Game Show & Trade, All-Round, popularly known as G-Star, first took place in 2005 and is South Korea’s premier annual games conference. G-Star 2022 was the first full in-person event in 2 years. The event was organized by the Korea Association of Game industry (K-GAMES), managed by G-STAR Organizing Committee and Busan IT Industry Promotion Agency, and supported by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST). The hybrid event took place on G-STAR TV Channel and at the BEXCO convention center in Busan, Korea November 17 to 20 with 184,000 attending offline and 970,000 tuning in online. In 2021 there were 28,000 offline attendees for a partially held in person event and 960,000 online. There were B2C and B2B halls.
Niko Partners Korea-based analyst Shin Young Kim represented Niko at the conference. Here are the observations from the exhibits and sessions most discussed at the conference.
Cross-platform connectivity is on the rise
Cross-platform was a big trend for Korean firms and for Korean gamers. For example, Nexon, one of Korea’s “3N”1, set up games at its booths which were available on mobile devices, computers and consoles. Another 3N company, Netmarble also showcased cross-platform games that were also available both on PC and mobile for visitors to experience.
New releases and tech showcased
Noteworthy demos by Korean companies were:
- Krafton unveiled its new film-like horror genre game Callisto Protocol that is scheduled to be released in December
- Neowiz had a booth dedicated to its new console game Lies of P to be released in 2023, showing their entrance into the console market
- Netmarble showed multiple new lineups such as its action RPG Solo Leveling: ARISE, close-quarters action game Hype Squad, MOBA game Paragon: The Overprime, and MMORPG Arthdal Chronicles. It should be noted that Netmarble had one of the largest booths with 160 demo stations with complete hardware setup available for visitors to play
- Nexon revealed its MMORPG Mabinogi M based off the successful Mabinogi IP and action RPG The First descendant developed using Unreal Engine
- Kakao Games showcased and demonstrated its new lineups: action mobile RPG Goddess Order, multi-platform MMORPG Ares: Rise of Guardians, and collectible mobile game Eversoul
- WeMade, one of the major sponsors of G-Star 2022, had large monitors with bright pink lights at its booths promoting its global blockchain gaming platform WEMIX. The company also presented Legend of YMIR and Night Crows that will be released in 2024 and 2023, respectively
International crowds are returning
Not only did G-Star 2022 have presence from local Korean companies and dedicated local regions such as: Gyeonggi, Daejeon, Gwangju, Cheongju, Daegu, and Busan, international booths filled a good portion in the BTB zone as well. These included Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Centre, Embassy of Canada, Embassy of Czech Republic, Poland, and Sweden Game Pavillion. While the number of international representatives was not as high as in previous on-site G-Star events due to the lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are signs of hope that the international crowds will return to Korea.
What’s next for the Korean games industry?
The importance of connectivity and cross-platform in Korea’s games industry could not be stressed enough at G-Star 2022. Most games and technologies showcased at the convention focused on cross-platform capabilities. This revealed the intent of game companies, which is to achieve boundless interoperability with games and devices.
For more on Korea’s games market, see our 2022 Korea Games Market report.
Author: Kim Shin Young