Skoar 2005, the gaming expo, organised by Jasubhai Digital Media on 23-24th December at Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai, lived up to all the pre-event hype that surrounded it. With footfalls of around 25-30,000 spread over the two days, the event was a resounding success.
The expo brought together the cr?¨me de la cr?¨me of game publishers, game developers and gaming and hardware companies, all concentrating towards one cause – to spread awareness about gaming, in a country where the culture as well as the industry is still in a nascent stage.
Speaking to Animation ‘xpress, Skoar Editor Badri Narayan stated, “Our main aim while organising this expo was to bring in more people into gaming. We want the casual gamers to experience how far the level of gaming can go, and the uninitiated lot to get a first-time experience of the phenomenon. The more interest we manage to generate amongst the masses, the closer we will reach in achieving our goal.”
Just like Narayan mentioned, a large chunk of the footfalls comprised of newbies and casual gamers, who were soaking in the atmosphere and testing the waters, trying out different kinds of games. The freebies on offer were major incentives, of course, as scores of people tinkered with the different platforms of gaming that were on display.
The variety of platforms, of course, was a major attraction. PC, laptop, PS2, Xbox, LAN Gaming, handheld games, coin-op arcades – the options, on offer, were endless. Big screen gaming was undoubtedly a huge attraction, as hordes of enthusiasts queued up to live the experience of a massive flat screen. The LAN gaming arcade was where the kings of the trade, the hard-core gamers settled themselves. Some of them battled it out on the network for hours on end.
Hard Core Gamers & fullon gaming yes, but it was the casual games that got the most attention. Racing games, in particular especially Need for Speed Underground and Road Rash, had a large number of people waiting impatiently to get their turn, as these games require extremely basic skills and are fun to play, even for first-timers.
Counter-Strike was another star attraction and Narayan agreed, “It’s not surprising to see the immense frenzy that Counter Strike has been able to whip up. It is a cult game, and more and more youngsters are taking to it – And counter strike is like a cult within a cult, there are people who swear by the game and are not willing to play any other”
“A reason could be peer pressure of course, it is the ‘in thing’, so to say, but then, one cannot deny that the game is extremely addictive.”
The hard-core gamers reckoned that the interest the expo had been able to generate was commendable, but the seasoned pros wished that there were more tournaments.
As we spoke to various publishers and exhibitors, each of them were extremely generous in their praise for the mannerin which the event was held. While they looked forward to Skoar 2006, a number of them were of the opinion that the event should not limit itself to Mumbai. As if on cue, Narayan told us, “After the success of Skoar 2005, we will be back next year, on a much larger scale. And yes, we are toying with the idea of holding the expo in different cities, especially Bangalore, the IT capital of the country.”
More suggestions to expand things on a larger scale next year were forthcoming from Raju Patil, product manager at Dhruva Interactive. He reckoned that one could see more emphasis on creating awareness about careers in the gaming industry in India. This, according to him, could be achieved by conducting seminars, tech tracks and other such activities that would be oriented towards a more gaming-centric audience.
All said and done, it cannot be denied that Skoar 2005 was a unique step forward, to reach out to the masses and garner more and more people’s interest in gaming.
At the end of the day, everyone was unanimous in raising a toast to the efforts of the Jasubhai Digital Media and Skoar, in making the event such a fabulous success.