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Annual bastardisation of gaming, starting 2009

icon_newsI just got back from the “World Gaming Day” event, held at a mall in suburban Mumbai. Organised by Zapak, and partnered by Sony Ericcsson and Xbox 360, here’s a brief overview of how the event played out. Mind you, I didn’t sit through the whole press event, so my impressions are only limited till the point where myself and a few other journalists just couldn’t take it anymore and headed for the nearest exit.

It started with the introduction of Zapak.com as the be all and end all of gaming in India. They threw around some figures to reaffirm their superiority, which drew some applause from the audience. They also announced that Zapak is working on an MMO with UK-based CyberSports, but no details were given. Next, Sony Ericcsson chose to use “World Gaming Day” to launch its new phone; don’t know which one, but it featured motion controlled gaming. They too rambled on about how India is a young country and how gaming is about to grow by leaps and bounds. Gripping stuff.

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Microsoft’s new Entertainment & Devices Country Manager, Jaspreet Bindra, took to the stage next, but chose not too use the platform to make any major announcements. A wise decision because it may have given people the false impression that “World Gaming Day” was indeed about gaming. After that, it was back to Zapak, or rather to another subsidiary of ADAG – Big Pictures. This was the highlight of the show, and probably why every mainstream media publication showed up. The stars of an upcoming Big Pictures film were the chief guests at the event for some Q&A with the media.

That’s when we left, but not before I was forced to explain to a PR representative why sticking around to interview “Bollywood superstar” Madhavan didn’t exactly fill me with excitement. So that’s what “World Gaming Day” was all about – a place for Zapak to brag about being India’s no. 1 gaming destination, for Sony Ericcsson to launch a new phone, and for Big Pictures to promote a film that isn’t important enough to make me look through the press release and find its name.

Jaspreet spoke to a few journalists informally before the event kicked off and said that Microsoft’s involvement in “World Gaming Day” was simply a way to promote gaming in general and not necessarily to sell his product. While the intentions were commendable, the result was an event that no Xbox 360 owner should find him/herself within a mile radius of. “World Gaming Day” wasn’t about gaming, and it wasn’t global. It was just a day; one that a few corporates used to market their products to the youth under the guise of gaming.

Gamers everywhere, mark your calendars. From this day on, the 12th of February isn’t just two days before Valentine’s Day; it’s “World Gaming Day”.

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