December 28, 2020

De toekomst van gaming evenementen in 2021

Gaming Conventions and esports have been tied together in the Benelux for a while. These events are a prime location for tournament finals, and a fantastic place for a meet-and-greet to broaden public awareness of the scene. But since it’s HellYear 2020, all public events have been cancelled for basically the entire year. Organizers have had to adapt in some pretty interesting ways, leaving a variety of results. Some have been minor successes, and others have created massive industry standards.

Industries from all genres have been throwing their hat in the ring trying to create the best online events possible. From targeted advertising like North American politicians playing Among Us with famous streamers, to savvy industry leaders creating educational seminars, to the creation of out-of-the-box reality game shows. No idea seems to be off limits, so long as it can be enjoyed from the safety of the viewer’s home.

But because the international situation changed so quickly, no one had time to plan for adaptation. Industries were left to sink or swim, and the execution of innovative new ideas can be messy. It’s hard to know what ideas will be effective until it’s over.

Gameforce, Belgium’s biggest gaming convention, was quick to hop onto the untested online convention floor in October. They hosted two days worth of Let’s Play demonstrations and interviews with game production companies. They adapted to an impossible situation. But it does leave a person to wonder what else can be done next time.

Should the stream be cast in English to open the experience to non-Dutch speaking Gameforce fans? Is there more opportunity for in-depth discussion with leaders in the local gaming scene? Can a second off-location cohost or more guest speakers help the casting dynamic? Are there other ways to balance support for the indie scene with the AAA titles that draw in a crowd?

It’s easy to ask all that in retrospect, and hard to know what situations impacted each design and execution choice.

The magic online convention combination seems to have occurred at gamescom 2020. Their broadcasts reached 10 million unique viewers over the duration of the event, with viewers from 180 countries, and the opening ceremonies topping out at 2 million simultaneous viewers. They still managed to work with 370 partners and even managed to keep an esports tournament running.

Whatever they did, I think it’s safe to say that we’d all love some of that success.

We can expect more and more events to be postponed in the first half of 2021. Maybe we’ll get lucky, but it’s unlikely. Most Benelux events have been pushed to summer or fall, or cancelled all together. Some refuse to rebook a date until they have more information about what the year will look like. And a quiet few are pressing forward, hoping that drastic measures like three hour visit slots will be enough to prevent them from shutting their doors.

We’re curious to see where spring 2021 takes us, and what kind of advances and ideas emerge. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and we may still see some amazing leaps come from this very strange time.