Organisers of the Games Market Bootcamp decided to take the leap and organise a hybrid version to enable the games community to meet-in-person despite a very short lead time.
The Games Market Bootcamp digital miniseries was created as a virtual offering to keep the global video games industry connected during this pandemic, especially since major gaming events around the world were unable to take place in 2020, including gamescom asia’s very own main event that was to debut in Singapore in October 2020.
The Games Market Bootcamps are monthly virtual webinars that focus on a different video games market (country) in Asia-Pacific. Each month, the series covers a fast-growing, yet under-explored games market in the region to give the global community an insider look into the country’s market situation, gamer behaviour, trends and untapped opportunities and governmental support & initiatives.
The countries covered/to be covered are: Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Prior to the Singapore event, two episodes on Philippines and Indonesia took place virtually in October 2020 and November 2020 respectively.
Suppered by new regulations announced by the Singapore government that allowed an increase in attendees for business events up to 250 pax, organisers decided to hold the third episode of the bootcamps as a hybrid event.
Other reasons included that the main gamescom asia event’s host country is Singapore, and organisers wanted to co-locate an event with the upcoming Singapore Media Festival to showcase Singapore’s homegrown talent in video games.
Organisers decided on holding the event at Suntec’s Hall 406, which had been set up as a hybrid studio that could accommodate up to 120 pax.
Adhering to strict regulations, attendees had to be zoned in five cohorts of 20 pax with five persons per table in each cohort. Furthermore, attendees could only mingle within their assigned cohort.
The whole event was to take place physically and cross-streamed virtually simultaneously. Local speakers would be invited to present in-person at Suntec, while organisers arranged for overseas speakers to dial in on-site and put on the big screen.
The objective was to allow engagement between the physical segments and online segments through the deployment of various tools, as opposed to simply streaming it online.
Organisers managed to successfully switch between live, in-person stage presentations, to online broadcasts, then back to in-person by working very closely between Suntec’s appointed production team – Unearthed Productions, and virtual platform provider Tulula.
This event brought back the Singapore videogames industry together for the first time in almost a year. Live attendees were elated to meet friends and colleagues in person again – although in cohorts of 20 pax and with Safe Management Measures in place.
Meanwhile, international attendees got a glimpse of Singapore’s bustling videogames market and community, as well as the country’s successful management of Covid-19. This provided trust and confidence that live events can happen in Singapore, in a slow, safe and calibrated manner.
There were only two weeks to attain approval from the Singapore Tourism Board and Ministry of Trade and Industry to hold the bootcamp as a physical event as well as to convert the episode from the initially planned digital format to a hybrid one.
Attendees also had to undergo three levels of checks, 1) to verify that they were an attendee of an event at Suntec (venue regulations), 2) Temperature taking and TraceTogether scanning (TraceTogether is the Singapore government official app for Covid-19 contact tracing) at the event registration counter, and 3) to be assigned a cohort at the time of arrival.
Ample queue poles, floor stickers, signage, hand sanitiser points were placed along the route to remind attendees to social distance and follow safe management measures.
Organisers also pre grouped attendees into two groups – A or B, including giving them staggered arrival timings. At the counter, each attendee was issued a coloured lanyard that matched a coloured cohort/zone in the hall. This way, seats were filled from a front-to-back sequence, hence avoiding intermingling between different coloured cohorts.
Another challenge was to sync Q&A between the live and virtual channels as there is usually a delay between live and online streams. Onsite, organisers wanted to avoid using handheld mics due to concerns over cleanliness, sanitisation, and transmission.
Instead, they deployed the Pigeonhole tool. During each Q&A, Pigeonhole was put up on screen for all live attendees to see, key in more questions and upvote their favourites.
For virtual attendees on Tulula, organisers did not want to direct them to another site to enter questions. Instead, we encouraged online attendees to use the platform as they normally would and upvote questions on the Tulula platform. Organisers then had someone from the organising team pump those questions into Pigeonhole for live attendees to see and for speakers to answer live. This helped greatly to obtain engagement on both ends of the event.
Event Gamescom asia’s Singapore Games Market Bootcamp
Venue Hall 406, Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre
Dates November 30, 2020
Attendance 100 (physical), 300 (virtual)