Last updated: 13 March 2023

Published on: 19 October 2016


Unite Singapore and GameStart 2016 provide a glimpse of Singapore’s growing and buzzing gaming scene.

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Participants at Unite Singapore got to try out local games in the Made with Unity showcase. (Photo credit: Unity Technologies)

By Reena Nathan

Will a horror game or movie give you the same physical and emotional reactions as being in a real-life horrific situation? “Horror games and movies can be very scary, but horror virtual reality (VR) will take you beyond that,” said Mr Willy Wong, Co-Founder of Kaiju Den.

The Singapore-based company specialises in developing VR games and hopes to blaze a trail in creating immersive worlds that will take gamers’ sensory experiences to new levels. They were one of more than 780 game and cross-sector professionals that were at Unite Singapore 2016.

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Organised by Unity Technologies, Unite Singapore was held on our shores for the very first time on 3 – 4 October 2016. The conference featured hands-on workshops, expert talks and Made with Unity Showcase Awards.

Another local company that took the spotlight at Unite Singapore was Gattai Games, one of the biggest winners at the event. The Singapore-based indie game studio bagged two out of four awards – Best Gameplay and Viewers Choice – at the Made with Unity Showcase Awards for its game, Stifled, a VR sound-based stealth thriller.

The event, held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, also gave game developers a chance to take the Unity Certification Exam in Singapore – an initiative born out of a recent partnership between Unity Technologies and the Infocomm Media Development Authority. More than 75% of participants who took the exam passed, becoming Singapore’s first batch of Unity-certified developers.

Hafiz Yet is one of them. The student and teaching assistant at DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore believes that the Unity certificate is a good starting point for those looking to enter the gaming industry. “The certificate is proof that I have the necessary ‘Unity’ knowledge and skills, and will make it easier for future employers to gauge my abilities,” he said.

Less than a week later, the gaming community regrouped; this time, at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre for GameStart 2016. Its founder, Elicia Lee, promised “bigger and better” – and she delivered, with more than 20,000 participants from 30 countries, up from 17,000 in 2015.

Demos were the mainstay of this year’s GameStart experience, from Microsoft’s Xbox Final Fantasy XV and FIFA 17, to Bandai Namco Entertainment’s Tekken 7 and Little Nightmares.

Singapore gaming firms, too, did not disappoint. At the event’s “Founders Base” section, indie game developers such as Rock Nano Global attracted a large fan-base of local gamers, cosplayers and curious spectators. The company’s real-time strategy card game, ArmaGallant, was a hit with cosplayers. “Our game features multiple characters, costumes and accessories, making it ideal for cosplay ideas and innovations,” said Darren Quek, Producer, Rock Nano Global.

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But more than that, the event was a platform to get feedback on the latest version of ArmaGallant. “It’s a way for us to get in touch with the local community, find out what they like and what they don’t like, and study what industry heavyweights like PlayStation are doing,” Darren added.

For local mobile game developer, Inzen Studio, GameStart was an opportunity to broaden the company’s network. “It provided a platform for us to get to know and build relationships with other industry players, and check out games from all over the world to get a sense of upcoming trends,” said Hoo Jia Ling, the company’s Co-Founder and Vice-President, International Partnerships.

Some of the other highlights included the Southeast Asia Major 2016, which made its first Singapore debut at GameStart and drew international game producers such as Street Fighter V’s Yoshinori Ono.

For more pictures of the event, check out GameStart’s photo album here