Whether you are a game developer or game publisher, or whether you are in game marketing or make a game engine, game industry events are incredibly important for you. In this post, we summarise what the key game industry events of 2014 will be based on our experience of 2013.
2013 has been an incredible year for GameSparks and for the game industry in general … oh .. and probably Supercell most of all, right? (well done lads on that $1.5Bn dollar deal!). As we come towards the end of it, I thought it would be a good time to recap on which of the major game events we found the most beneficial and therefore which ones we are prioritising for 2014. It probably needs to be pointed out that, given our startup status (recently listed in Develop Magazine’s list of top 100 European Startups), we have biased our attendance on events closer to home but given the awesome customers we are dealing with further afield we are going to spread our wings a bit further this year and get ourselves over to heavenly places like the West Coast, USA and hopefully China too.
Although some of these events are better than others and certainly some are more fun than others, it probably makes the most sense to organise this by walking through the calendar and tell you what we are attending in 2014 and why.
If you are into the business of mobile games particularly, then PocketGamer is probably the best online news source and for the first time, they are putting on this great event in London in January. OK – so its the first and we have no real sense of how good it is going to be but we did attend a couple of other PocketGamer events in 2013 (Big Indie Pitch amongst them) and they were great! This event is going to be a good fit for both the Indies and the larger studios and the particular theme; ‘East meets West’ is very apt for 2014 when GameSparks hopes to plant roots in both markets. We are pleased to say we will be exhibiting and speaking at this.
In January, we are also going to be attending the Mobile Game Forum, also in London on the 22/23rd as, quite simply, the lineup and agenda is excellent. It means that week is going to be a hard one but what the heck – may as well start the year in the way we mean to continue. I was really hoping not to have to check into a recovery clinic until at least the day after Paddy’s Day.
There are 4 of these bad boys over the course of the year and they span the globe. This event brings together the biggest players in casual games with the indies for 3 days of discussion, round table and parties. There are always parties. Its a good event to catch up on whats going on and what others are doing. We are going to give it a whirl this year and hopefully get a speaking slot at it … we like indies.
Looks like that’s it for February. This year there was also GIG2013 but can’t see one of these scheduled for the new year.
What a way to spend St Patrick’s week! We are aiming to be out at this with our good friends from UKie. GDC is the daddy of game developer events and we are delighted to be heading to the West Coast US for this one. The trouble with this event is everyone in the company wants to come but sadly cannot. Come January, we will start putting a lot of effort into maximising the usefulness of this event. San Francisco is a great town and a lot of fun to party in but this is also a great occasion to hook up with a lot of GameSparks’ friends and family and do some real business.
April seems to have a lot of smaller events. We have been attending the F2P Summit the last couple of times and it is usually very interesting in terms of the speaker line up. This year we are going to try and get a speaking slot ourselves based around a case study of one of our customers that make heavy use of our analytics, eCommerce and player management functionality to monetise their game.
Like I said, there are lots of events in April, typically, and we will also try and attend Quo Vadis in Berlin (April 8-10th). Germany is an important market for us and we are looking forward to spending a lot more time over there this year. Good games, good beer .. what’s not to like?
In May we love the Game Horizon event in Newcastle. This event is put on each year by Charles Cecil and is a great opportunity to sit in on some real thought provoking stuff and get lost for a few hours in this great industry. There will be a sprinkling of good case studies like earlier this year Barry Meade from Fireproof spoke about The Room. By the way, The Room Two has apparently just been released today. We also had talks about robots and sexism and other diverse subjects. We love this event – we wouldn’t miss it.
This year we did end up partying quite hard with our friends (and customers) over at Lemon Moose Games who are based near by. Yeah .. its all coming back to me now. What a city!
OK, I have to confess we not signed up for this one yet but lets face it … Canada has an epic games pedigree and we see a lot of them travel over to our events over here so we are strongly thinking about it. Of course the E3 summit is also on this month and we normally watch that on our computers and ooh and aaah at all the latest blockbuster title releases that are demonstrated.
June used to have Rezzed too but this has moved to March so perhaps we will focus this month on some of the more regional events. Our friends over at GameDevNorth had an event in Leeds in June this year so helpfully there will be another one of those.
Develop, 8-10th July, Brighton
I love Develop. There is not a lot to see online about the forthcoming event in 2014 yet but we know its on and will begin making plans to exhibit as soon as details are made available. This is a great conference. Earlier this year, our friends at Perforce (www.perforce.com), invited us to attend the awards dinner which was excellent and we continued partying until the very early hours of the morning in this fantastic seaside town. Brighton has it all and we are looking forward to the next one.
GamesCom is special for us. It’s where we unveiled our platform for the first time. We hope to, once again, exhibit with our UKie friends who are apparently planning an even bigger stand then last year. C’mon Ireland – what we doing about this? Would it be weird if Ireland exhibited with UKie? Yeah … forget it. It would. It would just confuse everyone after all these years. Maybe it was the excitement of our platform unveiling or whatever, but the GameSparks team got less sleep over the 3-4 days of this event than ever before. Certain people missed whole nights’ worth of sleep. Not next time … team is getting older and more responsible. Couple of beers in the old part of the town and then early to bed.
Yeah … right!
This is the re-branded Eurogamer Expo and actually not a typical event for us as its really where the general public queue up to play the latest blockbuster titles. However, there are normally a handful of smaller events that are more for developers scheduled around this such as the Game Horizon Investment summit and Pocketgamer’s Big Indie Pitch. So we will definitely be in London around this time and if nothing else will use the time to drop in our friends / customers in Shoreditch and Soho.
The rest of the year gets a little hazy. Not through any fault of our own – its just that its too early for the events to be nailed down. In 2013, we attended Gaming World in late October – this could well be moving to November in 2014. There is an excellent Dublin event called Sate of Play which was awesome this year and showcased some incredible new games coming out of Ireland. Then of course, the year is wrapped up by Games Connection in Paris which we have just come back from. This is an excellent event with a slightly different format but which works really well for a company like us so definitely booking up this as soon as we know the details.
In addition to all these major events, we will of course be attending a whole host of other smaller events put on by a lot of our affiliates and friends in UK, Ireland and further afield.
As we draw a curtain on 2013, I for one can say I am REALLY looking forward to 2014. Bring it on folks – Look forward to doing it all again!