On this episode of Now & Next, we hear from several leaders in the gaming industry who discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with working in a socially distanced world. Host Leora Kornfeld also chats with Nadine Gelly, from La Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec about the various initiatives taken at the industry level to help navigate the current context.
Staying in the Game: How indie video game studios are rising to new challenges
There is no doubt that all sectors of the entertainment industry have been severely affected by the pandemic, and the game industry is no exception, as it has historically relied on networking at large annual in-person events. When you can’t just pack your bags and head to some of the industry’s biggest events like GDC in San Francisco or E3 in Los Angeles, you miss out on the opportunity for those happy encounters that sometimes happen by the sandwich tray or the coffee machine.
Because large in-person meetings are no longer an option in the current context, a number of online events for the video game industry have been emerging, like MEGA MIGS, the virtual version of the gathering that usually takes place in Montreal.
And created specifically for these locked down and working from home times, Canada Games Online recently came together as a collaboration between the provincial interactive media associations across the country.
These virtual industry gatherings bring game developers together with publishers, investors, and other collaborators. And as with most B2B events, the goal is to find new partners in order to reach new audiences and markets around the world.
On this episode of Now & Next, we check in with a handful of game development studios to find out how they’re adapting to changes in their day-to-day operations during Covid-19, including finding fresh ways to network and get their name and game out there to the world.
And we’ll also hear from the executive manager of one of Canada’s largest industry associations for game developers, La Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec, and learn about the initiatives happening at the industry level to help keep things moving along amidst the business challenges brought on by the pandemic.
In this episode, learn more about:
- Angela Meija, the co-founder of Clever Plays Studio, on what the transition to working from home has been like for game developers (01:24);
- Tony Walsh, founder and CEO of Phantom Compass, and Rob Segal, co-founders of Get Set Games, on the ease to attend virtual events (04:21);
- How the new Canada Games Online event came to be (06:45);
- The gaming industry is a true ecosystem, meaning that the health of one part affects the health of the whole. Here’s an example of how different companies are helping each other (10:45);
- Nadine Gelly, CEO of Quebec’s LaGuilde, on Canadian game companies particular advantages in the new landscape (12:25).
- Find out more about how Quebec-based La Caravane inspired the creation of Canada Games Online;
- To get a sense of how the gaming industry events were impacted in 2020, have a look at the Video Game Convention Calendar;
- To find out more about Canada’s gaming ecosystem, read Essential Facts 2019, ESAC’s annual publication which provides economic, demographic and public opinion data about the Canadian video game industry;
- Read In a Self-Isolated World, Developers Are Learning to Make Games From Home on the Verge;
- Read Work From Quarantine: How COVID-19 Has Upended Game Development on ShackNews
- Listen to five-time Counter-Strike World Champ Stephanie Harvey interview about the booming eSports industry and Canada’s place within it.
Special thanks to Now & Next’s production assistant Sabrina Brathwaite for interviewing Angela Mejia, co-founder of Clever Plays Studio, Tony Walsh, founder and CEO of Phantom Compass, and Rob Segal, co-founder of Get Set Games.
About Now & Next
Now & Next is a podcast featuring in-depth interviews in which experts take a closer look at emerging trends and the digital transformation of the media and entertainment industries. Now & Next is brought to you by the Canada Media Fund, produced by Katie Jensen and recorded in Toronto at Vocal Fry Studios. Leora Kornfeld hosts the series.