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

Keynote: Building a Creative Culture, Together

Tuesday 12th July: 9.45 - 10.45 :

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:

  • Creating a culture of belonging
  • Building an award-winning wellbeing initiative
  • Empowering teams to drive their own initiatives
  • Revamping recruitment to appeal to a broad talent pool
  • Increasing transparency in studio leadership

How Making Blockchain Games Has Changed the Way I Think About the Internet

Tuesday 12th July: 11.00 - 11.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • Understanding blockchain games
  • Making quality games in blockchain
  • Getting to grips with investing in blockchain games

Social Mobility in the Games Industry

Tuesday 12th July: 11.00 - 11.45 :

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?

Takeaway:

  • Hear from key industry voices on how social mobility impacts both individuals and creative output within the games sector. 
  • Reflect on where barriers exists within both businesses and the wider industry and consider where interventions can be focused to improve access, inclusion and advancement for people from all backgrounds.
  • Participate and ask questions, join the conversation and be inspired to think about ways you can help create a more welcoming and diverse games industry.

What it Took Double Eleven to Successfully Scale a Studio to 300 Employees

Tuesday 12th July: 12.00 - 12.45 :

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.

Takeaway:
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.

From Concept to Launch: A Data-driven Approach to Success

Tuesday 12th July: 14.00 - 14.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • Attendees will learn the fundamentals of utilizing external data to improve each stage of development and publishing including concept and greenlighting, launching a game, and live ops
  • Along with analysis techniques, attendees will also be able to gain insights into trends and unique data from macro-level market and genre insights to title and player-level data

Blockchain's Future in the Games Industry

Tuesday 12th July: 15.00 - 15.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • New ideas for game design using blockchain
  • An understanding of the challenges of building a token economy
  • How to approach blockchain from a technical perspective

Hiring Ethically and Empathetically

Tuesday 12th July: 16.00 - 16.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • What to put in a job listing and what not to (definitely put the pay)
  • How to think about pay for a job role
  • How to be empathetic throughout the hiring process

I Don’t Want to Make Another Game - Crunch and Best Working Practices

Tuesday 12th July: 17.00 - 17.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • Philosophical change to no crunch
  • Operational change to no crunch
  • Working Smarter as a result of committing to no crunch

Keynote: DEATHLOOP: Looking Inside a Design Loop

Wednesday 13th July: 9.45 - 10.45 :

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:

  • Creating a first-person action game in a brand new world, while preserving the Dishonored heritage. 
  • Analyzing the challenges of developing an immersive sim with the added complexity of multiplayer components. 
  • How the studio focused on the personal skills they had to develop during DEATHLOOP's development. 
  • The creative team will share their choices on the design of the characters, environments, and weapons design.

This panel will change how you look at making your next game.

Confident Pitching: The Cheat Codes

Wednesday 13th July: 11.00 - 11.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • Show confidence and control your nerves
  • Write rich, concise material with a story
  • Engage the audience and keep their attention
  • Communicate authentically
  • Use visuals effectively
  • Adapt to the unexpected

The 4 Day Week: Is It Time for Studios to Re-think?

Wednesday 13th July: 11.00 - 11.45 :

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?

Takeaway:

  • What’s the latest thinking on flexible working and what could the ‘new era in working’ look like?
  • What does our research tell us about what games professionals want in terms of their working conditions?
  • What is the 4 Day Week Global pilot all about?
  • How you can better attract top talent by offering flexible working and/or the four-day week.
  • Why flexible working options will help your studio to attract a wider and more diverse pool of talent.
  • Practical advice on how studios can provide working conditions that are attractive and beneficial to all individuals, and to the studios.
     

Founding a Game Studio: The Highs and Lows

Wednesday 13th July: 12.00 - 12.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • How and why studios are founded and how they are sustained over time
  • Potential pitfalls, challenges, risks and mitigations to those issues
  • The benefits and highlights of running your own studio vs working in an existing studio

Building A Fair Playing Field

Wednesday 13th July: 12.00 - 12.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • What is the Women in Games Guide, and why is it important?
  • Why is gender balance important in the games industry, and what are the benefits to studios?
  • Practical advice on what studios of all sizes can do to engender a Fair Playing Field

Ahead of Its Time: Why is PlayStation Home One of the Most Talked About Games of 2022?

Wednesday 13th July: 14.00 - 14.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • Cut through the hype to understand what it really takes to make a successful virtual community in a multiplayer world.
  • Understand how to make a metaverse sticky: what works for retention and what doesn't.
  • Hear from PS Home veterans how they have applied their expertise to current and future projects.

Punching Above Your Weight

Wednesday 13th July: 14.00 - 14.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • How to create a global network through outsourcing talent
  • The benefits of outsourcing expertise vs. keeping within in-house silos
  • The impact outsourcing can have on increasing your team’s diversity, and in turn, bring new and fresh ways of thinking to your team
  • Freeing up time for in-house staff to be creative and focus on their expertise by outsourcing
  • The benefits of using Media Foundry and where you should go to outsource talent for your next project

Edge Computing and the Video Games industry - A new option for Developers: Automation, Distribution, Reach

Wednesday 13th July: 14.00 - 14.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • Gain better understanding of Edge Computing
  • How does it benefit the video games industry
  • How to leverage Edge computing tomorrow for your games

Building a Cloud based Scalable Mobile Lab for Automation

Wednesday 13th July: 15.00 - 15.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • Automated testing management in mobile games
  • How different teams can make use of a shared pool of devices in a cloud device farm
  • Scalability and concurrency, a CI/CD challenge

Shaping the New Normal - Fostering a Positive Hybrid Workplace

Wednesday 13th July: 16.00 - 16.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • What can people leaders do to ensure teams feel connected to the studio through hybrid and remote working?
  •  How can you help your teams adjust to the future work place?
  • What should you avoid when pivoting to a hybrid way of working?

20 Lessons from 20 Years

Wednesday 13th July: 17.00 - 17.45 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • Learn from industry luminaries
  • The biggest changes of the past 20 years (and their impact today explored)
  • Get an overview of the industry's recent evolution and prospects for its future

Pulling Together a Business Case

Thursday 14th July: 11.15 - 12.00 :

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.

Takeaway:

  • A clear and tested method of explaining the basics of entrepreneurship, such as risk and opportunity, with a few useful insights for advanced developers too.
  • Setting budgets properly, and negotiating around them.
  • Understanding pitching, tone, and communication.

Scaling a Studio: Why Change and Innovation are Always Harder Than They Should Be

Thursday 14th July: 16.00 - 16.45 :

Coming soon.

Keep up-to-date

Sign up to our e-newsletter for all the latest news!

Sign up now

Get involved today!

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!

Keep up to date with Develop:Brighton

Newsletter Sign Up