Home Business [기자수첩] G-Star, who has become more comfortable, it’s time to stop obsessing over the number of spectators

[기자수첩] G-Star, who has become more comfortable, it’s time to stop obsessing over the number of spectators

by news dir


▲ G-Star 2021 central passage with limited morning admission to 3,500 (Photo: Game Mecca)

In recent decades, the primary purpose of the organizers of G-Star was to expand the scale of the event. BEXCO has been breaking the size and visitor records every year (although it changed the counting method along the way) to the extent that it is said that BEXCO is small, and in 2019, it set a record of 244,309 people.

In fact, the organizers of the G-Star Organizing Committee or the city of Busan would have been happy to announce the visitor record, but the audience was not very pleased with this situation. Criticisms such as “not watching games, but watching people” and “It’s like a crowded subway on the way to and from work” continued. Participating companies couldn’t just cover up and welcome the crowd that far exceeded the booth capacity. Nevertheless, the organizers’ will to receive more spectators seemed firm. In fact, I understand that it must have been difficult for me to reduce the size of the event by myself.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. The offline event in 2020 was abruptly canceled, and although it was barely held in 2021, the scale was drastically reduced due to quarantine reasons. The number of booths has been reduced by half, and the number of general visitors is 6,000 per day. Over the course of four days, 24,000 people will be the highest recorded. That’s 1/10 of what it was in 2019.

As the number of visitors decreased, the scenery of G-Star changed. On weekends, the passageway, which was full of people and difficult to move properly, became comfortable in an instant, and the line of hundreds of people at each booth was reduced to dozens. The waiting time, which often lasted over an hour or two, was around 10 minutes at the most, and the scenery of thousands of people queuing in the plaza since morning to buy tickets at the box office disappeared.

Crowds lined up to purchase G-Star tickets in 2018 (Photo provided by G-Star Organizing Committee)
▲ Crowds lined up to purchase G-Star tickets in 2018 (Photo provided by G-Star Organizing Committee)
The scenery of the central passageway on the third day of G-Star 2019, over 100,000 daily visitors, literally overloads the venue (Photo: Game Mecca shooting)
▲ Scenery of the central passageway on the third day of G-Star 2019, if more than 100,000 daily visitors flock to the event venue, it will be overloaded (Photo: Game Mecca shooting)

This is a remarkable change in terms of the viewing environment. General spectators and industry officials were able to explore every corner of the game show with more leisure, and the number of people getting hit by people was reduced. BEXCO, which had overloaded with much more people than usual, was also maintained in a much more comfortable state.

The impressions of the audience and officials who heard directly from the reporter were also quite well-received. Audiences said that they can enter quickly without waiting in line with advance reservations, and that the waiting time is greatly reduced compared to previous years, when waiting in line for more than an hour was convenient. In some booths, there was an opinion that it was good not to have to wait in line because a system to select a waiting ticket appeared due to the effect of distance.

Booth officials also chose the advantage of not being too busy as the number of visitors is limited and being able to prepare items accordingly. In particular, in the case of normal years, there were a lot of people on weekends, and some booths ran out of souvenirs and sent them back empty-handed.

Combining the above opinions, it seems that the direction G-Star should take in the future is visible. The size of the event will return or expand to the level of 2019, and various game companies will participate to increase things to see and enjoy, but the number of visitors will be limited and the reservation system will be maintained to improve the environment of the venue comfortably. In addition, if the scale of the outdoor booth is significantly increased compared to the previous year, it would be a bonus if there are many things to enjoy even if you do not enter the exhibition hall.

Panoramic view of outdoor plaza booths in 2019, it seems necessary to continuously increase outdoor booths that you can enjoy without entering (Photo: Game Mecca shooting)
▲ Panoramic view of outdoor plaza booths in 2019, it seems that it is necessary to continuously increase the number of outdoor booths that can be enjoyed without entering (Photo: Game Mecca shooting)

A more detailed analysis of the size of the entry restriction is needed, but if the number of visitors is limited to about three times the current (about 18,000 people) and the entry time is divided into 4 or 5, it is well received as a more pleasant game show with moderately large numbers of people visiting. is expected to be able to receive

From the perspective of the organizers, it may not be desirable to reduce the number of visitors from the mid-200,000s to 70,000 to 80,000, but this is by no means a small number. E3, the largest game show in the U.S., which allowed the general public, in 2019, had 66,000 visitors. Although it is 1/4 of that of G-Star in the same year, it is already clear that the level of a game show is not determined by the number of visitors.

If you visit overseas game shows a lot, it is difficult to participate and cover events with too many people, and it is difficult to look around. Game industry officials also share similar concerns. Therefore, many overseas game show organizers prepare Media Days with restricted access to the general public so that they can browse in a relaxed and comfortable manner. If G-Star uses 2021 as a mirror and opens these considerations not only to the media but also to the general audience, I think it will be an opportunity to develop into a ‘premium game show’ rather than just an event attracting a lot of people.

Normally, if a sudden entry restriction is introduced, there will be a lot of backlash or side effects, but since it has already been done once this year, it is relatively easy to maintain it. Visitors and industry officials will be able to adapt easily, and there will be little backlash. The chronic lack of space in Exhibition Hall 1 of BEXCO can also be solved by limiting the number of visitors. We look forward to ‘Season 2’ of G-Star, which is reborn as a premium game show.

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