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Cape Town gets two gaming expos

rAge Cape Town.jpg

When EGE announced in March that they're attempting the impossible; a Gaming and Tech Expo in Cape Town, many said, "it will never happen." But they did it anyway, and showed that "Cape Town's Gaming Expo does have an EGE." I never thought I'd write these words, but from 2016, Cape Town will get two Gaming and Tech Expos.

The official rAge Cape Town announcement via NAG.

"rAge will mean two different things in two different parts of the country, but the focus at both will be gaming, NAG LANs and other geeky pastimes. rAge Cape Town will take place on Friday 18 March to Sunday 20 March 2016 at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Goodwood. The NAG LAN in Cape Town will kick off at the same time in the same venue."

I can't help but ask, why now? According to the announcement, the closing of NAG magazine played a major role in the decision. The rAge team has also been working on a Cape Town rAge since 2008.

“The closure of NAG magazine has allowed us the time and resources needed to expand the rAge footprint into Cape Town."

If you’re asking about actively planning, it has probably been just over a year, but since 2008 we’ve been considering and talking and arguing and trying to figure out a way to make a Cape Town expo work. I’ve always been careful when asked about rAge Cape Town in the past because I wasn’t sure if we could pull it off, and I’m always hesitant to do something unless it’s representative of the quality experience we have in Johannesburg."

Johnny Malherbe and his EGE team paid the price to launch Cape Town's first Gaming Expo. In fact, EGE ran the first Cape Town Expo with almost no big names on board! So naturally, the big question is if South African distributors will support rAge in March (18-20) and EGE in July (29-31).

Here's what Malherbe had to say about EGE 2015 distributor support.

"Retailers were indeed scarce at the 2015 event, as well as some big name distributors. Do you think it’s going to be easier to have them on board next year? 

We were very worried because this is a critical area. However we did find a few exhibitors to retail, but this is certainly high on our 2016 agenda. We certainly hope that the big distributors and retailers visited EGE 1 and saw that they missed a huge opportunity because despite their absence EGE 1 was still a major success. I would like to invite them – one and all - to embrace EGE going forward and give The Western Cape gaming community a showcase they so desperately have needed. This is not us as organisers saying this - EGE 1 proved it."

You can read more about it in "Cape Town's Gaming Expo: EGE - The numbers, challenges and what's next."

I caught up with Zaid Kriel, EGE spokesperson to hear their thoughts about rAge coming to town.

"Rage coming to Cape Town doesn't worry us. EGE has proven, definitively, that Cape Town wanted an event like this, so Rage making a play is just smart business sense."

Johny Malherbe, MD of Impact Exhibitions, "I do find it interesting that the argument has always been that an event like this couldn't work in Cape Town. I guess that has changed."

Clint O'Shea ran the eSports and gaming divisions at EGE 2015. I asked him if the March rAge Expo will have an impact on the July EGE expo.

"For the community, more is always great. The rAge event will sit between two other big Cape Town geek events - UCON and Free Comic Book Day.

However, I believe it will have an impact on EGE, as both are expos that rely on major exhibitors. I'm pretty sure the South African distributors will have to choose which is more beneficial to them. On the other hand, EGE in 2015 did set a fair amount of focus on eSports, which is something that is being expanded in 2016. As to whether Cape Town itself will support two major events in a year (and whether going to Johannesburg will even be entertained) is questionable."

I agree with O'Shea, it's fantastic that Cape Town get's two gaming expos. Capetonians have certainly waited long enough. Two expos mean more people will be introduced to gaming, which can only be a good thing. I hope Cape Town gamers grab both opportunities and that they don't pick one over the other. It will be very interesting to see if the likes of Megarom, Sony and Microsoft, to name but a few distributors, will attend both shows.

With the announcement of rAge 2016 Cape Town comes the opportunity to grow gaming in South Africa in a way we've never been able to before. Three major game expos in one year people! I hope the gaming media, local distributors, industry people and most of all, the gaming community support both events. 

What's your thoughts on rAge coming to Cape Town? Here's what you can expect for rAge 2015.

Han: Twitter / MWEB GameZone: Twitter | Facebook

"EGE has proven, definitively, that Cape Town wanted an event like this"

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