GameOn is the shining example of games events in the Baltics. That is the main goal the team sets for itself every year. After three events of constant growth, new attractions, games and highlights it was clear that additional value would be needed to present ourselves in a new light and reach the next level.
Our event does not exist in a vacuum and is part of a bigger landscape of publishers, game developers, investors, service providers and so on – in short, the games industry. We have always understood ourselves as a representative of that industry and an engine to grow games in Lithuania and the Baltics. So for 2018, we went full steam ahead and – with the help of the Lithuanian Council for Culture – implemented a new B2B strategy through the “Intersectoral networking of the gaming industry during the video game culture convention GameOn” (org. Žaidimų industrijos atstovų tarpsektorinė tinklaveika žaidimų kultūros konvento „GameOn“ metu).
Step one was to increase the amount of international industry visitors as speakers in our conference to 41 speakers over two days, including veterans like Tom Putzki (Wargaming Europe), Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) and Juha Huhtakallio (PlayStack). On two stages the program presented insights into all aspects of the games industry from graphics programming, to game design, marketing and business development.
In addition, we introduced a new business meeting area with matchmaking partner MeetToMatch to foster talks between 128 participating companies. 160 meeting attendees were signed up to the system and accounted for 210 meetings on two days. Comparing these numbers with statistics from other industry events shows interesting results: As a first-year B2B event we had a hard pitch for business people choose GameOn over other established, known quantities. Still, the number of meetings held was on the same level as comparable international events. What does this mean? We agree that we have hit the nerve of our region and people are looking for ways to find new business opportunities in games. These numbers suggest that our step forward in this direction was exactly what was needed to cater to this need.
Lithuania and the Baltics are up-and-coming spots in the games industry which can also be seen by the establishment of a European project dedicated to the “Baltic Game Industry” as well as the ever-growing push of new business ideas in this region from e-commerce to VR and blockchain. The Baltics strive to be pioneers in tech and related industries so our industry should seize this opportunity as it overlaps a lot and the games industry by definitions sees itself as a trendsetter for technological and artistic advancement.
To deepen our involvement in shaping tomorrow’s games industry and makers, GameOn has introduced the Baltics’ first ever academic round table for games. Any interested Lithuanian university, local development companies, a representative of the ministry for education and the Lithuanian Game Developers Association were invited to meet international educators and lecturers from 5 countries to expand understanding in what the industry needs to foster new talent, learn from existing international programs and build a network of new contacts.
Lithuania is a very interesting place in the development landscape. That’s a place where a lot of exciting growth is happening right now and a lot of exciting opportunities are that are very unique to the region there. – Rami Ismail (Vlambeer)