Getting to see good technology (or gaming) expos in India is a hit and miss. Despite claims made via official Press Releases, it looks as if everyone is forced to be in an expo, resulting in uninteresting presentation, lack of presentation, lack of communication between curious and interested people and the company folks, random things that doesn’t make sense, barely any preparation on day 1 and packing up on the last day. It’s nothing new here in India. The last good expos that I’ve been was the PlayStation Experience 2007 (pre-BBQ days) and the first ComIT expo. The second ComIT expo was sharing space with a more interesting sofa and chair expo. The one after that got cancelled.
Despite years have passed, I get to see the same. Stuff Gadget Expo 2015 is as ridiculous as it can get. For a Rs. 200 entry fee, you get to see the Autocar expo first- with no indication of the gadget show expo entrance whatsoever. After creeping through the crowded car expo which was filled with pseudo-hipsters and middle-aged guys with tight pants (facepalm) taking selfies and self portrait that reminds me of this one distant relative that takes self portraits with every car he could find in Dubai (not that it’s wrong with it, but c’mon!!). The bike expo was a bit calm. After zig-zagging through all that, you finally get to see the so-called gadget expo. A small space where there was no more than six stalls. Few folks managed to pull in some crowd, but it really looked stupid. The food section was bigger than that and that would look more impressive.
All hopes were on IGX. But only because other expos and booths failed miserably to a point that it wasn’t worth talking or going to it.
I’ll give few credits to IGX 2015 organizers. They attracted a large crowd. Not just any crowd- the right audience. Ranging between kids followed by their dad coming for a good time to college pass outs who are in the process of looking out for jobs. The ones I spoke to didn’t necessarily own a console but do play a lot of games, some preferring PCs over the consoles. There were two tournaments (WWE 2K16 and Mortal Kombat X) but there were many consoles games put up for display, including the PES 2016 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
Almost all setups were for PlayStation4 consoles. I did see one Xbox 360 gathering dust somewhere. One of the section was supposed to be ‘destined’ for PC gaming with Witcher III and did have one unit of Oculus Rift, but it wasn’t even set up despite few hours passed on. The best part about the consoles section is that were all set even before the entire event started. Not having it setup on time is definitely not an excuse.
The back area had three PC-relevant stalls. The first one is SMC international that displayed a couple of MSI gaming notebooks, few products from Cooler Master power supply, G Skill memory kits and something else. This would have been a good spot to have some case mods displayed like how Cooler Master did in a particular event up north. When speaking with someone, I was told that few PC companies didn’t show interest because they were more engaged with Diwali preparations. This would have been a good platform for such companies. Such a shame…
Towards the opposite, there was a much smaller setup by a custom system builder called Cezor, who displayed a few hardware from Razer and Zotac, with a couple of setups.
The rest? Nothing really out of the ordinary. There was this one setup from an unknown company called Natec which had a CS (it looked like 1.6) match(?) setup. Another setup with a Logitech driving wheel and pedals and a couple of places selling t-shirts, collectables, swags and games.
What really did peak my interest (and I wasn’t able to take photographs because there was a lot of crowd blocking the view) was what Absentia booth had. It’s a Bangalore-based company which has two VR headsets with two different resolution of 1080p and another with 1440p, priced for Rs. 12,000/- and Rs. 20,000/-. You can out more in their website which displayed the required information. If you happen to be in Bangalore, you can request for as demo too.
IGX 2015 is a good sight- though it looks more like an unofficial ‘PlayStation Experience’ in most cases. Sure, it was a small space with few AAA PS4 titles and one ‘Just Dance 2016), overcrowded and chaotic on day 1 but it was much better than the crap I ended up seeing before. I do wish the Oculus setup was ready at the time when were coming in because the folks who came in early simply left 2-3pm. Some really wish there was more of PC gaming content and actual hardware being displayed there. Few of them said that they were out of touch with PC hardware and wouldn’t mind seeing something new. Absentia Virtual Reality did pull in such crowd and if there were PC hardware companies actively involved, it would have been the same scenario. But keeping everything ready at the beginning is what makes a strong impression.