Packed with tournaments, unreleased games, entertainment, workshops, and gaming celebrities, the inaugural Games Con got underway at ADNEC as the ultimate gaming festival in the Middle East, spanning three days from November 23 to 25 and hosting 10,233 visitors.
Games Con attendees lined-up to meet their heroes including YouTube sensations Vikkstar, Zerkaa and Ali A, one of the most popular YouTubers of all time with over 13.2 billion views. Voice over actors Chloe Hollings (Overwatch’s Widowmaker), Brina Palencia (a.k.a) Mad Moxxi, and DC Douglas, voice of Albert Wesker from ‘Resident Evil’ also proved very popular, along with teams from Nasr and Yalla eSports.
Unreleased games were unveiled to the crowd and lucky participants got a chance to test them before they hit the shelves in the new year. Even Ali A tried the hotly anticipated, and as yet unreleased ‘Dissidia NT – Final Fantasy’ live on the Entertainment Stage, powered by HP Omen. In addition, Facebook joined forces with Games Con to demonstrate its new virtual reality technology, Facebook Spaces, while GamerTech built a gaming PC out of a Corvette engine-block live on their stand during the show, and Alienware showcased their new unreleased Area 51 Gaming Desktop.
The Entertainment Stage, powered by HP Omen played host to many of Games Con’s biggest attractions over the course of the weekend including the “Beat the FIFA Video Game Ambassador” Ahmed Al Nasheet, and Pokken Tournament, as well as panel discussions, YouTube gamer showdowns, live performances, and gaming advice. The cosplay competition, where the winners take home a portion of the AED 31,000 prize fund, also drew the crowds. Rhegel Aliling as Timbersaw won Best RPG; Alistair Vowles as Reinheart took home Best FPS; and Andrea Hearn dressed as Zelda received Best Group Award.
Hundreds participated in various competitions and tournaments throughout Games Con, and fans were delighted by the huge quantity of prize give-aways including Hyper X Gaming accessories and a limited-edition Grand Turismo Sport Playstation 4. Competitions like the FIFA Fanta Masters were hotly contested, as players battled for the honour of representing the UAE in the international tournament, and a chance to take home AED 100,000.
Virtual Reality competition VIVE Vs MSI saw teams compete for the HTC VIVE worth AED 2,599 each, while players who took the top spots in the Tekken 7 and Injustice 2 competitions were awarded with their share of the $20,000 on offer across both events which took place on Friday and Saturday, and the MSI Dota 2 Tournament finals were a buzzing hive of activity as visitors stayed late into the evening to watch the Colligate eSports Final on Saturday. It wasn’t all new-age technical wizardry however there were also tabletop tournaments in Magic: The Gathering, Catan, and Splendor.
Finally, there was also a full schedule of workshops throughout the weekend aimed at budding game developers, as well as those who have an interest in what it takes to put some of these incredible experiences together. Here, the National Media Council (NMC) invited all video-game developers to a national contest, where amateur and professional developers pitched their ideas for video games to a jury of professional developers and production studios.
The brands exhibiting at the event considered it a resounding success, including Febronia Armia, from GKD who brought four unreleased games to the show including Monster Hunter: World, Gravel, Attack on Titan 2 and Dynasty Warriors 9, who said, “Wonderful management from the entire team behind the event. Best organized gaming event in the region in the last few years.”
Suzy Pallett, Group Director Trade & Consumer, Informa Exhibitions added: “With over 10,000 gamers joining us this weekend, it has been a great pleasure to launch Games Con. We want to thank the industry, the consumers and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority for supporting us in this hugely successful launch. We are already in planning for an even bigger event in 2018 where we will create a hub for gamers in the MENA region to Game Together!”