Business

It's all very well making a great game, however without some commercial know-how and a sensible business model then you won't get very far in today's hugely competitive games industry. Our Business track brings together some of the smartest brains in games to share real-life case studies, practical advice, and best-practise tips so you can run a truly successful business as well as make great games. Also covers the challenges of game production, funding and marketing.

Business sessions

From Roadmaps to Callstacks: A Producer's Guide to Demystifying Tech

Alexia Christofi is a producer working with the tools & technology team at PlayStation London Studio. Having never worked with a technical team before, join her as she shares the approach she took to connect with her team and have an impact, as well as detailing methods others can apply if they do not believe they have much technical acumen. Some of the things she will cover include: Facilitating. What could you help with in this moment? Prioritisation - How do we ensure things are done in the right order? How do we track work for explorative tasks? How do we leverage tech to make production easier? How do you bring changes to process to apprehensive teams? How do you convince a team of the value of new process? Are there clear differences between how a tech team and a game team work? How can you learn from your team? How can you communicate effectively with them? She will use examples from her day-to-day role to prove that you do not need to be a historically ‘technical’ person to have a technical impact.

Takeaway:

  • Attendees will leave with a firm understanding of a producer's role working closely with a technology and tools team, and leave with a list of methods that can be implemented to connect with the team and have the most impact.

5 Things You Should Know Before You Start Up in China

The growing gaming industry in China is currently worth 4.5 billion euros and accounts for 24% of the global market. Doing business with such a large market and rich economy is an exciting and attractive prospect for every gaming company in the West. 

However, there are a lot of considerations to factor in and a different set of rules that one must follow to be able to have smooth operations in China. For example, how do you protect your IP? Do you need a partner to enter China? Where do you set up your business? 

In this seminar, Ting will talk about the 5 most important things that you need to know before you even go out and start up your business in China.

Takeaway:

  • China’s gaming market – overview and latest development
  • Set up your China strategy 
  • Find the right partner to work with
  • Adjusting to the Chinese market: localisation
  • Importance of protecting your IP

Building a Better Esport

The aim of the session is to introduce delegates to esports, how it makes money, and what you should be focusing on when building a great esports program for your business/product.

Takeaway:

  • How esports makes money, how to build an inclusive and comprehensive esports program, how to improve product longevity with esports

Lessons from both sides of the pitching table

Colin will give an insight into his process behind commissioning dozens of games as Games Commissioner at Channel 4, what he looked for in pitches, and what would warn him off commissioning certain projects or developers. Combined with wider experience from his 30 years in the games industry he'll summarise what's worked and what hasn't from a developer perspective, and give a number of actionable pointers that developers can adopt when pitching for new business.

Takeaway:

  • An understanding of a games commissioning decision making process.
  • Recommendations for how to approach seeking out new customers.
  • Actionable tips of how to improve pitching for business.

Military Videogames - More Than a Game?

This talk explores the social, cultural and political implications of military videogames, covering key shifts in the genre and in the relationships between games and war.

First, representations of war have moved from a focus on contemporary wars in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 to one which is now dominated by either historical or future wars. This shift is part of a new ‘politics of nostalgia’, in which citizens find solace in the certainties of the past to avoid confronting the challenges of the present. This is hardly surprising, as the complexities of modern war – increasingly involving civilian casualties – pose almost insurmountable challenges to developers: how do you make an interactive game in such circumstances?

A second key shift provides one answer. Whilst there remain important examples of celebratory games (e.g. the Call of Duty series), there are increasingly games being produced which actively seek to resist war (e.g. This War of Mine). Such changes reflect the shifting nature of game production, with a loosening of formal ties to the military, as games increasingly vacate representations of contemporary war – yet at the same time concerns remain over the growth of games being used for military recruitment.

There remains a poverty of knowledge of how players understand and engage with war, with players assumed to be ‘bedazzled’ by war games such that they come to support war and its violence. Yet my own research shows that players demonstrate considerable critical faculties. War, as players make clear, is not just a game.

Takeaway:

  • An overview of the changes in the representations of war games over time, covering celebrations of war to critical games
  • Analysis of the shifts in production processes, from active collaborations between the games industry and military to a more arms-length relationship
  • An overview of how changes in war games reflect changes in social and political values
  • Insight into how players respond to war games, showing their strong critical reasoning

 

Project Brave: Mental Health and Wellbeing

Project Brave was designed to promote awareness and understanding of mental health within our Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Leamington studios, to show our support for the wellbeing of our team members to create a caring, inclusive culture of support. We chose the name Project Brave because we wanted to be brave and address this sensitive topic openly in our studios for the first time, the name and branding bring positive energy to the topic and attracted team members to join the discussions. We devised a strategy around four pillars: Safety: Ensuring the safety of our team members and introducing mental health first aiders. Awareness: Raising awareness of mental health through openly talking about it, forming the group and engaging with national initiatives such as World Mental Health Day. Prevention: training covering self-care, CALM app discount, books and resources for our studio libraries, a wellbeing allowance for gym and fitness activities Support: access to 24-hour confidential support across counselling, legal advice, financial advice and other practical information.

Takeaway:

  • Recognise the importance of mental health and the impact it can have in the workplace 
  • Understand how to engage staff on the topic
  • Develop a programme to successfully address mental health and wellbeing

Supercharging game development with Consumer Insight

Ever wondered what separates a good game from a great one? How developers find new gaps in the market or how to create a long-term franchise that sells more on each release? Then this is the talk for you. Between them, the 2CV Tech & Ent team have nearly 50 years’ experience working with the best-known developers and publishers, nationally and internationally. From greenlighting initial gaming concepts, to developing and optimising existing titles, and positioning to drive player engagement and maximise sales. Taking you through both the theory and the practice of applying Consumer Insights to game development with concrete examples and case studies. We’ll cover static and mobile platforms, and audiences from hyper-casual through to the hardest of cores. Topics will include – understanding gamer needs through segmentation, identifying market gaps, the disconnect between how devs think and how gamers think and how to overcome it, game testing with real gamers, and more. In just 45 minutes, we’ll cover tips and tricks on best practice applications of consumer insight from working with the biggest and the best names in the industry - everything you need to know on how consumer insight can supercharge your game development.

Takeaway:

  • When consumer insights can help you make great games and your business succeed
  • Different types of insights you get and how to best apply them
  • The impact of Insights and what they can do for your business

We Can No Longer Wait: Embedding Diversity and Inclusion into Studio Culture

This year's UKIE census has shown how we need to start working with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the forefront of our internal policies and hiring. We know it's an emergency. Cinzia will walk you through the journey she took transforming Splash Damage's studio culture to become more diverse and inclusive: From Employee Resource Groups, Talks organised in the studio and even the staff Halloween Party! You'll learn the little steps required not only to get buy-in at all levels, but to make EDI a vital part of your studio's day to day. You'll leave this session with knowledge on how to adapt this within your own studios and ways to make your underrepresented employees feel even more welcome and included.

Takeaway:

  • How to make your studio culture more inclusive
  • How to help push forward with adapting the culture
  • How to make your employees feel more welcome

What is a Venture Capital Firm Looking for in a Games Studio

Hiro Capital looks at hundreds of investment opportunities in a year with the majority of these being games studios. Hiro would like to share why they think games studios are such a great investment and what differentiates great studios from good ones, what can make different kinds of studios more suitable for venture funding and where they think the future of games is going.

Takeaway:

  • Knowing what makes different studios more applicable than others for VC funding
  • Having a better idea of how to approach different kinds of VCs
  • Understanding some of the funding challenges UK and European studios face

Why You Should Adopt Remote Working - Lessons from Running a Fully Distributed Company

Flaming Fowl Studios was founded 4 years ago and has always run as a fully distributed team. With 30 team members and multiple projects running, Craig Oman will share the lessons he and the team have learnt during this time and explain why every company should offer remote working.

Takeaway:

  • Learn how to hire the best remote workers.
  • Learn the mistakes to avoid with distributed teams.
  • Learn how to manage projects with a distributed team.
  • Understand where you can effectively apply remote working within your company.

Yes, You Need a Product Manager

Do you really need a product manager for your development project? With examples from live projects, Korina Abbott will be breaking down the role of a product manager in game development and how it can benefit your project from prototype to post-launch.

Takeaway:

  • You’ll understand the role of a product manager within your team or project, when is best to engage a product manager in your title lifecycle and how their strategic overview can help you achieve better long term success.

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