Last weekend gamers from all over the country converged at the World Trade Center to be part of the Philippines’ first and biggest online gaming event, Level Up! (LU) Live 2009.
Thousands of people trooped to the venue to witness the culminating matches of nine prestigious nationwide tournaments, meet up with their guild friends, watch cosplayers compete and participate in side activities from their favorite games and the event’s sponsors lead by this year’s LU! Live presenter, Nokia. And they got all that—and a lot more.
The event was off to a fiery start with a unique opening number performed not by professional singers or dancers but by their fellow gamers—a first in Pinoy online gaming history. Dancing to the beat of popular tunes and game-inspired music mixed by Q-York DJ, Flava Matikz and choreography by Brewing Point dance coach and former Philippine All-Stars member, Prince Paltu-ob, close to 200 gamers surprised the audience with a Mob dance that personified the event’s theme: United We Play.
Soon after, Level Up! finally introduced, in a grand and explosive launch, its newest and highly-anticipated title—KOS: Secret Operations, an FPS online game powered by Valve Source engine, the same game engine that runs popular FPS games like Counterstrike and Half-life. But that wasn’t all there is to the grand unveiling—LU! Live 2009 also played host to Level Up!’s ninth tournament, a five-on-five competition where the best FPS team gets a lion’s share of its P50,000 pot money. The company also introduced its newest venture, Level Up! Global Games (LU/GG), which allows Pinoy gamers to play and load up their accounts on premium international online games such as SilkRoad, Deco, Neo Steam and DarkEden. A special activity for one of its steampunk-inspired MMORPG, Neo Steam, was done at the LU Café. Lucky gamers who tried out the game snagged limited edition Neo Steam items.
LU! Live 2009 also showed another face of the Level Up! gaming community—the one that’s ready and eager to help those in need. On the second day of the event, Level Up! and Gawad Kalinga representatives came onstage to share with the community news on GK Operation: Walang Iwanan—a fundraising campaign that aims to assist families affected by the recent onslaught of typhoons through the collective effort of the youth.
And as if those weren’t enough to please, the crowd was treated with performances by Astrojuan, I-ray, Gorgoro and the amusingly irreverent, Kamikazee. In-game items and mobile phone prizes were not at all wanting, as the attendees had almost every chance to bring something home at the end of the day—from an early bird contest, to OviMail pre-registration raffle, to an on-site registration raffle, to side events and activities at the venue.
LU! Live 2009 wouldn’t be complete without the community recognizing the best among its fold, the winning teams who have gone through almost six months of rigorous competition to capture the tournament crowns of Ragnarok Online, Rohan Online, RF Online, Perfect World, Flyff, Grand Chase, Crazy Kart and Freestyle. The awarding ceremonies also included a feature on this year’s Ragnarok World Championships (RWC) first runner-up winner and official Philippine representatives to RWC 2009, Team Influenza.
“Our company has been around for seven years now, introducing many firsts to the country and the industry—the first MMORPG, the first nationwide online gaming tournament, the first online gaming event.
But what truly puts us at the top of the heap are not just these firsts—it is our loyal community who has played and stayed with us from the start. The Level Up! community drives us to always shoot for excellence, for number one,” says Jane Cruz-Walker, Level Up! chief executive officer.
MOBILE APPLICATIONS COMPETITION
While gamers reveled at the World Trade Center, those more interested in developing applications and games gathered at the UP-AyalaLand TechnoHub Conference Room in Quezon City as IPVG Corp., Ayala Technology Business Incubator (TBI) and GlobeLabs launched MobileXtreme! The Big Apps Competition, a nationwide search for the most innovative mobile applications.
The competition will be spearheaded by the three companies and MegaMobile, the mobile communications business unit of IPVG. MegaMobile is the mobile service partner of content providers and communities, which include some of the biggest names in the publishing, online gaming, music and entertainment industries.
As an aggregator, MegaMobile welcomes mobile concepts and developed products (preferably the latter) for applications that run on the Java (J2ME) platform. The competition will be facilitated through an official web-based portal where contestants can upload their entries, which can consist of applications under the following categories:
Category 1: Games and Entertainment – Entertainment, fun and games
Category 2: Enterprise and Productivity —Enterprise and productivity solutions; applications that address business needs as well as home and work productivity needs of individuals Category 3: Cause-oriented—Cause-oriented applications, news and public service, applications that address needs of underserved and marginal sectors of society (ex: farmers, fishermen)
The competition will present a chance for developers to showcase original applications. The best entries will receive infrastructure support from IPVG to help develop their ideas into full blown commercial products, plus a chance to have their products launched commercially through IPVG and MegaMobile.
Category winners will also receive a bonus cash prize of P50,000 each.
The launch was graced by notable personalities in the world of business and information technology including IPVG President and Chief Executive Officer Enrique Gonzalez; MegaMobile President Manny Fernando; Ayala Foundation Executive Vice President Bill Luz; Ayala TBI Director Dickie Gonzalez; Gabby Dizon from the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP); and Sherwin Sowi, Head-Future Applications, GlobeLabs.
Entries can be uploaded at www.mobilextreme.ph, where online learning materials, discussions and forums will be held simultaneously during the competition period, which will run from November 2009 to February 2010. Deadline for submission of entries will be on January 10, 2010.