After having attended this year’s Esports and Gaming Summit, an event with a tagline that claims it to be one of the biggest gaming events in Southeast Asia, I can honestly say that the event needs to have a new name.
For those who are unfamiliar with ESGS or the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit, the event is the brainchild of Joebert Yu, head of Gariath Concepts. The event is made to let attendees experience some of the newer trends or latest advancements in gaming while simultaneously letting them be spectators to thrilling esports competitions, but having attended the event against this year, I concluded, that from my experiences, that this wasn’t precisely accurate and in this review of ESGS 2017 I’ll let you find out the very reasons as to why I think ESGS needs to have a new name.
How the event is laid out
Let’s kick this review off by discussing the layout of the event. Similar to previous iterations, ESGS this year was held in SM Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Center, where this year it occupied three of the four halls available in the convention center’s first floor. Over the years, SMX has become one of the most popular venues for hosting events. Not only is it spacious and accommodating, it’s also incredibly convenient as an event venue because of the numerous lodging options available nearby as well as having one of the largest malls in the Philippines nearby that offers one of the widest ranges of dining and entertainment options for those who are looking to take a break from the event.
In terms of the event’s floor plan, the organizers did a better job this year in maximizing the available space. This is most evident in the increased number of booths present in this year’s iteration with the main attractions being sufficiently sized, while not being overbearingly overpowering. The only exception to this was probably the PlayStation booth, which was probably the largest and was by far the most attractive booth present.
A notable implementation in the PlayStation booth that I liked was their wise use of elevation in order to better maximize the space provided to them. The use of elevation was also present in the production area which I believe also helped with maximizing space. Lastly, while the main stage did appear to be smaller this year, I believe that this complemented its neighboring booths and made them overall more attractive and noticeable for attendees.
If there are any improvements I would like to see in future iterations of the event, it would be a minor one and a general criticism that targets all conventions and events in general. I spent a vast majority of my time walking and going around the venue, and save for a limited number of seats near the main stage, there weren’t many places to sit down and rest my feet within the venue itself when I got tired. However, what ESGS this year did better than many other events was that some of the food stalls had seats or even had some tables for people to dine in. Should the organizers consider dedicating a portion of the venue for a dining area in next year’s ESGS, I believe that would be massively convenient for many event goers.
Overall I would still commend the organizers for their excellently efficient use of the area they had to work with. I believed last year’s layout was the best from any convention or event I had attended, but the organizers once again pushed the bar and improved once again in this category.
The Event Flow and Production Value
I believe one of the most important factors in any event is the flow and the production. By my personal definition, this category includes how well the organizers manage lines, how smoothly the program goes, and the quality of production present in the event.
A massive improvement over last year was the line management. There was practically little to no hassle when it came to the lines. For those who already had tickets on hand, I observed that they had little to no wait time in order to get inside the event in comparison to last year where some people who had pre-purchased still had to wait a while outside the SMX Convention Center before getting in. On the other hand, purchasing tickets on site was a lot smoother in comparison to last year. While there were lines present in terms of this, the staff in charge of this handled it smoothly enough in order to reduce attendee wait time as much as possible.
Now, talking about the program flow and production value. While I did hear that the event ran into some hiccups and technical issues early during the first day, the problems were to my knowledge resolved as quick as possible and to the best of the organizers’ capabilities. With the technical issues of the first day resolved, the second and third day went much more smoothly and with little to no issue remaining. The program on the main stage, of which one of the hosts was MineskiTV’s Erika Mei “Aki” Ilar, was in general smoothly transitioned from segment to segment with virtually no dead air. I’d say that it was more successful than last year’s program considering that the main stage pretty much always had an audience spectating the program. Elsewhere, MineskiTV talents Manjean “Manjean” Faldas, Darwell “Asurai” Llerena, Rikki “Riku” Quiapon, Adrian Frias “Butters” Jison, Caisam “Wolf” Nopueto, and Koleen “Een” Mercado, in addition to the popular host Eri Neeman and various other hosts and casters would do an excellent job drawing crowds whenever they’d cast games or host segments in their respective booths.
If you’ve managed to read up until this part, you’re pretty close to finding out the reason why I claim that ESGS probably needs a new name, and the content present in the event plays a big part in molding my thinking.
In part because of the increased number of booths present in the event, one would expect more content and activities for the attendees to enjoy. And it damn right delivered in this regard because ESGS 2017 was practically bursting with a wide variety of activities and content that from my observations, most of the attendees I saw definitely did enjoy!
From the moment you enter the halls where ESGS was being held, you’re greeted by the PlayStation booth, probably the biggest booth in the entire venue and a marvelous sight to behold. There one could try out a good selection of both the latest games as well upcoming titles, such as Call of Duty: World War 2, Final Fantasy Dissidia NT, Dragon Ball FighterZ, as well as exciting racing simulation and virtual reality games. To the right as soon as you enter the venue would be the HyperX booth, where one could play games in addition to purchasing some of their peripherals offered at a discounted value if you’re one of the early birds in the event.
Besides the Just Dance booth, which my peers and everyone who I’ve spoken to regarding the event has probably heard me mention how it’s my favorite booth and the one I looked most forward to, another area which caught my interest was the merchandise being sold. The most notable one among these for me is the Long Live Play PH booth which sells a wide range of items from figurines to plushies, and my personal favorite, replicas of weapons from games, anime, and pop culture. It was from Long Live Play PH that I purchased my very first lightsaber, which I proudly say is one of the best purchases I’ve made in my life.
The GDAP area showcased the different universities’ and their students’ advancements in the field of gaming-related activities. From the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde’s showcase of student made games, to the De La Salle University – Manila and Laguna campuses offering of courses specialized for future professions in the gaming industry, to the Asia Pacific College’s showcase of robots programmed by the students, this particular area of ESGS not only offered entertainment, but a possible look at what could be the future of the local game development and gaming industry as universities offer courses that can aid youths aspiring for a career within it.
As I explored the different attractions, be it some of the latest games or the latest tech offered to me and my fellow attendees in ESGS, I gained a greater appreciation of certain aspects of the event that I did not otherwise appreciate as much in previous ESGS events hosted while noticing new attractions as well that made me reflect on the event’s evolution.
My reflections lead me to think of this radical notion that ESGS has evolved past its current name. That Joebert Yu, with the help of the Mineski Events Team, all of the gaming brands who graced his event, and everyone working hard in the frontlines and behind the scenes who helped make it possible, has pushed the boundaries past this event being just being your typical gaming-themed event that showcases some esports competitions to thrill spectators. At its very core, the event still lives up to the primary focus on esports and gaming, but the new addition of featuring gunpla, more card and board games, and more merchandise related to pop culture, anime, and gaming has pushed ESGS into evolving from its humble beginnings of catering primarily to gamers into an event that caters to a wider audience: I’d say it has improved and evolved into a haven for the geeky and enthusiasts of geek culture — a necessary building block in my opinion in order to achieve the goal of bringing esports into mainstream acceptance here in the Philippines.
Considering that ESGS this year has offered so much more than what its name of esports and gaming says, they should probably change the event’s name to something that reflects its evolution into a geek’s paradise.
Overall, I would say that my experience during ESGS 2017 was an extremely enjoyable one. Last year I stated in a status on my Facebook account that ESGS 2016 was not only my favorite ESGS, but the best event that I had attended at that point in time. For a gaming event, it was as close to perfection as possible for me.
While a perfect event is more of an ideal to strive towards than a possible goal for me, ESGS 2017 was a giant leap towards an event organized in the Philippines that could be considered perfect and in my opinion has pushed the bar to become the new standard by which I measure not just future gaming events, but pretty much all events I’ll be reviewing in the future.
I’d like to congratulate sir Joebert Yu and the people he’s worked with in making this event possible for a job that was not just well done, but done excellently. And while I sincerely think that they have made gaming great again with this event, I’m looking forward to their future projects and what they’ll come up with in order to take gaming events to even greater heights.