Philippinesâ biggest gaming convention goes virtual
Electronic Sports and Gamming Summit (ESGS), the country's biggest gaming convention, is going virtual amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
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Philippines’ biggest gaming convention goes virtual
Michelle Lojo (Philstar.com) - October 21, 2020 - 11:19am

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s biggest esports and gaming convention is back and more virtual than ever. The Electronic Sports and Gamming Summit (ESGS) 2020 is going digital from October 23-25, truly reinforcing the concept that #GamingNeverStops even during a pandemic.

Back in 2014, one Filipino attended a gaming summit in a different country and wondered why such an event couldn't be held in his own country.

It was then that Jobert Yu, founder and managing partner of Gariath Concepts as well as Deputy Secretary General of the newly accredited POC Associate Member Philippine Electronic Sports Organization (PESO), conceptualized the Electronic Sports and Gamming Summit, more commonly known as ESGS.

Fast forward to 2020 and ESGS is one of the biggest gamming summits in South East Asia as well as the biggest and most anticipated gaming summit in the country.

"We were actually surprised," said Marketing Team Lead of ESGS organizer Gariath Concepts, Mae Calicdan. "Marami akong narereceive dun sa [Facebook] page: 'May ESGS ba?' Everyone was really expecting na magkakaroon."

With the current quarantine, the fate of ESGS hanged by a thread as the date of when the summit usually took placed loomed over the horizon. But last September 7, ESGS announced via their Facebook Page that gamers can enjoy the summit from the safety of their own home as ESGS was going digital this coming October 23 to 25. 

"It was a very, very difficult decision," Christian Go, Business Development Executive with ESGS organizer Gariath Concepts told PhilStar.com regarding the discussion of pushing for an ESGS this year, as well as moving to a virtual summit."[There was a time] we weren't even sure we had enough resources to actually put this up."

"As the year progressed, we realized esports was a bit more adaptable as an industry to what was happening right now. People started to consume more things online. It was then we realized that there is an opportunity there."
Calicdan added that from a marketing perspective, they first researched the idea of moving to an online platform. 

"We did a lot of research kasi nag-iba talaga yung behavior ng market natin ngayon. Knowing na it's pandemic, lahat nasa bahay. Yung opportunity there, is tumaas rin yung number ng taong naglalaro [at] nasa internet," he said.

Go explained that with the idea of moving online, it opened more opportunities for international exhibitors to take part. And soon, the ESGS team was building up from the idea of an online summit.

Go also shared that the planning for the coming ESGS started moving along when their partners were on board with the idea of proceeding with the event online.

With the event now online, instead of preparing the venue and planning out the booths and the stage, organizer Gariath Concepts focused on the content and the schedule.

"It's going to be a cohesion of one show. All in one, rather than exhibitor after exhibitor after exhibitor," said Go, who then gave a preview of this year's ESGS. "Now, we have to consider continuity. What would be best during this time slot? What kind of segment would be best for this time slot?"

ESGS this year will be one live, segmented show, as described by Go. It will still have the tournaments, competitions and exhibitions that are reminiscent of past ESGS but as Go and Calicdan puts it, ESGS 2020 will be "more gaming than ever".

"It's like our hashtag #GamingNeverStops," stated Calicdan with regards to this year's event. "You can still experience ESGS at the comfort of your home."

But there is a difference with previous summits given some limitations of having the event online. Qualifiers for the ESGS tournaments have started weeks before the main event to not overload the schedule of the three-day summit. 

"Usually [the qualifiers] will happen at the booth of the partner," shared Go. "Then the grand finals will be on the main stage."

The Final Stages of the different tournaments this year will be the ones shown during the main event. The organizers opted not to have simultaneous streams as to not force viewers to have to miss out on different events, hence the qualifiers being done beforehand.

Gamers should also watch out for giveaways via the ESGS Facebook page.
"People are really expecting merch [merchandise]," said Calicdan. "Hinde yun magbabago this year."

But instead of focusing on selling, ESGS are putting their efforts on giveaways, taking into consideration everyone's current status with the pandemic.

"What we are focusing now more is giveaways rather than selling. Simply because we wanted to make it as accessible and free to everyone who wants to join." said Go.

Calicdan raised the idea that people's current funds are their time in social media, rather than their finances. ESGS have giveaways that cater to this idea as to make the summit more enjoyable.

"People do not have to leave their homes to enjoy ESGS." reiterated Calicdan.

ESGS will be streamed via Facebook as one major show. ESGS also plans to use Twitch as an alternative platform, to cater to a more international audience.

"The dream has always been to put ESGS on the map, napupuntahan siya ng mga International publishers, "said Go. 

Which ESGS have started achieving since their 2018 summit until now with a live segment with game developer Square Enix having been announced for ESGS 2020.

The Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit, the country's biggest esports and gaming convention, will be live via Facebook on October 23 to 25. Tournaments, competitions and giveaway details as well as daily schedule of activities are all available via their Facebook page.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ESGSPhilippines
Twitter: https://twitter.com/esgsofficial
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/esgsofficial
Official hashtag: #GamingNeverStops and #ESGS2020

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