Vodacom rAge 2019 saw four days of setup, 69 solid hours of LAN gaming, an entire day to break down and many kilometres worth of fibre, network cable, power cables and steps walked all over the Ticketpro Dome, as well as over 30,000 cold drinks and 1,635 kgs of chips consumed.
From robotics and other cutting-edge tech to celebrity appearances and action-packed esports tournaments, Vodacom rAge 2019 had it all. The atmosphere was electric (in some cases, literally), and likeminded fans from all over South Africa came through en masse to dress up, shop, play and take in the fantastic sights.
South Africa’s biggest annual video gaming, computer, technology and geek culture exhibition once again transformed the Ticketpro Dome into a 17,483sqm galaxy of geek over the weekend of 27-29 September. With an increase in visitor numbers, 35 615 people found their happy place among the stands, stalls and stages.
The creative genius of Artists’ Alley showcased its share of amazing South African creative talent, including Steampunk and cosplay fashion designer Sin-Bin, local author Chantelle Roberts, and one of SA’s international comic art sensations, Warren Louw.
There were many firsts for South African gaming and geek culture this year. The first ever NAG LAN Super Pass was introduced, allowing 150 die-hard gamers early access on Thursday evening, before the rest of the LANners joined them early on Friday morning.
There was also an exclusive Streamers’ Zone – an online sharing hub for fans to broadcast up-to-the-minute video and content in streamer booths. For the younger members of the family, there was the vibrant Kidz Kage play area.
Counter Strike: Global Offensive fans got to see South Africa’s CS:GO elite competing for a prize pool of R 150 000 and the ASUS ROG Invitational Trophy. Eight teams played their hearts out, but only one could emerge victorious. And after one of the toughest challenges ever, Goliath Gaming walked away with the ultimate prize in front of a capacity crowd.
For the first time ever, the World Robotic Olympiad (WRO) came to the expo and brought together some of the smartest young minds in the country, to show off their amazing brain power and problem-solving skills at the WRO robotics competition. Locally, five provincial events took place and the top-nine national qualifying teams who won across the different categories at Vodacom rAge this year will head off to compete at the WRO International in Hungary.
Over the last 17-years, the annual NAG LAN has become one of the most anticipated events at Vodacom rAge, and this year’s turnout to southern Africa’s largest BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer/Console) event once again proved that.
NAG LAN sponsors Nutanix, MWEB, Aruba and My Sky Networks made sure the NAG LAN was consistently connected and glitch-free. Collectively, 3,252 Counter Strike: Global Offensive games were played for 2,925 hours, 1,838 DOTA games were played for a total of 2,281 hours and 645 Playerunknown’s Battleground games were played for 522 hours over the weekend.
Exhibitors at Vodacom rAge this year saw record attendance and sales at their stands.
Imran Sorathia, Managing Director, from premium computer and gaming supplier Evetech said, “It has always been an absolute pleasure to exhibit at the Vodacom rAge Expo. At Evetech, we pride ourselves on establishing relationships with our customers, not seeing them as just a ‘target audience’.
“Vodacom rAge is the perfect opportunity for us to not only get a better understanding of what our customers enjoy, but also to gain some insight into what they expect from us.
“Evetech made the decision not to sell any products at the Vodacom rAge Expo 2019, as we wanted to emphasise the real gaming experience, allowing people to test all the peripherals and to get a sense of what they enjoy using. It was a unique opportunity for customers to “try before they buy”, which is quite rare.”
Belinda Marais, Marketing Manager from Acer Predator commented, “Vodacom rAge Expo 2019 was every gamer’s dream! The energy was electric, and the gaming experiential stations were world-class. Predator will definitely be back next year!”
Cosplayers came out in full force to show off their impressive and detailed costumes on the Cosplay Stage and in Sunday’s Cosplay Parade. The Best In Show for the Vodacom 4U Cosplay Contest this year went to Maoukami Cosplay who cosplayed as Katsuki Bakugou (My Hero Academia).
Overall, the Vodacom rAge Expo 2019 was a colossal success, with gamers, geeks, cosplayers, fans and supporters going large at the Ticketpro Dome this year. Vodacom rAge is going strong and the organisers are looking forward to another great expo next year.
Thank you to Vodacom and all the sponsors and exhibitors for their part in Vodacom rAge’s #17yearsofawesome.