This fall, Kate Pietrelli and I were invited to give a talk at the Italian Videogame Conference (IVDC) on the subject of PR for independent game developers. Always up for an adventure and eager to address one of our favorite topics, we headed to Milan, Italy, where the event was held at IULM University.
The conference took an academic approach, with presentations on the state of the Italian industry, how to evolve it, and instructional talks geared towards students. It was practical, with was a sense of urgency about advancing the business and art of videogames in Italy. Here are a few takeaways:
Growth via education
According to many speakers and attendees, videogames are not taken seriously in Italy. They are seen more as a childlike diversion than a serious business, and the consensus at IVDC was to overcome this issue via education. The idea is that if university courses are made available, development talent will emerge and the industry will grow from there. As it stands, there is very little training available because the industry is small, and conference participants agreed that it’s time to take the initiative with education.
Focus on traditional games and original IP
Unlike conferences we have attended in the US and China, discussions related primarily to making traditional PC and console games and on retail distribution. The importance of developing original IP was also a theme. Though mobile is big in Italy and the number of handsets in use is nearly double the population, the iPhone hasn’t emerged as a popular gaming platform. Social games were also not covered in the program and don’t seem to be an area of interest just yet. Alternative means of distribution and monetization will likely be a hot topic next year and will provide developers with new opportunities to cultivate original IP when they arrive.
In the spirit of the conference, we kept our talk educational and actionable. The intent was for attendees to walk away with solid ideas on how to build awareness for their projects, and we addressed five points: how to refine your message, knowing your audience, creating great assets, optimal timing and strategy. If you’re interested in receiving the presentation, please email me at eddiemae [at] triplepointpr [dot] com.
To view photos from our trip to the IVDC, please view our Flickr gallery: