November 8th marked the 3rd and final day of Level Up KL Biz, which wraps everything up nicely in preparation for the Play event, which will begin the day after. For Day 3, we were treated to more conferences in all 4 tracks, which wrapped up in the SEA Game Awards 2019, as well as a bombshell that dropped during the closing ceremony.
The Production Track
What some might consider the conference they looked most forward to seeing (due to the speaker, no less) was the RPG On Mobile panel, which was presented by Yuichiro Saito from Cygames, who are behind the immensely popular Granblue Fantasy.
In the panel, Saito delved into the deep specifics, starting from the beginning to explain what Cygames truly is, what games they’re doing, the technology that they have, etc. He also showed us a bit of footage of other Granblue Fantasy games, as well as announcing that they are working on an as-yet-unknown IP.
The track ended for the day with a talk by Daisuke Hiragami, of Soleil Ltc, and it revolved around how to develop action games that appeal to the global market. There are trends, niches and general rules that differ from fans of each region, and the goal is to tick as many boxes as possible to find a sweet spot for everyone.
The Biz & Tech Track
With Razer now becoming a large part of the mobile wallet industry, a conference was held in order to explain what Fintech does for Razer Pay, and how it can be gamefied.
Fintech (short for financial tech) is the result of a partnership with Razer and Visa, to allow the mobile wallet to be used wherever Visa is accepted, through virtual credit cards. This payment system coule be turned into a “game”, so to speak, as an incentive to continuously be used by the public. They described a host of features that are planned to be implemented in the near future to hopefully drive the mobile wallet system to the forefront of the industry.
The Esports Track
One of the highlights from today, was the panel by former F1 racing driver-turned-founder of Axle Motorsport, Alex Yoong, who talked about the transition between traditional motorsports and esports, and how young athletes can be raised through simulation racing to transition into real motorsports. With the conclusion of his racing league, eRGP SEA, culminating in sending one of our own drivers all the way to Rome to take part in a global competition, showcases the power of esports in competition.
There was also a talk about women being represented in esports, what their trials and tribulations were when entering the field, and how they managed to overcome them to reach where they are today. From a lack of confidence, to women in esports not being taken seriously, as well as having to deal with sexism, the path to esports for women is much harder than one might expect
The Indie Track
An interesting panel in this track was the PR and Marketing for Indies, in which we dive deep into how indie game companies could market their brand and their games more effectively. As it stands, many indie companies do not have access to large funds, and so must find a way for them to market themselves properly on their own.
Allowing a community to form, to engage and interact with for feedback is crucial to how gamers will view an indie product, and this talk was designed to help these companies in forming effective marketing strategies for themselves.
The SEA Game Awards
There ended up being fewer conferences today, in order to accommodate the SEA Game Awards ceremony. Over the entire event, attendees could vote for games in different categories, using the Level Up KL mobile app. The votes would then be tallied, and the winner would then be announced during the awards.
This year, the largest winner by far was GigaBash, winning 4 awards out of the 11 available. These include: Best Technology, Best Game Design, Audience Choice, and finally becoming the overall winner of the Grand Jury.
The win was well deserved, and Passion Republic could rest easy knowing that their creation was immensely well-received.
As for the rest, the winners for each category are:
Best Technology: Gigabash – Passion Republic Games malaysia
Best Visual Art: When The Past Was Around – Mojiken Studio indonesia
Best Game Design: Gigabash
Best Audio: Valz – Klappanome Indonesia
Best Storytelling: Delight – Dreamtree Malaysia
Best Innovation: Retrograde Arena – Freemergency
Best Student Game: Ano Journeys Throughtattos – CTRLD indonesia
Audience Choice Award: Gigabash
Rising Star Award: Retrograde Arena
Grand Jury Award: Gigabash
We then proceeded to the closing ceremony, where one of the largest bombshells were dropped on our unsuspecting heads; an announcement by the Minister of Communications of Multimedia, YB Tuan Gobind Singh Deo that MDEC is entering a partnership with Sony Interactive World Studios, and part of that partnership includes Sony Interactive opening a studio, right here in Malaysia, helmed by Shuhei Yoshida, ex-CEO of Sony Interactive.
This came as a pleasant surprise to many of us, and many feel that it’s a step towards accelerating the growth of the video game industry in Malaysia even further.
Level Up KL Biz both started and ended with a bang, with two massive announcements bookending the event itself. We found ourselves generally hooked into some of the conferences and walked out of each of them with just that extra bit of knowledge in our minds.
With the way that Level Up is steadily growing to be Southeast Asia’s premier gaming hub for developers, it’s very interesting to see how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go.
In general, if you have a passion for game design or development, you owe it to yourself to experience Level Up at least once. We definitely enjoyed our time here, and hope to see this event continually succeed in its goals.