A summary of the GamesCom 2009 in Cologne
From Umeå to the Nordic Game conference in Malmö and finally at Gamescom, Europe's largest trade show and business network event.
Emanuel, Matti and Mattias set off with the purpose of bringing the nordic region to the internationell market by informing about the growing audio visual industry in Umeå and by launching some of the games and products that have been developed in Umeå and the nearby region.
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Emanuel Dohi from Codemill AB has together with Matti Larsson from Zordix AB and Mattias Holmgren from Morningdew Media attended Gamescom and GDC Europe in Cologne, Germany.
The Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany, August 18-22, is the major European business meeting place for the games industry. To get the best out of Gamescom, we first visited the Nordic Game show in May.
Gamescom in figures:
A total of 458 companies from 31 countries took part in Gamescom 2009.
The conference was held on a gross floor space of 120,000 square metres where Germany had 248 exhibitors and 11 additionally represented companies. From the rest of the world, 199 exhibitors and 2 additionally represented companies.
Visitor figures came to 17,000 trade visitors and 228,000 end consumers.
Leipzig was last year's show
Mattias Holmgren from Morningdew Media visited the Leipzig Games Covention (GC) show last year. His immediate reflection was that even if Gamescom now has taken over as the ”big” event in Europe, it felt smaller than GC 2008 in Leipzig. Some things have grown bigger, Nintendo for instance, was well represented this year and had booked a whole hall of their own.
Gamescom was divided in two camps, one for business meetings and collaboration and one for exhibitors to show off the latest to the end consumers and the press. Since we wanted to develop an international network we spent most of our time in the business area as ambassadors that represented our northern region on this international market. To make sure we got the most out of the business area we set up meetings with several companies, agents and publisher beforehand.
Spreading the word
We took the opportunity to get to know international players, such as agents, business developers, publishers and other game development studios in the industry and to inform them about FilmArc and the newly created association, Umea-CIA (Umeå Creative Industry Association) and the posibillities of collaborating with us. We announced that Umea-CIA is a network for the creative industry in Umeå, with main focus on digital and interactive media production. The purpose of the association is to strengthen the many companies and individuals in the region by empowering business openings, share news, information and announcements, in particular about events related to the industry.
The trade show
Gamescom has certainly been a success for the Umeå based companies. Several of the many agents and large companies that we met have responded positivly on the possibility to cooperate with game companies and the digital industry of Umeå. Among the many things discussed was developer licences for gaming platforms, and meetings were held with representatives from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo respectively.
The representatives from the console world told their view on suitable business models for launching titles on their platforms. This and other information from the show will now be transmitted to the companies that have emerged in the region over the past years, and hopefully give them inspiration to take their products one step further.
Our nordic friends were there
Earlier this year during the Nordic Game conference in Malmö we met other FilmArc ambassadors. It was great to meet up with them once again at Gamescom to further strengthen the friendship between the finnish and swedish production companies.
A few of the nordic game companies and organisations stood out and need a special mention. The founders and the business developer from House of Marque, Jussi from Tounela Productions, Pasi that works as a creative industry and business developer and a few finnish game development researchers.
Our activities have lead to a number of collaborations between Swedish and Finnish developers that have continued during the Film Arc Master Classes in Luleå this September.
In our meeting room we got together with several publishers and busines developers that were very interested to come to our region and visit the local production companies.
Discussions related to creative industries have been held and business cards have switched hands with creative industry ambassadors from the Finnish region and the Austrian region.
To make sure we understod the whole foodchain of game development we had a lot of meetings with reporters that told us how interviews were usually conducted and what they were looking for in a game related article of today. Agents showed us how the pitch is made to the publishers of today and with a few publishers so we could find out what the trend was from their point of view.
Emanuel Dohi got introduced to the Scandinavian representative that has just been reallocated to Japan. He is in the business of helping nordic game companies connect and establish themselves in the far east.
Among the things happening that should be mentioned:
- social gaming (like Sing Star, Rock Band, Wii Sports) countinue to increase. There are a number of new extra gadgets to interact with, such as skateboards and DJ equipment.
- digital distribution is continuing to grow.
- advertisement connected to games is growing and has taken new forms.
A clear trend that we noted is games made for a younger audience and the casual games market. Among the new hardware at the show, an Xbox title called Tony Hawk RIDE where you can stand on a real skate board stood out. Another cool hardware was a stearing ball for applications/games. A lot of people gathered around the presentation of Diablo 3, The Beatles Rock Band edition and the game Brink by Bethesda Softworks.
Sound, music and outsourcing
Before the trade show, Morningdew Media had booked meetings with publishers like CAPCOM, ZOOTFLY and tri-Crescendo (Japan). These are potential customers for composers and sound designers such as Mattias Holmgren. The purpose was to get a closer customer relationship and also a discussion about their upcoming titles and what they would expect in pitching material from audio companies. One company was looking for musical interpretations of Wagner's pompuous music. Capcom had invited Mattias to show their upcoming titles in a so-called line-up presentation for a closed company of people. Among other things Resident Evil 5 was tested with 3d glasses, which was impressive. For Mattias the trade show generated many new contacts within the games industry and potential customers from Slovenia, Germany, Norway, USA and Japan.
A smorgasboard of opportunities
By visiting the show we have learned more about what is evolving in the games industry right now, made new contacts, found angel investors, agents and coaches that are interested in the companies of our nordic region.
From both Nordic Game show in May and Gamescom in Cologne, a lot of relations have been created. There is a lot to do following up on all of them. To build on these new channels, and to generate a prosperous environment for local business, we feel that organisations such as FilmArc and the Umea-CIA should continue to act, with the aim to connect Universities, companies, international buyers, lecturers, and to create the creative international network that the talents in our region deserve.
Finally, if you work within the creative industry in our region and want to pitch a project, product, service or collaborate with international partners; we will be glad to help you participate at next year’s Gamescom, visit other trade shows, or get in touch with the people that we have met.
On the behalf of Film Arc and as ambassadors for the northern region: