Last weekend, the city flooded with a wave of almost 60000 fans of gaming gathered for the Poznań Game Arena fair. They came here to visit stands, view tournaments and cosplayers and attend various talks.
PGA, which took place between 24 and 26 October, was under such a massive siege for the first time. Compared to last year, there were almost eighteen thousand more people – on Saturday during peak hours there were long queues in front of the main entrance.
This year’s edition was not only surprising in terms of numbers of fans and creators of computer games. Almost every day at the fair was full of attractions prepared by organizers and exhibitors especially for the visitors. Each of four huge halls created its own little town where you could take part in numerous tournaments, compete for award, play the latest games or just buy a new game and computer equipment with a big discount.
Many manufacturers of peripherals such as Mad Catz, Natec Genesis, Speedlink, SteelSeries, Cooler Master, Roccat, Tesoro participated in PGA. Each of company allowed its guests to try out their equipment. Enthusiasts of mobile devices could spend long hours testing the Nvidia Shield tablet at the Nvidia stand.
There were also many places for console gamers. They had an opportunity to test Microsoft’s next-gen console – Xbox One. They could also play pre-release versions of Sunset Overdrive and Assassin’s Creed Unity on Xbox One.
Leading game publishers did also not disappoint the crowds. CD Projekt, Gaijin Entertainment, Microsoft, Nintendo, Techland, Ubisoft and Wargaming presented their games. Everybody was able to participate in the game shows of DyingLight, Hellraid, War Thunder and Earthcore: Shattered Elements on the main stage of PGA. The indisputable stars of the exhibition were CD Projekt Red which was tantalizing with a sneak preview of The Witcher III, enriched with a Percival’s concert and Techland with Sniper Elite III: Afrika, presentation of which took a form of… beating the Guiness’ World Record in longest non-stop gaming by a Polish gamer – Hubert “Gordon” Blejch.
On Wargaming’s huge stand, we were able to participate in the “Rumble in The West” tournament, in which four excellent teams tackled each other in World of Tanks. The prizes were worth fighting for- the total prize pool was $50000, half of which was taken by the team “Schoolbus”, which was representing the European server. In addition, there was the Cybersport League final, as well as tournaments in: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Warface, War Thunder, Titanfall, Borderlands 2 and Dying Light. Players following technical innovations or showing unusual levels skill were rewarded with cool gadgets at smaller competitions.
Crowds gathering at the stands have positively surprised the exhibitors: “From year to year, we see a substantial increase in interest in gaming in Poland. This year our stands at the fair survived a real siege”- said Cezary Górny, the Managing Director of Entrymedia- the company responsible for marketing of the most famous gamer brands in Poland.
However, Poznań Game Arena is not only an opportunity to play the latest games or participate in tournaments. At every corner and at every booth you could find amazing creations of cosplayers who amazed everyone not only with their ability to impersonate their favourite character but also let the visitors admire the beauty of their handmade costumes. Many of them competed against each other during the Sunday Cosplay Show in which cosplays of League of Legends characters were the most popular among the crowd. People who are planning to create a costume for the next edition of the festival could practice under the eye of experienced cosplayers at the Dremel booth.
Fans of indie games certainly found their heaven in the Zone of Independent Game Creators, where larger and smaller productions were presented by friendly developers not only from Poland, but also from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and France. There was also retro gaming corner located in the same hall.
People interested not only in playing games but also creating them had the opportunity to take place in interesting talks on the ZTG – GameDev Convention, to which various artists were invited from all over the world.
Poznań Game Arena ended on Sunday around 18:00. A large group of exhibitors from all around the world, interesting talks and a massive crowd of gamers of all ages have proved that the gaming industry in Poland is not only growing rapidly, but also has a lot of potential for players and developers. Let’s hope that this trend will not die out and that the next year’s fair will attract even more interesting people and will have an equally impressive outcome.