So I wanted to air some of the thoughts in my head after the long Easter weekend I have just had at Multiplay’s Insomnia Gaming Festival, i54. Now it isn’t my first event, but it is my first iSeries at the new venue of the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. I haven’t been to an iSeries since Spring 2013, so this may be old news, but I am disappointed to see what I see as the decline of a gaming festival.
Now sure, on paper I would imagine the festival is booming, going from strength to strength. Numbers through the doors have to be high, as it was one of the busiest iSeries I’ve ever attended.
And I know I’m going to sound like a grumpy old man (In the interest of being open, I’m 25) but the event was full of children. I guess that is what keeps the light bulbs on. (much to the displeasure of the gamers in the halls)😉
But it just feels like a huge shift of focus. I’m not going to air my views on individual streamers, and I can only tip my hat to those there who obviously have a huge following and must have made some very nice takings, if the number of t-shirts and hoodies of a certain brand that adorned those wearing day visitor passes is anything to go by. Those along with an abundance of foam, pixelated swords and pick axes defined what was clearly a good business choice.
However to me, with a heavy bias towards esports and competitive gaming can’t help but be disappointed with how the main stage wasn’t used at all for any of the competitions or casting, no, we were shoe-horned into a small underground room, out of sight and out of mind it feels.
As I said, I’m not stupid, and I’m not blind, the revenue being generated by having these attractions at the event is very clearly working and great for business. Now I’m not saying to do away with these other things, as much as I may like to, I know for events to keep going and evolving things have to change. But I would like to see the esports and more ‘hardcore’ scene being showcased, there is an excellent chance to show and gain interest from young blood whilst they are all gathered around waiting for their favorite minecraft streamer to sign their t-shirt or autograph book.
However I can’t help but worry that in the future, especially now MPUK is owned by GAME, we may see even more of a shift away from the origins of LAN parties, the BYOC gamers and gaming; not “celebrity” streamers come rappers and anything to shift more merchandise.
I sincerely hope that iSeries doesn’t just become a glorified Meet & Greet in the coming years.
(Just for the record I really enjoyed the event and had a great weekend and I am sure I will keep attending.)