Day one of the 2009 Game Focus Germany offered some extremely interesting speeches on a wide range of topics. However, two topics that almost every speaker touched on were the rise of outsourcing and digital distribution. Kevin Bruner of Telltale Games kicked off the day with a chat about their innovative approach, “episodic” gaming. Kevin really hit hard on utilizing non-traditional retail outlets and the benefits of taking your product directly to the consumer.
After Mr. Bruner spoke, we learned about the current state of the games industry in the UK from Ian Baverstock, CEO of Kuju. He gave an interesting lecture on what is working well in the UK and what is hurting the industry (lack of tax incentives vs. other countries in the EU).
Later in the afternoon, Tom Sperry of Vyk Games talked about “Outsourcing Best Practices.” It was somewhat shocking to hear how many companies will outsource their projects without really researching the outsourcing company. As evidenced by a nice, long Q&A afterwards, Tom’s speech sparked a great deal of interest.
One of the final speakers of the day was Aphra Kerr, a professor in Ireland. Aphra spoke on “Considering Cultural Diversity in Games Development.” She not only touched on cultural diversity, but gender diversity as well. She provided some great examples of some forced attempts at cultural gaming (i.e. an Irish sports game developed in Australia solely made for retail in Ireland and they proceeded to botch the rules of the game).
Day two promises to be just as interesting with topics like “The Future of Journalism” and “Social Game Design.”