rAge is 12 years young and more awesome than ever having just won the Consumer Exhibition of the Year in the 6,000 sqm and above category at the annual EXSA (Exhibition & Event Association of Southern Africa) Awards, held on Wednesday evening in The Forum, Bryanston.
“It’s profound receiving an award like this for rAge” says Michael James, Senior Project Manager for rAge and publisher of NAG – SA’s leading gaming publication.
rAge – or the really AWESOME gaming expo, started as an event to showcase gaming trends in SA and to encourage more mainstream interest in this fun and entertaining sector. In its launch year in 2002, the expo drew a couple thousand people. Fast forward to 2014 and the number of expo visitors reached more than 30,000!
“rAge was just a cool idea to begin with all those years ago,” says James. “Ultimately it proves that you can turn thoughts into reality if you have the right team of people around you and the willingness to persevere and never give up no matter what.”
He emphasised that their success did not come overnight. “No nomination or award can ever capture all the blood, sweat and tears that go into making each event a reality.”
James thanked everyone involved in making rAge happen again this year – “from the person that hammers in that last nail all the way to my amazing team of incredible people without whom none of this would ever happen.”
The venue where rAge has been held since its inception, The Coca-Cola Dome, also won an award – theirs for the best venue. James gave a special thanks to them for their role in the success of the expo. “A special ‘tip of the hat’ goes to The Dome for winning best venue, the birthplace of rAge. This is an award they so rightly deserve. The best show at the best venue, what more can you ask for?”
He continued, “When we started the expo I worried about not taking up enough space, today I worry we don’t have enough space.”
From its humble beginnings rAge now also hosts the largest annual LAN event in the southern hemisphere and visitors travel from all over the country to attend. “They literally sleep outside the venue the night before the expo opens,” says James, highlighting the massive consumer appeal of the show.
This year the expo saw over 100 exhibitors with 19,553m² of exhibition floor space where gaming brands, new technology exhibitors, computer hardware vendors, competitive eSports events, retailers, and comic stores went big over the three days.
rAge reflects the growth of gaming worldwide and the expo has garnered much interest from brands and consumers as a result. Gaming is pursued by a diverse audience, with passionate hardcore and casual gamers eager to spend their disposable income on games and gadgets.
No surprise then that the expo has drawn more and more brands each year. “Globally, the industry has gained wide market appeal; more lifestyle brands have been eager to get on board and more consumers have been exposed to the wonderful world of gaming and technology.” concludes James.