rAge 2018 saw 34,002 people pass through the doors of the Ticketpro Dome to witness an unrivalled spectacle of exquisite cosplay, fantastic games, and only the freshest geek culture memorabilia. Most importantly, rAge 2018 was testament to the fact that gaming, cosplay and tech are at the heart of a well-loved and ever-growing culture in South Africa.
That culture is also renowned for chewing through tremendous amounts of bandwidth! MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo and recorded a whopping 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – an absolutely astounding amount of data.
A quick look at the statistics for this year’s expo tells a story about this passionate, enthusiastic community. Anyone who took the time to head on over to rAge would’ve quickly found themselves immersed in nothing but warmth and dedication – not to mention the incredible tech and gaming merch on display.
“The floor plan was dramatically changed to allow for more breathing room. The LAN was repositioned, and by all accounts this went down well with our dedicated gamers and fans. We hosted a few large-scale casual esports tournaments that saw permanent queues the entire weekend, as well as some very happy winners,” commented Michael James, Senior Project Manager and owner of rAge.
“While figures were down slightly, this is something we anticipated as a result of new market entries such as Comic-Con playing in the same space so close to our dates. Everything considered though, the impact on rAge was negligible,” concludes James.
rAge is a place where people can come together and celebrate their mutual love of virtual adventure and outlandish fantasy, of worlds beyond our own that we’d otherwise never get the chance to experience. This is a community that celebrates its geekiness, and rAge is proud to provide a place for everyone to share in the revelry.
A prime example would be the scenario that unfolded at the Cosplay Skit Show, when Maoukami Cosplay proposed – on stage – to Chiaki Riku, to raucous cheers from the crowd!
More than 500 accredited media personnel attended the expo this year, acknowledging the fact that interest in this sphere is growing exponentially. There were more than 30 new and pre-released games on show between the numerous stands, as well as a veritable menagerie of gaming mementos that made for a collector’s utopia.
Many retailers reported selling out of stock on the first day and having to restock for the rest of the weekend. And that’s despite the fact that we’re technically in a recession.
The PlayStation stand was a roaring success – which is no surprise when you consider all the FIFA 19 action they had to offer. Over 1,200 players registered to compete in The PlayStation Cup visitor’s competition, and the winners walked away with some amazing rewards. PlayStation really took things to new heights with their stand for Marvel’s Spider-Man, which was designed to resemble a miniature version of New York’s iconic skyline.
Xbox brought their A-game, with an astounding 98 Xboxes on their stand for visitors to play on, showing off titles like the brand-new Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Forza Horizon 4, alongside many others. Assassin’s Creed in particular proved immensely popular with visitors. Xbox’s Fortnite Festival saw an overwhelming 1,845 visitors competing over the course of three days, once again proving the game’s seemingly endless allure.
Another highlight for the weekend was the home-coded stand, where local developers showcased their games to the public, some for the very first time. South African developer Robot Wizard’s Boet Fighter, was shown off to many eager boitjies and binnets at its demo launch. The game is a tongue-in-cheek reflection of the urban nightlife of Jo’burg, and in the words of the developers, gamers came to “klap those buttons like an MMA boet attacking a bus”. It’s a fantastic confirmation of South Africa’s ability to develop software that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with international titles.
Twitter blew up throughout rAge, with #rAgeexpo2018 trending for the entire weekend. Facebook and Instagram were also inundated with interest in the expo, garnering thousands of posts between them – including a stunning array of some of the finest cosplay this side of the Atlantic. The Table Realms app (a locally-developed platform via which you can play games on any device) trended at number 1 on the Google Play store over the weekend thanks to its presence at rAge.
Now let’s talk hauls. Attendees walked away with enough loot to put Blackbeard to shame. Hundreds of thousands of rands worth of prizes were given away. Memorabilia, mementos, cards, caps, figurines, tech, and a whole bunch more traded hands, ensuring most expo-goers left the show with heavy bags of free stuff.
rAge 2018 was something special. It once again offered a welcoming space for South Africa’s community of geeks to share their appetite for their favourite characters, games, rigs, software, hardware and meticulously-made costumes (which sometimes looked better than the originals). But just as importantly, rAge 2018’s numbers prove that this is an expanding arena in our country.
Stay tuned for rAge 2019, which is happening from 27 to 29 September 2019.