The temperature outside may have been in the high 30s, but that was nothing compared to the white-hot talks and meetings taking place inside Hong Kong’s awesome Cyberport venue over July 17th to 18th, at Steel Media’s inaugural Blockchain Gamer Connects and Pocket Gamer Connects in East Asia.
The conference and expo, hosted in association with Animoca Brands and Cyberport, pulled in the great and the good of the games industry from across the region - as well as overseas - with over 750 delegates registering in total from 45 countries.
Less than half of the attendees (48.6 per cent) were from Hong Kong, with 15.5 per cent travelling from mainland China, 6.6 per cent from the United States, 4.4 per cent from Korea, 3.3 per cent Japan and 2.6 per cent hailing from the United Kingdom.
The emerging market of Southeast Asia was well represented too, with strong showings from Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand (making up over 7.7 per cent of delegates) whilst Russia and mainland Europe collectively brought in 7.8 per cent and the Middle East and Australasia were also represented.
These delegates enjoyed over 55 hours of talks and panels delivered across three packed tracks rooms. Across the two days, 131 speakers shared their insight on mobile, esports and blockchain gaming.
Highlights included keynotes by Yuichiro Saito (Cygames), Allison Bilas (JoyPac), Sandeep Nailwal (Matic Network), and Huabin Ling (Cocos2dx). The crowd were thrilled by Superstar Sessions on player-owned economies (John Linden, Mythical Games); how gameplay comes first (Kern Zhang, App Annie); scaling Ethereum games (Matt Campbell, Loom Network); and community building (Marguerite deCourcelle, Blockade Games).
Attendees used the free meeting system to schedule 280 hours of business one-to-ones.
There were 14 panels, including a lively discussion about the future of instant games, hyper-casual and casual games, led by Gamejam’s Christian Calderon.
Outside of the track rooms, attendees used the free meeting system to schedule 280 hours of business one-to-ones. There were also curated sessions (Investor Connector, and Publisher SpeedMatch), which were invitation-only get-togethers that took place smoothly behind the main stage, bringing together studios, publishers and investors from around the globe.
There were 20 entrants in the Very Big Indie Pitch, the competition that challenges indie developers to pitch their games to panels of experts in speed-dating style quickfire rounds. The ultimate winner was Minidragon, a small company founded in 2013 who are based in Cyberport, Hong Kong, itself. Their game Pixel Petz walked away with the ceremonial baseball bat after impressing the judges with their pitch.
390 companies joined PG and BG Connects Hong Kong 2019 in total. As always at a Connects event, there was a wonderful cross-section of the industry, from students up to CEOs and top investors. 40 per cent of the registered attendees were C-level.
Sponsors and supporters
Our platinum sponsors were Cyberport and Animoca Brands, who contributed the following feedback:
Animoca Brands: “Thank you from Animoca Brands for attending Blockchain Gamer and Pocket Gamer Connects Hong Kong 2019! We hope that you enjoyed the event with its many sessions and panels discussing the latest trends and developments in mobile gaming, esports, and blockchain gaming.
"Here at Animoca Brands we are focused on driving the blockchain community forward both globally and locally, and we invite you to contact us if you have any suggestions or if you wish to discuss opportunities for working together.”
Cyberport: “Cyberport is thrilled at the success of Asia's first Blockchain Gamer Connects in Hong Kong as a spotlight event of our signature Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum here at Cyberport.
"BGC is one of the best curated global conferences connecting the brightest minds from the blockchain and gaming fields, offering a perfect platform for industry experts and practitioners to exchange and explore business opportunities. We are happy to partner with BGC in driving new technology development in gaming and esports, fostering a more vibrant digital entertainment ecosystem.”
The event was also supported by Xsolla, Lab Cave, App Annie (gold); UPLTV, Genvid, JoyPac, Matic Network, PlasmaPlay, Minimob, iMoney, Cocos-BCX, Bino Viz (silver); Bluzelle, Upland and Cocos2d (track and associate sponsors).
“This was our 19th B2B conference overall and our very first one in the Hong Kong region,” said Steel Media COO Dave Bradley.
“We could not have been more pleased with the support we received from the local and international games community. There was an incredible amount of talent on show in both the blockchain and mobile sides of the event.
"It seems that many new business connections were made. And as always at a Connects event, the vibe was relaxed and friendly, with the party on Tuesday night – with conversations spilling out onto the Cyberport bay-view terrace – a particular highlight! We’ll definitely be back in this fascinating city.”
The next destination for the international series of events is the sixth edition of Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki on October 1st and 2nd before rounding out the year with the first-ever Pocket Gamer Connects Jordan on November 2nd and 3rd.
The series will kick off 2020 returning home to London on January 20th and 21st.