Welcome to this week's Spotlight Saturday. Every Saturday we will look to spotlight different gaming companies, organizations, or top news. DM us on Discord or Twitter if you have any other topics you would like us to cover!
This week, we're highlighting the Gaming Community Expo.
Today's Drop is a ~4 min read!
What is GCX
Florida’s Largest Gaming Expo Begins!
The Gaming Community Expo (GCX) 2021 began on June 17th with the goal to raise at least $4 million for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The Expo launched in 2015, formerly GuardianCon, primarily centered around the game Destiny, and it grew so large that by 2019 the Expo decided to rebrand to focus on gaming in general. Last year's expo was canceled dueo to the pandemic, and so this year, people were wondering how the expo would react to the ongoing logistic restrictions. While we are in a much better state than last year, organizing a full convention may not the best idea right now, and while a physical expo will always be a long-term mainstay, we in the gaming community are no strangers to leveraging technology, innovating in unique ways to accomplish our goals.
The 2021 Expo
Charity Director and GCX Co-Founder Ben Bowman, AKA Professor Broman, with Rare Drop, the company that runs the Expo, put together a plan to both honor the the 2020 tickets that sold last year while also opening the event to as many people as possible. With scalability in mind, a digital space made the most sense to accomodate all, and with gaming as a framing focus, the idea of a virtual open-space setting fit the mold quite nicely.
What did the team at GCX decide to do? They doubled down on the virtual experience. GCX did not just plan to have the Expo online in Zoom, but they decided to build a virtual Space Station inside of Unreal Engine 4. In this expansive virtual space, fans can attend creator meet and greets, game presentations, artists booths, and anything that would be in their physical venue. Attendees can create avatars and use either proximity or global chat to interact with other fans and booths. There are DND events and Warframe tournaments to provide a variety of options for all the attendees. G4 will be on the main stage this weekend to promote the launch later this year
Fundraising for a great cause. People paid $50 to board the Space Station, however there are additional ways to be part of this unique experience. In 4 hour blocks, there are a variety of streamers who are fundraising for St. Jude’s Children Hospital. While the main stage events are from June 17th – June 19th, these streams started on June 13th and do not end until June 20th. That means over 30 streamers all working hard to help this incredible cause. Ninja, AnneMunition and Ekuegan are just a few who have streamed throughout the week with Dr. Lupo ending this massive event on Sunday at 12:00pm.
If you are interested in seeing the full list of streamers check it out here! While most of these streamers have finished their part, it is still a fantastic list of great creators if you are looking for new people to watch. As of writing this article, the team has raised just over of $3.6 million of their target, and it is exciting to see how much they will raise when Dr. Lupo closes out the marathon tomorrow. With an entire day to go, we're expecting to see them more than surpass their goal for yet another year, more than compensating for last year's necessary cancelation. Seeing such an organization continue to succeed in an unfavorable environment means more than just dollars contributed. It's a statement on the gaming community overall, and highlights how willing we are to commit to a cause we believe in; something every gamer can relate to.
The 2021 Expo
GCX seems to really have nailed the virtual experience. In an environment where both virtual and hybrid events have been leveraged to accomodate a slew of other traditionally physical mainstays, seeing how people adapted to providing great services with current global event is truly inspiring. GCX is already planning their in person event in Orlando on June 11th and 12th 2022, and if you live in the Orlando area or just curious to see how the Expo runs you can buy tickets now for 22% for a limited time.
What will the success of the virtual expo experience mean for future events? Only time will tell, but with digital scalability raising the ceiling for what charitable services are able to accomplish in an unfavorable environment, we haven't seen the last of such an innovative approach, and look forward to what this will spawn for endeavors in both GCX and the world at large.
That's all for today Quick Droppers, enjoy your weekend and we'll catch you on Monday.
Daily Drop Credit: Carmine and the Founders.