Our neighbours down south just made a continent-shaking announcement: the creators of Anime Festival Asia and GameStart Asia (SOZO and Eliphant respectively) will be joining forces to  “develop ACG (Anime, Cosplay, Gaming) contents in SE Asia” and create new events in Southeast Asia.

For those not familiar, Anime Festival Asia is an anime (duh) convention that happens in Singapore end of November, while GameStart Asia is a game-centric convention that happens in October. Naturally this sounds like a great fit since both these exhibitions are of high quality –most of the time. That bit where Nier Automata director Yoko Taro came down for GameStart Asia last year? SOZO had a lot to do with that, so this announcement came full circle.

I do wonder, however, if booth space and exhibitions will cost higher this time around for their respective events. Unless the SEA division of exhibitor company ReedPOP has anything to say or announce at this point in time, SOZO and Eliphant are right now the de facto anime and games expo juggernauts in Singapore. If we’re talking Southeast Asia, that still remains to be seen.

In any case, the regional anime, comics, and games scene is just about to get interesting, that’s for certain. Full press release is below, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Singapore, 28 February 2017SOZO, organiser of Southeast Asia’s largest Japanese pop culture event Anime Festival Asia (AFA), and Eliphant, organiser of Southeast Asia’s premier gaming convention GameStart, have announced that both entities will form a strategic alliance to further strengthen existing events, and to create and develop new events in Asia.

The SOZO and Eliphant alliance aims to be the first step to roll out an integrated support system to further strengthen the community. By leveraging their strengths as IP innovators and event trailblazers, SOZO and Eliphant hope to provide new and inspiring ways for fans to enjoy their hobbies in gaming, animation and beyond.

With the support of SOZO, who has already established their presence in Indonesia, 2018 will mark the very first regional expansion of GameStart as they launch their very first: GameStart Indonesia. AFA will continue hosting its key events in both Indonesia and Singapore and hope to introduce more gaming content as part of their content offerings.

“Southeast Asia emerges as one of the fastest growing markets for gaming and content, we recognised that both AFA and GameStart audiences have diverse interests in both gaming and anime. With our partnership, we hope to work closely to bring even more exhilarating content and holistic experiences to both fanbases across the regions,” said Shawn Chin, Managing Director of SOZO and founder of Anime Festival Asia.

“We are extremely excited to be able to bring our event to various regions, with the support of our partners. We are determined to support the regional gaming industry, especially in esports and game development. We are positive that our partnership will provide more events and enable us to bring awesome content to both gamers and anime fans, ” said Elicia Lee, founder of GameStart Asia and CEO of Eliphant Pte Ltd.

As of 1st March 2018, both SOZO and Eliphant have moved to a new office premise together to further strengthen their alliance. Organisers expect an exciting year ahead and look forward to announcing more about 2018 calendar of events in the upcoming weeks.

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