So what is happening in Helsinki May 5th, 2015? The Game Developers Forum of course.
The non-profit industry community is having quite the gathering in Helsinki, Finland this year, and the table is stacked with goodies. The day-long event is meant to be a hub of accumulated knowledge and strategies from all over the industry, something that might be as important as it is innovative.
The games industry is fast paced, and the technology is constantly changing and improving, so indeed the approach towards talking about the industry also be just as developed. The Game Developers Forum (GDF) will be touching upon everything from publishing platforms to business models, user experience and much more.
Alexander Reay from the board of the Game Developers Forum explains that the goal for GDF is more than exhibiting the latest technological advances and experience enhancement. He says it’s also about creating a central port for professionals in the industry, to not only learn from each other, but to also inspire and bring about a heightened sense of community.
The games industry is like any other, and competition is fierce. Yet there is a bond between developers – a common creed that goes beyond creating content for purchase. It is a constant strive for perfecting the art form.
Alexander Reay explains in-depth that the purpose of GDF is: “…to create a peer to peer driven community that focuses on sharing best practices among game professionals. With an emphasis on innovation, technology and new ways of working, we hope to offer game developers insight to develop better games. We are also helping with investment and organizing meetings with potential investors to help with the growth of the industry, we also offer advice on how best to impress.”
Every game starts with an idea, and the GDF wants that idea to become a real life reality, or a virtual reality, depending on the type of game. And that’s why the brass of the GDF consists of people of high regard in the games industry.
“The organizers are a mixture of technology thought leaders, such as Alexander Reay, head of the Nordic IT Outsourcing Association, Robert Johnsson, a recognized leader in the industry and ex CSO of Nordic Game. Nav Sunner is involved, the ex Commercial Director of Microsoft and Legal council at Gree and Codemasters, and the forum is in partnership with Neogames.”, Alexander Reay explains.
“In terms of the current forum, we are pleased with the outcome and look forward to hosting more peer to peer focused knowledge sharing forums in the future.” – Alexander Reay
The GDF came about as a reaction to the supposed lack of peer-to-peer forums in an industry that is based on communication and advancements in technology. The people behind the GDF saw the possibility of a more connected industry, and firmly believed that such an industry would also bring better and more relevant content to the market. The team decided to form GDF as a nonprofit event, and that leaves the organizers with all of the creative direction. On the other side, however, it also makes the work that much more painstaking. But the team is still confident in the event and certainly continue onwards.
When asked how they manage, Alexander Reay explains that
“Well…good question: blood sweat and tears mainly. Without being a commercial event, we do struggle with funding. At the moment the board is fronting the costs and we hope to grow this year by year. Although it’s nice to make bigger and better features, more beers and giveaways. We have been thinking of giving away an Iwatch and an Iphone 6 this year to a lucky registrant. But this of course comes at a great cost to us. As great as it would be to get further funding, it is not the main priority of the forum.”
The good folks behind the GDF seem to have picked their horse for the years to come, as they intend to not only facilitate the event on a yearly basis, but also to improve accordingly and grow in size as well. And the possibility that the GDF will eventually have a global impact on the games industry are indeed present. Because as always, whenever a group of professionals come together in a intertwined web of creative thought, the results can bring about a seismic change that turns local tournaments into world cups.
“Peer to Peer Knowledge Sharing, Best Practice Education, Investment Assistance and Innovation.”, Alexander Reay concludes, as he phrases the core philosophy of the Game Developers Forum.