Game.Dev Conferance - The Gathering of a digital industry on the move
- I'm amazed to see so many people here today!
Johan Lundkvist of FilmArc never could have dreamt of a better start to the industry-centered games conference at Folkets Hus, last friday.
Despite the short notice, the GameDev Conference in Umeå gathered an attendance of about 70 people. The attendees were treated with a day packed with interesting talks, good food and great networking opportunities.
Fredrik Wester, CEO and principal shareholder of Paradox Interactive, started off the conference with a talk about the future of online distribution. The industry veteran Wester shared thoughts and findings with a surprising frankness in a business oriented, hour-long talk. One of his most interesting points was how temporary price-cuts affected sales of digitally distributed games. By lowering the price on old titles by as much as 75%, Wester has (by carefully monitoring consumer behaviour) found out how to prolong the sales curve – and increase the overall revenue. The pricing, as Wester puts it, becomes the marketing.
Under the management of Fredrik Wester, Paradox Interactive and digital distribution platform GamersGate has been pushing the notion on how to distribute games and game content. By closely observing industry giants such as Blizzard and Valve, Wester has created an alternative to Steam, the number one platform for digital distribution of today. Tightening the value-chain, make games with high replay value, incorporate the gamers in the creation process and have many small releases are some of the ways that have taken GamersGate and Paradox to where they are today.
Next up, after an hour and a half of lunch mingle at restaurant Äpplet, was an online Q&A with Per Strömbäck. Per is the spokesperson for the trade organisation Dataspelsbranschen and one of the more known faces of the Swedish games industry. Despite some technical difficulties, Per got to address some of the concerns of the attendance.
- The competition from Quebec is terrible!
One of the questions that was brought up was about future tax reliefs for gaming companies, taking the Canadian efforts as an example. Strömbäck assured the audience that working for a Swedish equivalent is one of Dataspelsbranschen's top priorities.
Following the Skype call, Emanuel Dohi kicked off a series of business presentations from some of the game companies represented at the conference. Emanuel presented the past, present and future works of Dohi Sweden, topped off with a secretive sneak peek of the upcoming iOS application Table Drum. Game industry pride of Umeå, Coldwood Interactive, was one of the other companies who got to present their work for the audience. Nordic Game organizer Sten Selander finished the day off by talking about how to becoming successful at game conferences.
After dinner the day was rounded off by a very appreciated mingle party at Coldwood Interactive.
The GameDev Conference offered a day-long opportunity for knowledge-sharing between companies. But most of all it showed the need for a regular assembly-point for a young but fast expanding digital industry.
Photo: Joel Nordin, Michael Gill, Johan Lundkvist
Text: Michael Gill