Let the games begin

Koelnmesse, organisers of gamescom asia, put on their best game faces to successfully execute the inaugural, large-scale hybrid event despite numerous pandemic-induced challenges and travel uncertainties.

Event brief
Gamescom asia, the region’s first satellite event of the world’s largest computer and videogames festival, gamescom, successfully wrapped its inaugural event in Singapore.

The event’s first-ever consumer and hybrid trade convention took place from October 14-17 2021, both onsite at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre and across digital platforms.

Gamescom asia 2021 is a premier platform for game developers in Asia to explore partnerships globally, and acts as a hub for international publishers who are looking for the next big thing in games. Divided between the Trade and Entertainment Zones, the event covers the entire diversity of the games culture and is a prelude to the full-scale physical event to take place in 2022.

To pave the way for the safe and calibrated resumption of MICE events, Koelnmesse Singapore was given the green light to trial new protocols and innovations at gamescom asia 2021.

As one of the selected MICE pilot events, gamescom asia 2021 was given approval by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to organise a large-scale event – within the government stipulated cap of 1,000 attendees – with less restrictive zoning requirements and arrangements for selected international attendees to enter Singapore.

With the health and safety of all event participants a top priority, the necessary Safe Management Measures implemented onsite ensured that all delegates could network and interact in a safe environment.

Event highlights
The in-person event, hosted at Suntec Singapore was graced by Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Ministry for Trade and Industry and Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth, who shared his insights on gaming.

The exhibition saw delegates and industry leaders network and interact with one another within the parameters of the safety restrictions in place. The environment brought back a glimpse of the pre-Covid era and attendees were elated to be a part of the revival of gaming events in Singapore.

The addition of the Singapore pavilion housed 11 homegrown gaming studios and developers, providing attendees with the opportunity to experience games and products first-hand. Delegates onsite were also able to interact virtually with online attendees, set up meetings, and catch the conference sessions simultaneously broadcast live both ways.

Across the hybrid offering, more than 80 regional and global industry experts came together to cover the breadths of Games and Mobile Gaming. The 44 sessions have been watched more than 3,900 times live and on-demand, with the online Trade Zone reaching a record high of 41,000 points of interactions between attendees, sponsors and exhibitors.

The all-digital Entertainment Zone (powered by AMD) drew international fans across six platforms, reaching over four million online viewers. The event was also launched and livestreamed on the official Discord and TikTok channels, as well as on partnering media channels like eGG Network and UnGeek and partnering with gaming ambassadors to engage their fans.

The biggest challenge was organising an event with full offerings (exhibition, conference, networking, F&B) within a short few months, coupled with the hybrid elements of also making the live event available online to delegates around the world to interact simultaneously.

With the evolving health situation in Singapore, organisers and the various bodies had to be extremely cautious and vigilant towards the operational flow and human movements within the event. Organisers had to be flexible in pivoting and recalibrating to changing government rules and regulations.

Another key challenge faced was ensuring that all attendees coming down to the physical event had fulfilled the necessary safety requirements framed out by STB.

This included having full vaccination status, doing SafeEntry Check-Ins and health declarations upon arrival at the venue, before registration and before entering the conference venue, taking the PET Lucira test on-site and ensuring that safe distancing of at least one metre was maintained.

Foreign delegates flying in for the event were also required to send in their confirmations prior to attending the event and were also expected to adhere to the same regulations. Crew members, exhibitors as well all industry leaders attending the physical conference also had to produce a negative Pre-event Test result on a daily basis.

For the Trade Zone, organisers made use of virtual event platform, Hubilo, to provide online attendees with a similar networking experience as the physical attendees. In-person exhibitors and attendees could also set meetings online through their virtual booths within the digital expo to bridge the hybrid element.

Another production challenge was the coordination between conference speakers present in Singapore and those who had to be beamed live from overseas. Organisers had to think outside the box in displaying mixed panels onstage at Suntec Singapore while streaming them online. We also deployed a few tools to facilitate the Q&A sessions to be able to take questions from onsite and online attendees in real-time.

For the fully digital Entertainment Zone, we had a multi-channel communication setup between the team to ensure that all streams across our entire streaming offerings were broadcasting smoothly and any issues could be addressed immediately.

Event gamescom asia 2021
Organiser Koelnmesse
Venue Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, and online at gamescom.asia
Date October 14-17, 2021
Attendees 2,217 attendees (in total, in-person and online)

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