For the last three years, people will remember PGF or Pinoy Gaming Festival as one of the biggest and grandest eSports event in the country, but the wheel of fate has turned against the widely respected brand for this year. How bad was it? Read on to find out more.
Last October 25 and 26 at the Megatrade Hall 2 of SM Megamall, Mineski, PeSO or Philippine eSports Organization and Otakuzine formed a partnership to bring Pinoy Gaming Festival. Originally, PGF was handled by Rapture Gaming Network, but the demise of the organization left the PGF brand hanging. Then we heard news that it was acquired by PeSO, making a sudden announcement that they will be organizing the event at a short notice. Let us begin analyzing each aspect of the event to learn what went wrong.
Entrance and Registration
They have the standard format for every convention; one area designated for the ticket selling while the other is for the information booth for other inquiries and concerns. Since the event only occupied one hall, so there are no separate entrance and exit points though they placed black curtains on both access points to prevent any bystanders from loitering near the area just to watch the event from afar. Tickets are priced at PhP 120 which is cheaper from the previous PGF events, except for summer events in which the admissions were all free.
Since PGF was organized by three groups; two for gaming and one for cosplay/otaku, the event should have been packed with lots of booths to cater both audiences. But one thing was noticed when stepping into the venue; it has a lot of vacant spaces. Most of the attendees were be found on the farther left portion of the event hall, where the stage is located, beside it was the card game section where players of Vanguard, Magic: The Gathering and other card games can hang out, play and purchase cards or decks, a set of tables were prepared for them as well. On the opposite side, the console group and merchandise booth can be found there, including the Ozine maid café, but unfortunately the merchandise booths were much fewer than from the previous Ozine/Otaku Fest events, which was a letdown for some otakus who were looking for merchandises to purchase and not mention the maid café wasn’t that much of an attraction, a possible reason is that most of the esports audience there were not interested on some otaku-oriented attractions. On the good side, the console area was now composed of three communities; Hotseat for fighting game enthusiasts, PinoyPS for the PlayStation community and newcomer Smash Pilipinas for the Super Smash Bros. community, majority of the attendees gather there when they wanted to try some of the latest games for the PlayStation 3 and 4 or just looking for a friendly match or even join a competitive tournament, and it never gets empty.
Going back to the vacant space, there were areas that were empty in which some attendees can just sit on the floor anywhere they want, this was rather surprising for an event co-handled by Ozine (and even for a PGF standard) as they were known to put up a lot of booths in their venue, maybe due to the fact that the event was rushed that there were not enough time for other exhibitors to prepare.
When people hear PGF, they would be expecting a really good stage setup with giant screens. Unfortunately it was the opposite; the stage screen was very small, it’s more like a size of a standard projector screen, and the audience were having a hard time watching it. They even have to turn off some of the lights at the stage so more attendees that are far away from the stage can watch the matches, but it did not help much thanks to the very small screen, adding a second screen at the middle of the event area would have been better. The match audio was rather weak or non-existent in some selected matches, as you can only hear the shoutcasters more, it was still uncertain if there were some technical difficulties in the game audio or rather it was intentional so that you should listen to their shoutcasters, which could be a turn-off to some con-goers that are not interested on the matches and were just roaming around the event as that would be the only ‘background music’ they would hear in almost the entire event.
Another problem why gaming and otaku-oriented activities cannot just mix that easy. As majority of game matches can last for an hour or more, depending on the game, there would be a very high chance that some other stage activities be delayed in a much later time, and putting a different activity in the middle of the momentum of the games could kill the excitement of the attendees, forcing them to leave the premises. A karaoke competition was scheduled right after a certain match, the whole crowd just went empty in a matter of seconds, you will definitely notice that it was not what they were after, the audiences’ expectation for another promising match was interrupted by something that they are not interested at and would only return if they hear the obvious loud screams from the shoutcasters; signifying that there was an ongoing match happening. It would have been better if PGF separated the different activities per day, like for example focus more on anime and cosplay on the first day and then focus more on tournaments on the second day. Despite PGF announcing that there would be a cosplay competition, there were a few number of cosplayers that showed up at the event, even from the outside of the venue there only a few number of them, ranging from 10-15 cosplayers
Another problem found on PGF is that the event started very late, some reported that it opened late in the afternoon for both days, which commonly all events start at the opening of the mall or maybe an hour after the mall opens. The delay on the event was a result on some technical issues on the stage and on the PC areas for the tournament.
To close this event report, sadly to say, Pinoy Gaming Festival 2014 was a very disappointing event, all the expectations of a ‘PGF-like’ quality was dead gone, only replaced with a typical Ozine event with less booths and minus their stage performances and replaced it with a different title. The Summer Assembly of PGF had more offerings compare to this, and to think that the Summer Assembly was a free event. It really felt that the event was rushed for it to be materialized as some quick money generator, there was no love for the event and for the community. To add more, we even heard rumors that the three organizers already had a shaky partnership from the beginning; a possible reason could be that the three of them can’t agree on who should get the bigger slice of the pie, so it’s possible that they did not gave their full effort for this event.
It’s something like you went to a restaurant and the only thing they offered there were cheap budget meals, then you were disappointed to the meal you had and regretted that you even went there. It would have been better if they should let the PGF brand ended last year with a bang instead of giving it a slow, painful and humiliating death.
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