On November 14th 2015, IGX – Indian Games Expo, apparently the first ever consumer centered games expo in India, was held in Mumbai. It was a two day affair and I was lucky enough to attend Day 1 of IGX. I did get a little critical below, so before you jump to any conclusions, let me tell you that I really had a wonderful and memorable time at IGX.
IGX took place at the exhibition center in Goregaon, Mumbai, in what seemed like a warehouse space. There was no entry charge. The event was set to start at 11am and the venue was teeming with people almost an hour before the opening. We all had to stand in a single line and since there were so many people, it was quite a long line, and it was hot, and there was still half an hour to go. Yeah, they didn’t think that through. Anyways, after waiting (and sweating) for a while, the line started to move. And when I finally entered, it was all so…………………..blue?
Yeah, the ‘PlayStation’ boards were really hard to miss. More on that later. Anyways, I went in and it looked amazing; and familiar. The setup was similar to the ones we see at E3 or Gamescom with different booths set up, tightly packed, and a lot of hoardings and cardboard cut outs. And this was a good thing; the setup really gave the whole place a ‘gamey’ vibe and it really upped the atmosphere. The only problem was that it was a really small area. And the turnout was huge, nowhere near close to what was expected so it became too crowded too quickly. It wasn’t too much of a bother though; it felt good to be surrounded by like minded people (read gaming enthusiasts).
So what exactly did IGX have to offer? Lets see.
Almost all of the recent AAA releases were on the show floor- Batman, Uncharted Trilogy, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Until Dawn, Bloodborne, Counter Strike GO to name a few. Now, what’s surprising was that it seemed like an all-PlayStation event; all the games available to play were on a PS4 (with a few exceptions that were on PC). Sony PlayStation India was an official sponsor of IGX which may or may not have played a part in Microsoft’s absence. Either way, it may have been an uncomfortable place for an Xbox fan to be.
The demo floor also had a stage, where the hosts were trying to engage the audience in various ways, which in my opinion they did a good job of. Guests were asked to come on stage and show off their dancing skills to the tunes of Just Dance 2016. It was fun.
On the side, the WWE 2k16 and Mortal Kombat X tournaments were being conducted which had a total prize pool of 3 lakh rupees up for grabs. That is quite a big number.
Now across the demo floor were a disappointingly low number of booths selling video games and video game merchandise. But before I get all sulky, let me tell you about what stood out. Absentia Virtual Reality were on the floor to show off their upcoming VR headset- Tesseract. I couldn’t get a hands on demo of the piece due to the unbelievable crowd (and my packed flight schedule) but from what I heard, it was impressive. There were a couple of solely-developed-in-India games on display out of which ‘Third Eye’ caught my eye (‘see’ what I did there?). It was a third person action based, Indian mythological game which looked like it was inspired from God of War. It looked impressive and I will be waiting to see more of it in the coming days. Apart from these there were a bunch of booths selling video games and video game merchandise. Posters, T-shirts, super hero toys, the whole package. With the merchandise being top class, it was disappointing there weren’t more. However that didn’t stop me from getting myself a nuka cola poster.
One thing I was really happy about was IGX encouraging cosplay; there was a special cosplay contest held by Straydog and although there were only a few cosplayers on scene, they were amazing. To be honest, the joker’s smile was a bit unsettling. Cosplayers who couldn’t make it to the venue were encouraged to submit their pictures online.
That is pretty much everything about ‘what was there’. Now, let us talk a bit about ‘who was there’. Yes, let us talk about the crowd.
It was a good to see a crowd with an even age distribution; I half expected to see an army of 12 year olds with Call of Duty shirts and I was glad to be wrong. What was even more surprising was that there were a fair number of non gamers, especially parents, at the event. It was good to see fathers seeing their kids destroy Poseidon in God of War 3, mothers grooming their Agent 47s, and Jasons and girlfriends/boyfriends watching the Far Cry Primal trailer with their jaws wide open. In fact, when I asked a mother of two sons about whether she was ok with her sons being so passionate about video games, she said that she had no issue with it. She went on to say that both of her sons wanted to grow up and become game developers and that she would support them all the way. She also revealed that she herself had designed her son’s Jason costume. That is one lucky Jason, I tell you.
All in all, it was not the greatest expo in the world but for a first time affair it was pretty freaking awesome. IGX had a huge turnout and a satisfactory show and hence has brought the Indian gaming scene to the front page. The only way to go is up. Hopefully, next year, they will have a bigger variety on display and also hopefully, have a bigger warehouse. That is all from me tonight. Subscribe and stay tuned for more!