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.
Lisa Opie, Managing Director of Ubisoft Leamington and Ubisoft Reflections will reflect on her 9 months in the role and the importance of building an inclusive studio culture where every perspective is valued.
The session will include practical tips around:
Animoca Brands is one of the leaders in blockchain games as well as one of the most active investors in the space, and after talking to hundreds of companies and making a handful of games, a few things have become clear about how blockchain changes everything. Come join us to find out.
Data on the UK games industry shows an issue with social mobility within the sector. Respondents to the UK Games Industry Census reported an overrepresentation of people with parents from managerial / professional backgrounds versus those from more routine employment and a noticeable skew towards people who went to selective or fee-paying schools, with both measures increasing among more senior roles. This suggests that not only is social background an issue with entry into the industry, but is also a factor in career advancement.
BAFTA’s Head of Games will discuss these findings and their significance with four voices from across the sector. How do these factors impact individuals within the industry and what challenges do people face in both joining and their advancement in the sector? How does social mobility affect creative decision making and what are we losing from the voices that aren’t being heard? How does this intersect with other areas of underrepresentation and how does a focus on social mobility help reach people currently underserved by current interventions? How do we identify and overcome barriers and better target efforts to improve access to the industry?
I'll be doing a talk on what it takes/took to go from ~70 employees to ~300 in 5 years. Whilst retaining a high retention rate.
People will leave with a better understanding of what it takes to scale a studio and have a better idea how to look after their people.
Newzoo works with hundreds of developers and publishers to help guide them through various stages of game development using a combination of unique metrics and analytics. This can provide the foundation of minimizing risk and maximizing success when building and launching a game. In this presentation, we will explore the metrics that can help ensure success at every stage of a new game’s life cycle no matter the size of your project or company. Along with techniques being taught at each stage, we will present actual data across a wide variety of data sources that will provide a peek into the games market from a variety of lens including genre and macro trends, game level metrics, to player psychographics and demographics. The audience should walk away from this presentation with an idea on how to implement data throughout any stage of their game and directly gain insights into the recent trends and market data.
The games industry has historically been quick to make use of emerging technologies and with billions of dollars of investment, there is no shortage of ideas but little detail on how it can positively impact game design. The panel will expertly navigate the hype, scams and get-rich-schemes to talk about what the technology can offer and why players should care.
Moo spent months thinking obsessively about the right way to post a job listing and ethically hire some collaborators for his prototype. After posting two listings only on Twitter and receiving over 350 applications over two roles for an unannounced game prototype at a newly formed company, he'd like to spend some time to talk about what decisions he thinks contributed to having such a great and diverse applicant response as well as what he'd do differently next time.
After seriously considering whether we ever wanted to make another game, we set about radically changing the way we worked. No crunch and a positive work life balance were the foundation to our plans and it led to the companies' most successful period; culminating in our highest rated game ever and eventual acquisition by Private Division in 2021. This talk will detail, the how, what and why of how we achieved it.
In this fireside chat, members of the Award-winning Arkane Lyon studio team, including this year’s Develop Star Award recipient Dinga Bakaba, discuss some of the development challenges and successes they had during production of DEATHLOOP.
Discussion topics will include:
This panel will change how you look at making your next game.
You have an amazing idea for a game. But speaking in public can be pretty scary. Pitching your idea can be terrifying. You need techniques for writing a short, zingy pitch that excites your audience, and then some tips for engaging them with a natural, confident delivery. Oh, and some brilliant slides. And ways to handle your nerves. Fortunately, Jon Torrens has some cracking bits of advice for you (from his experience as a stand-up comedian and level designer) that will cover all of that and may even be amusing along the way. No promises.
There is much discussion about how working life is evolving. Remote working during lockdown restrictions was forced upon us – against a backdrop of fear and real suffering. As we move forward, everyone is thinking about ways of ‘building back better’. One way of doing that is creating a better world of work with an improved work/life balance.
Amiqus’ research has shown that individuals enjoyed a number of benefits from flexible working during lockdown, including saving money on commuting and spending more time with family. Of those who don’t think they have their ideal working conditions, 79 per cent said they are considering, or possibly considering, a career move.
So, do we need to think more radically about how we should respond? In a time of The Great Resignation, and particularly in a sector like games that is facing unprecedented demand for skills, employers must rethink how to attract and retain staff. Salary remains important, of course, but what individuals want more than anything now is flexibility and time.
The 4 Day Week Global pilot begins in June, with UK companies – including Hutch Games – taking part in a six-month trial to find out about this future way of working. Other studios globally have already shifted to a four-day week and are reporting great results in terms of employee wellbeing and job satisfaction, but also in increased productivity.
Is it time that the 4-day week became the norm in games?
Founding a Game Studio: The Highs and Lows is a panel that features a number of experienced studio founders to discuss the challenges and highlights of founding and running your own game studio. The panel will cover topics such as: creating a studio vision, running a studio ethically, overcoming challenges and finding sustainable investment. The panel will feature candid questions that will shed light on some of the lesser-known aspects of managing a game development studio and audience members will have the opportunity to ask insightful questions to accomplished founders who have seen a lot! The panel will also inspire those wanting to create their own studio in the future, as well as providing additional knowledge to existing industry founders.
Women in Games has just published The Guide: Building A Fair Playing Field. Recurring revelations about working cultures in the games sector reveal that there is an urgent need to adopt the fair playing field approach in relation to gender. The most important ingredient in making real, systemic change, is leadership. Women in Games recommends leaders across the games and esports sectors commit to genuine change, by providing the driving force behind actions designed to bring about fairness. In practical terms, this means being publicly aligned to clear goals, and providing visible, high-level leadership in the ongoing process of successfully achieving those goals. Unless leaders actively plan and set out how they are to be achieved, progressive ideas, policies, objectives and required outcomes will gather more dust as papers in a drawer, or stay as box-ticking exercises. It is not enough to simply increase female representation numerically and call this ‘diversity’. A diverse workforce can only thrive if fairness is built into every aspect of the structure in which it operates. Employing more women is the first step, but it should be integrated into the creation of a culture of belonging. Marie-Claire Isaaman and Sharon Tolaini-Sage – the co-authors of The Guide – will discuss why this document is important, and offer some advice on how studios can Build A Fair Playing Field themselves.
The metaverse, or Web3, is being heralded as the next big thing in the digital world, with 70% of brands saying they need a significant presence in it and 50% of those have admitting they have no idea how to achieve it. And the world of crypto currencies, NFTs and blockchain requies virtual spaces to be built so they can sell land in this brave new world. This opens up a great opportunity for games developers, our services have never been in such high demand….
But who knows the most about these digital spaces? What works, what doesnt… what makes them sticky, what sells and what causes upset? The answer is the pioneers! and PlayStation Home was one of the first and most influencial. A virtual community space with social games, avatars, dancing, land & digital clothing for sale and all the technical gubbins behind it all. Sony, as ever, arrived at the party early and learned a lot. Consequently, everyone is looking at PS Home and it can help us now.
This panel discussion brings together some of the founders and key voices of PS Home to understand what they learned, how they have used that knowledge and how it applies to the future. With a mix of foundational questions, topical insight and some fun along the way, this will be a lively and informative conversation of best in class web3 development.
Mike Gamble, the former European head of Unreal Engine and now Head of Strategy at Talenthouse, will uncover what 10 years of working on Unreal Engine has taught him. Mike’s discussion aims to educate developers of all sizes, and how they should consider outsourcing as a vital part of a studio’s strategy when looking to maximise the quality and quantity of their output.
Edge computing is a new paradigm shift in the way infrastructures for game hosting will perform in the future. From automating DevOps time to providing unlimited scalability while reducing latency and costs. Join us to explore the benefits Edge Computing can bring to the gaming industry and how Developers and Publishers can harness this new tech trend.
Testing mobile apps on a large number of devices, with different screen sizes and running different Operating Systems is becoming a challenge. While developing, teams can easily run their code and test their apps on simulators or emulators. However, this is not enough when you need to ensure your app will run smoothly in all the different types of mobile devices your users carry with them in their pockets. In that case, you would better go for real physical models. Creating a cloud-based Mobile Automation Lab where engineers can launch their automated tests on a daily basis, through their CI pipelines and use real devices from a Device Farm cloud provider (such as SauceLabs) has proven to be key to ensure how games are tested at King.
With this scalable, cloud-based middleware we’ve built, we can distribute load, handle queues and run the different automated tests in our pool of devices from different Device Farms. This service oriented software provides an API endpoints web based service where end-users can automate their testing processes or even launch them whenever they want. Reports are sent back when tests have been run and alerts and notifications can be easily configured.
As we look to the future, it is more important than ever that studios are attuned to the needs of their teams. As nDreams’ Chief People Officer, Tamsin O’Luanaigh has placed workplace culture at the strategic heart of everything that the studio does since its foundation in 2006. With the rise in remote working, it is more important than ever that team members feel connected to the wider studio and empowered to work in the most effective way for both the individual and company. Tamsin has led a progressive approach to this shift in working culture, quickly and effectively moving to a hybrid workplace whilst also founding two remote studios. Tamsin will candidly talk through the process, challenges and successes of putting team culture and values at the heart of studio strategy in a modern, flexible workplace.
Marking the 20th anniversary of GamesIndustry.biz, we collate business advice and takeaways from industry luminaries and some of the most promising up-and-coming developers as we explore how the business of video games has evolved since 2002 - and where it is heading next. The lessons have been collected by the site's editor-in-chief James Batchelor, but will be delivered directly from the advice-givers themselves via a mix of video messages and some surprise appearances during the session.
How do you put together a business case? How should you evaluate a deal? How does a negotiation work? When should you do crowdfunding, and when should you go with a publisher? Or a grant? Rami Ismail talks about what indies get wrong about business, using real examples he has encountered during his many consultancies.
Develop:Brighton is especially unique - it’s by the seaside and there’s a lovely relaxed tone that goes with that.The talks are cool, the networking is cool and having the opportunity to catch up with people – that’s always the excitement for me!
Building games is hard and it’s taxing physically, mentally and emotionally. So being around a community that understands that is great – there’s a comraderie here.
One of the things I like about Develop is it brings people together from across Europe and the whole world. There is a very high level of professionals here, so you have company leaders having drinks with juniors from their community.
Dr Mata Haggis-Burridge
Develop is important – the networking is very important. And go to talks they’re inspiring and get your creative juices flowing, they can make you think and you’ll learn how other people do things.
It’s really nice to see some of the younger people in our studio come to Develop, interact with other people in the dev community and make new contacts. I think it’s really important to learn from other people.
It’s fantastic to have such an event that provides this opportunity for all the game devs, indie devs and other organisations to get together to showcase what they do, meet and interact.
There’s something creative about Brighton, so it’s the perfect place to have the conference.
There’s really something for everyone at Develop and the experience of being around like-minded people is really useful.
I really like Develop, I really like the intimacy of it and I love the location.. there’s a good diversity of talks going on so there hasn’t been a time when there’s nothing I want to see.
We are so lucky to have Develop here in the UK. It’s a unique event where you can come and discover new things with people who care passionately about video games. It’s a sea full of new ideas.
There are many ways you can be part of Develop:Brighton - including taking a booth in the Expo or choosing one of the many sponsorship opporunities during the event or at the Star Awards.Contact us now!