhibitors and participants.
Some companpies unveiled new products based on next-generation platforms like virtual reality (VR). Game developers such as Nvidia of the United States, Sony Entertainment Korea and Tokyo-based Korean developer Nexon ran their own demo zones to let visitors play games that integrate various VR devices. Nexon’s zone showcased MapleStory VR, which utilizes Oculus Rift, another wearable headset. NCsoft’s booth, only presence in the B2C hall, attracted a massive crowd wanting to demo its new online action role-playing game, Master X Master, which will be released early next year.