IGDA members get -20% at Devcom 2017!

Register today with -20% discount and participate at Devcom conference - August 20-24, 2017 in Cologne!

Devcom is a prestigious, five-day umbrella framework for a series of events focused around game development, game publishing, networking and community building.

More information can be found at their website.

PG Connects Returns to Helsinki with PC and VR tracks

PG Connects returns to Finland for its fourth Helsinki conference from September 19-20, 2017. 

This year will feature XR Connects, a dedicated VR/AR/MR sister event with 60 speakers, 4 tracks, an indie pitch competition, and a genuine industry cross-section of companies with which to engage. Additionally, we’re introducing PC Connects, an inaugural foray into the PC gaming scene. Best of all, one ticket allows full access to all conferences. Expect 2 Days with 8 Tracks, 100+ Speakers, 500+ Companies, 1,200 Delegates, and endless networking.

Get Involved

There are lots of ways to get involved with the conference, like entering the Very Big Indie Pitch for Mobile, PC or VR or submitting a speaking session on PC, Mobile or VR/AR. 

Take Advantage of the Special Midsummer Offer

Use promo code “MIDSUMMER” to save 20% on tickets, delegate tickets, which now includes indie tables at reduced rate. 

For more information visit: http://www.pgconnects.com/helsinki

Head to Vienna for the ReVersed Festival

The ReVersed Festival is a free and open gaming event for everyone of all ages, but of particular interest for game developers, enthusiasts, jammers and journalists. 

Organized in part by our friends at IGDA Austria, the event will take place from July 6-9th at the MuseumsQuarters in Vienna, Austria and will feature an indie showcases, a four-day game jam, and plenty of opportunities for networking. 

The event is entirely free for everyone, and is run on the blood, sweat and effort of their volunteer force. That said, they are looking for anyone interested in sponsoring the event. 

For more information visit: http://www.reversed.at

4C: St. Petersburg - Call for Speakers

The 4C Conference is back and this time it’s coming to St. Petersburg on September 22-23, 2017. The organizers are calling for speakers. The deadline is June 20th.

This year’s event, will bring together a great line-up of experts to give over 60 talks, hold panels, and participate in discussions covering a broad range of topics including art, design, technology, managerial and leadership practices, as well as, existing and emerging trends that will shape the industry for years to come. The first 4C conference, 4C: Kyiv 2016, was held in September 2016 and saw a broad lineup of over 50 reputable speakers from 14 countries speak in front of a whopping 800+ aspiring developers, video game enthusiasts, prominent media, and other opinion makers.

4C’s motto is: Create. Craft. Communicate. Collaborate.

4C: SPb is a conference for those who drive change, not just adjust to it. Listed among participants and speakers are world leading video game specialists and experts. Our goal with this event is to create a meeting place for the most innovative and aspiring developers from across the globe. We won’t be talking about the state of the industry today — we’ll be discussing what the industry will be like in 5 or even 10 years.

The event is sponsored by Wargaming, an award-winning online game developer and publisher, and one of the leaders in the free-to-play MMO market. They’re best known for the mega-hit game World of Tanks.

Additional information: 4C Call for Speakers  (PDF) & http://conf4c.com/

Are You the Next UA Superstar?

The Games Growth Hacker program aims to train new UA and mobile marketing talent for the Finnish gaming industry. 

During the program, trainees will work full time for 6 months at gaming companies and go through an 18-day training program held by industry professionals from companies such as Google, Rovio, Yousician, and Seriously.

No previous experience in UA, mobile marketing, or growth hacking is required. This program will train the participants, however applicants must be Finnish and unemployed to qualify. This is a good opportunity for unemployed members because past experience in the games industry, demonstrating a passion for games, and a positive attitude will help during the selection process. 

For more information visit: http://www.digitalexcellenceacademy.fi/koulutustrackit/games-growth-hacker/ 

Application deadline: June 4th

Wargaming Party 2017 and Bus Transportation Registration

Wargaming will be sponsoring bus transportation to the Parola Tank Museum from IGDA Finland Hubs. The buses are being coordinated by your local IGDA hubs.

In order to ensure a spot on a bus please do the following:

  1. Register for the Wargaming 2017 Party on Eventbrite (registration is now closed)
  2. Once you have a ticket to the event, register for bus transportation via one of the forms below.
  3. Bus registrations are individual, you cannot reserve bus seats for multiple people.
  4. Only register if you know for sure you can attend.

Bus transportation registration is now closed.

Bus transportation is free of charge, however a small fee of 5 euros will be collected from participants in Parola and donated to the Parola Tank Museum.

More info about the Wargaming Party 2017 here: https://www.igda.fi/new-events/2017/wargaming-party-2017

White Nights St. Petersburg June 14-15

WNConfHead.jpg

IGDA Finland members get 15% off the White Nights St. Petersburg conference registration fee. The WNConf attracts unique blend of industry professionals and developers from Russia and other CIS countries as well as delegations from Israel, Greece, India, and Finland.  Attendees will include representatives from Game Insight, App Annie, Playrix, Unity, Pixonic, Epic Games, VK.com, Starbreeze Studios, Electronic Arts, Google, Goodgame Studios, Facebook, MoPub, Appodeal, and IBCC.

The Developer Exhibition is a great place for studios to showcase their games in order to meet and get feedback from leading publishers, industry gurus and fellow colleagues.  The best of the best will receive a trophy and receive prizes at the Indie Game Cup Awards Ceremony. The organizers are accepting applications for the Developer Exhibition and for the Indie Game Cup until May 19, 2017. Participation is free. Use the following form to apply: https://goo.gl/forms/xIFq8uIclmXxkbFr2

Use the promo code IGDA-Finland to get your 15% discount when registering here: http://wnconf.com/#registration

Kajaani aiming for the stars with E-Sports!

It's gathering day 28th of March and Rock House Kulma is full of enthusiastic game industry veterans and students.

Kajaani is aiming to become the E-sports capital of Finland.
We are already famous for Critical Ops published by Critical Force Entertainment and a brand new Critical Force Academy starting next summer.
But it´s not all. Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Vuokatti
Ruka Sports Academy, is arranging the NORDIC eSports Academy Bootcamp
during the summer 2017.

We had a pleasure to have Touko Möttönen, former Kajaani University student and
Niklas Pehkonen to tell us more of this magnificent opportunity in our IGDA March
Gathering. Unfortunately our supposed guest Noel McAvennie couldn’t make it to the
event, but we took care of extra drinks for him.

Touko enlightened us about upcoming bootcamp.

Touko enlightened us about upcoming bootcamp.

The Nordic eSports Academy is a new Finnish summer school and tournament,
which takes place in Kajaani from 12.6 to 6.7 and culminates in 3-day CS GO
tournament in Vuokatti at the end (7.7 – 9.7). The bootcamp includes a series of
lectures, workshops and coaching sessions on a full time basis at KAMK for 80 to
100 students. The total prize pool for the tournament is 10,000€ and we’ll be bringing
approximately 10 to 12 of the best of the bootcamp teams together with a selected 8
to 10 guest teams. We’re hoping to bring some international teams as well as some
top Finnish teams to create something special. The camp is targeted especially for
amateur players, who aim to become professionals.

The bootcamp will be broken down into 5 modules: Business coaching, Physical
coaching, Mental coaching, Gameplay coaching and Testing. The Testing feature is
a new system developed by KAMK that measures a range of performance indicators
for each gamer while playing in a team. The end result will be a radar chart, much
the same as other athletes in traditional sports have to monitor ongoing performance
changes. This Testing system will be developed and exported with the idea that it will
become an industry standard so this is an opportunity for bootcamp teams to be
involved right at the start.

The various lectures, workshops and hands-on coaching classes will be undertaken
by a mix of local experts and international “gurus”. Ville “CISU” Leppälä, the former
Counter Strike player will do the coaching, while Mia Stellberg, a psychologist of
CS:GO team Astralis will handle the opening week lectures.

This is only the beginning of a new surge in local support for eSports, with major
plans afoot to develop eSports as an official sporting discipline that will be coached
at the Vuokatti Ruka Sports Academy, so we expect to see significant national
interest in what we’re doing as we launch the first bootcamp and tournament this
summer.

Samuli and Pauliina, after a hard evening of an IGDA Gathering

Samuli and Pauliina, after a hard evening of an IGDA Gathering

Written by:
Pauliina Lammi
IGDA Finland Kajaani Hub volunteer
 

Helsinki Hub April Demo Corner

We've got something special planned for the May Demo Corner, so don't miss your last chance to demo your game before the fall! Anyone interested in demoing next Tuesday April 18th should sign up using the following form:  

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeuhinlx3w3VOktbWzBaDa4JAsFTs8tAiOS6-1i-AkrwVnugw/viewform

Please read the form carefully before signing up!

April 11th IGDA Helsinki Hub gathering canceled, new gathering date April 18th

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Despite our best efforts we have not been able to secure a sponsor for the Helsinki Hub gathering tonight. We are working on a event for a later date this month, which we will inform more about as soon as we get the details figured out.

Our sincere apologies for the late notice, we were literally working to the last minute trying to make tonight happen!

UPDATE: The gathering has been moved forward by one week to Tuesday April 18th!

Game Access '17 is Looking for Speakers

Don't miss your chance to go to Brno, Czech Republic. 

Game Access is a game development conference taking place in Bron, Czech Republic from May 4-6. The conference has already attracted solid support and speakers from around the world, including a few Finnish companies like Remedy and Colossal Order. There are still a few speaking slots left, so If you're interested, drop everything and send a message to info@game-access.com. The speakers list will be finalized soon. 

In addition to the usual great speakers, unforgettable networking parties, and indie game competition, there will be F2P business and design master classes offered on May 3-4. 

IGDA Finland members get a 10% discount on Indie, Standard and Premium tickets. Just use promo code IGDAFinland when registering. 

For full details visit: http://game-access.com

Game Access is organized by GameDev Area, an independent initiative dedicated to support the gamedev industry in the Southmoravian region, Czech Republic.

 

 

IGDA Finland Members Get 20% off GameDev Days

Game developers with look ‘Back to the Future’ at the 5th annual GameDev Days Conference in Tallinn, April 7-8.

Two session tracks will go “Back to the Future”... The Postmortem track will include prominent game developers sharing their inspiring success stories and tips on how great games are created, while the Experts track will involve industry leaders sharing the latest game development trends and technologies as well as current news and research that guarantee to make your visit a fully enlightening experience.

Aside from the session tracks, there will be four workshops dedicated to development tools and artwork, running during the first day of the conference and will cover the most significant trends in creating a game.

Independent game developers will have the opportunity to present their latest games and get feedback from conference attendees at the Game Village Showcase. The best project will be voted on during the conference and awarded 2 free all-access passes to Casual Connect Asia. There they will be able to network with game industry professionals and exhibit their game in the Indie Prize showcase.

For more information and tickets, visit the conference website: https://gamedev.ee/

IGDA Finland members can get 20% off a standard pass by using promocode IGDAFIN during checkout. 

GameDev Days is organized and hosted by Creative Mobile, the largest Estonian game developer and publisher, with the support of IGDA Estonia.

35 Euros Off Reboot Develop 2017

IGDA Finland members are eligible for 35 Euros off standard tickets for Reboot Develop 2017, taking place in Dubrovnik from 20th to 22nd of April.

More than 120 world renown games industry developers and luminaries like Tim Cain, Kiki Wolfkill, Suda 51, Koji Igarashi, Cliff Bleszinski, Chris Taylor, Jaakko Lisalo, Jonathan Blow and more will deliver lectures during 3 days in 6 tracks, including outdoor events like beachside panels and other surprises.

Top agenda for Reboot Develop 2017 resolves around few hot topics. Building brands in both casual/core and crossover between both, Next level of VR, The Core and the Mobile future, Upcoming technology for AAA development, Making Free2Play great again, eSports for the masses, plus this year we also have a huge focus on composing and next gen audio across the platforms.

Use promo code REBOOTLOVESFINLAND when signing up. 

For more information see: http://www.rebootdevelop.hr/

Women in Games - Summary!

WOMEN IN GAMES

IGDA Finland Turku Hub February Gathering - event summary!

 

The February gathering in Saaristobaari was record breaking! Turku got visitors from Helsinki, Tampere and Jyväskylä – in fact busloads of game developers. There was obviously something magnetic with this month’s theme: Women in Games. We had a stellar panel consisting of Eevi Korhonen from Remedy, Sonja Ängeslevä from Unity (and a spider in the web of the Finnish game industry), Karoliina Korppoo from Colossal Order and Agnieszka Besz from Redlynx.

 

What is it like for a woman to work in a male dominated industry?

KK: Korppoo has been dealing a lot with media. It is interesting that gender is something that media always brings up in their questions. In Colossal Order there are 50/50 males and females, and it became like this naturally, without effort. In the history of game development there has always been women, it is not as uncommon as many think.

SÄ: Ängeslevä hates the question. But there are still problems, in big conferences there needs to be more women in panels for example (even though we have an “all female panel” this time). How can we get more women to apply for jobs in the game industry? Women need to be more pushy to get a foot in.

EK: Korhonen says she never had any problems. She works in Remedy, a company with its roots in the demo scene, which meant that the company used to consist of “40 dudes”. But now they are 140, and about 10 % are women. EK thinks this is a matter of company age and what kind of games the company makes. Often we tend to hire people that look like ourselves. But there are a lot of talented women out there.

AB: Besz says there are clearly more male programmers. On the mobile side women are about 23 % and over all the percentage of women is 33 %.

 

DSCF9029.JPG

Audience question: How has the demo scene demographics affected the situation?

EK: Has not been a part of it.

SÄ: The demo scene is not what it used to be. Now there are game jams, and there are a lot of women there. Jams are a possible way into the industry. Assembly and making demos are no longer the only way to get in.

KK: Women play different games. Based on the player base there should be a lot of women coming into the industry. Colossal Ordes doesn’t have statistics on the gender of the players, but there are no job applications from female modders.

 

Do women work with different types of games? Are women mostly doing art?

SÄ: A hard question. In Finland most studios are tiny, and especially ones founded by women.

EK: Korhonen used to work for Wooga, and they had more women. The internal culture was welcoming, inclusive, which is attractive for women.

AB: In the console area the majority are men, in mobile there are much more women.

 

Audience question: How do we find the best talent? How do we attract the best female students? How do we get them to show more courage?

KK: Colossal Order wants the best people. We hire students too, but we are mostly concentrated on filling senior positions. Something has happened in the game industry, it is no more mostly young males. They are turning 30, getting kids, and then they quit the industry. In CO the rules are that we do no overtime, 7,5 hours a day. We very rarely need to break that rule. We just do what we promise on time. By allowing people to have a life outside of the job, we get more experienced people. Proper rest also makes us more creative. Working in CO is a job, but we also love it.

SÄ: You can bring in young trainees. Talk with teachers, to also encourage girls to come. Internships to get to know the industry. Parties for networking. In Unity we have recruitment parties, without any obligation to apply.

EK: Impostor syndrome is probably very common: do I actually have skills? It holds back young people, students. You don’t even try. Find people in the industry and talk about it. Have someone validate you. Find a mentor. Everyone feels the same.

AB: Be confident and just try. There are graduate programs, for example in Redlynx, these are opportunities to learn. We are all normal people who work in the game industry.

 

Audience question: Is it a recipe for destruction to aim for equality, rather than just letting it happen by itself? Can’t we just aim at being good?

KK: We did that, and got 50/50. But it is important to think of the ideas you have about people, they can affect you when you hire. Preconceived ideas might affect your decision.

SÄ: I was turned down by a company because I was the first woman applying, “You might not like it here”, they said. We need to push and we need networking.

EK: You easily hire people who look like you. Diversity also means we can make games for more people, which means more money. There was an example of a game that was accidentally racist (game mechanics based on skin colour), and it took someone with a darker skin tone to test the game until they noticed the mistake…

AB: I’m against forcing, skills are important, but diversity is also important.

 

Is gaming ruining your (family) life, or is life ruining your game career?

AB: I also do it for myself in my “free time”, it is a passion that affects my whole life.

KK: I haven’t had time to play at home, because of work.

SÄ: Work and life are not separate things. I do a lot of different things, both for my life and for my work.

EK: Gaming ruined my posture.

 

Audience question: Is not being a woman in the game industry also leverage? Is it really a problem to enter the industry? In the mobile side more women play, and a good CEO would hire more women.

EK: I never felt it, I often felt boxed in. In Wooga there was one instance where I was not a fit for the team.

SÄ: Experience is what matters.

KK: When doing interviews in the US, I had a guy with me, and all the media people talked to the man. In Finland I can sometimes be seen as just a companion to someone, that I’m not someone who “works here”. When it comes to mobile games, the diversity still needs to be there. What is a benefit to me is that people remember me, because I look different. But sometimes I need to explain that I’m not “a lady who only plays causal games” (although I like them too). I often need to explain my game preferences.

EK: All people get boxed in, for example there are dress codes: T-shirt and hoodie. If you put on something “girly” it stands out in a NOT positive way. You have a feeling you should not draw attention to yourself.

 

Audience question: Will women steal our jobs? Is there such a fear? In some industries there is much resistance to let women in (tech, sports etc). What annoys you the most about this? How could men help?

EK: Just treat us like professionals. I’m just a human.

KK: We’re all human. Ask questions, get to know us. We all have prejudices, then we get past them.

AB: We are not that scary.

EK: And don’t get drunk and tell us we are cute!

 

Audience question: I work in the car industry, which is also very male dominated. You know the idea of ladies posing next to cars, have you encountered uncomfortable sexualized stuff in games?

KK:  In games conferences there have been incidents with ladies in bikinis. In some countries this is more common, but in for example Sweden they are much more sensitive, never anything offensive.

SÄ: 15 years ago it was much worse. Boobs. Now not so much. The world is changing. There are many genres now, and also “boob games” for those who want that.

EK: All of the Internet… The most annoying thing is that the sexualized stuff excludes people who don’t enjoy that.

AB: A beautiful picture sells better, gender is not always the thing.

 

Audience question: People are often surprised at female members in E-sports teams. How will women be part of the game industry in the future?

EK: It is unstoppable progress. One day women, and all sexes, will be a normal thing in the industry. It is only a matter of time, but it is good that there are people who criticize the situation now. This normalizes the idea of women in the game industry.

KK: It is a matter of the amount of players growing. The industry needs to make more diverse games, for different players. In 10-20 years the problem will be over. There will be more people with skills that can enter the E-sport scene, they will have more training. There’s a lot of stuff around games, streaming and so on.

EK: This notion of the “gamer”, there is no such stereotype anymore. In the future games are no longer some precious guarded playhouses.

 

Audience question: A producer asks: do you always have to be either an artist or a programmer? What other jobs are there?

SÄ: There are many more roles now: monetization, analytical skills, producers don’t need to know programming. You don’t even need a certain kind of background, I know one designer who used to be a librarian. Get experience in order to grow into the role you wish to land.

EK: Data is huge. Communication – engaging the community, being a buffer between audience and developers. Producing videos…

AB: Games have become bigger and more interdisciplinary. Only a programmer cannot make games for a bigger audience. There is also a need for team managers, because teams are bigger.

 

Audience question: About genres, there are untouched markets in PC. A lot of the games are still marketed for a certain kind of male. So many genres are not explored at all! What genres could be more explored, are there some that are more easily targeted to women?

SÄ: As an investor, and knowing investors: they invest in less risky genres. It is hard to get funding for new stuff. New genres need entrepreneurs pushing new ideas. It takes a lot of time.

KK: Yes, it is difficult to get investments for totally new ideas. Some genres are insanely expensive. With a shoe string budget you make something small, and see if it sells. Simulations you can make with a small team, but they appeal to a wide audience. What do the players actually want? Money and hours go into investigating what appears to be “untapped areas”. Cities: Skylines filled such a segment.

AB: You need money to support the team, and you need to compromise – make small changes to existing genres. New genres are too risky.

EK: indies and hobbyists can push the envelope. There are new areas to explore in art installations using game mechanics for example. New tech, VR, big IP’s like Pokemon GO can bring in new things.

 

Audience question: about stories, and the cliché “the scruffy white guy”. Are you accused of pandering when you don’t use that cliché?

EK: Well, look at the Remedy office and the huge posters… We have had a discussion in the company, that maybe we are finished with telling the story of the “anguished white man”. I’d love to do something different…

KK: In teaching, when students use this cliché, I ask: is this the most interesting character? Would you get new players with another kind of character? Would something else be valuable? You get a tiny extra bit of attention with other characters…

 

Walid O. El Cheikh from Aalto University presenting Game Executive Program.

 

Sleepy Sentry showing their game at demo-corner.

IGDA Finland Turku Hub January Gathering with RETRO GAMES - Aftermath!

The January gathering in Saaristobaari was all about retro games, and invited speakers were Antti Koski from Retromagia and Miikka Mannerlehto and Eero Pihkala from the Academic Nintendo Club in Turun Yliopisto.

Retrogames extravaganza

Antti has started two retrogames shops in Hämeenlinna, and later joined Poromagia and expanded his business to Turku. The hobby of collecting older games has become popular in Finland during the recent years. Antti started by selling his own collection and later games and consoles he hunted down through fairs and other contacts. Some stuff he has even found in the garbage.

Antti explains this trend with the fact that people who played these games as kids are now getting older and can afford to start collecting games for nostalgic reasons. It is a bit insane, Antti says: Posters can be sold for over a thousand Euros in some cases. People even ask for Super Mario bed sheets.

Games that are unopened are of course the most valuable. If there is some game that is in demand, they will go looking for it. Currently their stock is quite full. Often they even have to through stuff away. For example, it could be difficult to sell Arcade game machines, because of the space that they would require. But perhaps the next step is to open an Arcade hall?

So what is a retro game? Antti draws the limit at PS2, or games and consoles that are no longer in production. No one is looking for a retro Xbox 360 (yet).

Nintendo nostalgia

The rest of the evening it was possible to try Nintendo games supplied by the Academic Nintento Club in Turun Yliopisto. This club was described as a “hörhöseura” (flake club) by Miikka and Eero. But anyone is welcome to come and try games every second Wednesday, and sometimes at special game events. Once a month all the Nintendo stuff is brought out and can be tried and played.

 

Brace Yourself for Polar Bear Pitching

IGDA Finland Oulu Hub will be hosting a Polar Bear Pitching Pre-Party on February 14th at the Ilona Night Club.

The 4th annual Polar Bear Pitching event will take place in Oulu on February 15th and will attract hundreds of participants from around the world. Unlike in all other pitching competitions, Polar Bear Pitching doesn’t have a time limit. Entrepreneurs make their pitches while standing waist deep in an ice cold water on a stage carved in the frozen Baltic Sea and finalists require a special mix of focus and endurance.

The party follows a day of networking and keynote speeches at an Oulu Game Industry Meetup that will showcase the vibrant local gaming community of Oulu and Finland, as well as, connections from all over the world.

The sign-up links are coming soon, but check these links for more information: 

Oulu Game Industry Meet-up:
http://www.polarbearpitching.com/events/2017/2/14/gaming-event

Polar Bear Pitching Pre-Party with IGDA Finland Oulu Hub:
http://www.polarbearpitching.com/events/2017/2/14/igda-pre-party

Get 15% Off White Nights Prague

IGDA FInland members get 15% off White Nights. WNConf is headed to Prague for the first time and is expected attract a unique blend of industry professionals and developers from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, Germany and more. Attendees will include representatives from Big Fish Games, CD Projekt RED, GREE, gumi, Rovio, King, Kongregate, Game Insight, Appodeal, Unity, Amazon, VK.com, Microsoft, Google, Pixonic, G5 Games and Vungle.

The Developer Exhibition is a great place for studios to showcase their games in order to meet feedback from leading publishers, industry gurus and fellow colleagues.  Best of the best will receive a trophy and receive prizes at the Indie Game Cup Awards Ceremony. We are accepting applications for the Developer Exhibition (https://goo.gl/forms/d7rLUPmEZoVQ2wIJ3) and for the Indie Game Cup until Friday, January 20, 2017. A list of nominations can be found on our website.

Use the promo code IGDA-Finland to get your 15% discount when registering here (http://wnconf.com/#registration).

 

Helsinki October Gathering with Wargaming.net - The Aftermath!

As the autumn grows colder, more and more people retreat indoors. Last Tuesday, well over 600 people were offered refuge from the chilling October winds by IGDA Helsinki chapter together with Wargaming. The international company, headquartered in Nicosia, Cyprus, is responsible for many successes, including World of Tanks.

The guests were treated to food and open bar during the fun and relaxed party phase of the evening, but over 200 people showed up already for the information-packed seminar. The IGDA Finland pioneer Jay Ranki, currently the Development Director at the Wargaming Nicosia HQ, gave a short recap of what the company has been up to over the years and introduced the speakers.

The audience was in for two presentations: Milos Jerabek, Development director for World of Tanks, talked about project management. Wargaming’s Global Head of Marketing, Juuso Myllyrinne shed light on how to tap into the surrounding culture for great marketing gains.

Read more about the seminar below, and see you in November!


“What is a lead and what they should really be doing”

After the traditional demo effects and tech hiccups, Mr. Jerabek took the stage. His presentation was mainly directed at team leaders, but offered interesting insight to anyone looking into becoming a team lead themselves one day.

His core messages was that bad management drives people away and damages your company’s reputation, harming future recruitment prospects. Hiring is expensive, so you shouldn’t waste it!

What is the best way to keep your team together, motivated and productive? According to Mr. Jerabek, the team lead should be an expert in their field, but more importantly, enable the team to do their best work. This includes knowing the team on a more personal level, finding out why they may be unproductive or unhappy and then helping them solve these problems.

Ideally, the lead should make themselves unnecessary in the everyday management, let the team have ownership of their work and avoid micromanaging. The manager should be further ahead of the team, clearing a path to the future, instead of putting out small fires.

However, it is just as important to decisively call the shots, especially when only bad choices are available. Mr. Jerabek stressed that making the choice you can live with is always the way to go. Not doing anything is the worst you can do.

Mr. Jerabek also gave more direct tips for managers:

  1. Hire people who are more accomplished than you so you can improve.

  2. Aim for a team that complements each other’s weaknesses and has many exceptional strengths, rather than a team where everyone is moderately good at everything, but not outstanding at anything. All superstars necessarily have some weaknesses due to concentrating heavily on their strengths.

  3. Communication must go both ways. Listening and being approachable is crucial. Dictating and not explaining your reasonings will eventually lead to loss of motivation and employees leaving. And the best way to know someone’s about to leave is when they stop caring and arguing.

  4. Always aim to improve!

Mr. Jerabek also reminded the audience that although teams need to build around experienced seniors, you should also bet on the future. Finland has great schools and amazing juniors, so empower them and bring them along to create great future professionals!

Milos Jerabek’s reading list as provided. Links discovered by the reporter, so while they are probably right you may wish to confirm with Mr. Jerabek about the last two:

Contact:
m_jerabek@wargaming.net
twitter: Milabr87
facebook: milos.jerabek54
linkedin: milosjerabek

 

Marketing at the speed of culture

Juuso Myllyrinne’s presentation was loud, fast-paced and highly amusing, but also very informative. At the first glance it seems that today’s marketing is driven by “robots and machines”, it’s based on ever-refining algorithms, big data, metrics and other assorted buzzwords. But is there space for creativity?

When asked “how many of you in this room have clicked on a banner ad in the past week”, zero hands were raised. Zero. Currently, the customers are being bombarded by thousands of ads daily, wherever they go. And people are extremely good at filtering them out, as this very unscientific poll shows.

Mr. Myllyrinne’s first example was the recent Norwegian Airlines’ ad campaign for discount flights to Los Angeles. (For those living under a rock at the time, the ads read “Brad is single”, and were published in newspapers and online merely days after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce.)

It was a prime example of a relatively low cost campaign that gained traction because it turned into what Mr. Myllyrinne called “social currency”: people shared it voluntarily on their social media. They found it funny and hoped that other people would also see them as cool and funny when they shared the ad. And it worked: millions of views and shares, and more importantly, attention, all for free.

This was Mr. Myllyrinne’s main point: tapping into the culture and reacting quickly into events larger than you. In the best case, the ripples will spread and cause another reaction: if you keep feeding this loop, visibility can be multiplied.

This gives your company a competitive edge over others. The traditional kind of performance advertising, the kind where you pay money for exposure and results is all fine and good, but someone larger will always be willing and able to buy your audience.

To avoid that, Mr. Myllyrinne introduced three difficulty levels of being relevant:

  1. Know your customers: demographics, what do they like, their lifestyle?

  2. Have empathy, care about what your customers care about.

  3. Join the big conversation. Have values, a point of view, make your voice heard.

The second example was on a larger scale: the case of The_OMFGTR. In short, Canadian EDM star Deadmau5 (hugely popular in Japan, btw), turned his Ferrari into the Purrari, a bright blue sportscar with Nyancats on the sides, custom logos and floormats and all. Ferrari sent him a cease-and-desist letter.

Nissan stole the moment from Ferrari by tweeting a picture of their GT-R sportscar wrapped in a similar Nyancat design. Deadmau5 loved it, and as the story gained more and more audience, Nissan eventually actually shipped the custom GT-R to Canada. They made Ferrari look like grumpy old conservatives while making a huge impression on their core audience by empathising with their disappointment and providing a solution. Well played, Nissan.

Mr. Myllyrinne also reminded the audience, using a terrifying example, that if a company stays out of the public focus and concentrates on only traditional media, they might end up being dragged out in the open anyway, and not on their own terms. So best beat them to the punch!

Simply put, keep your eyes and ears open to the world, react quickly (or the moment will pass), best use fast and relatively cheap channels like social media. Not everything will necessarily become a viral hit, but the low cost keeps it worth the effort. And as an answer to an audience question, the optimal way to go about it is create interest and have people talk about it, then capitalise on it with traditional advertising. Seems solid!

 

Wrap up

Mr. Ranki wrapped up the seminar by reminding the audience of Wargaming’s publishing side as well and encouraged mingling, networking and making contact: “Everyone in the room should know that there's a friendly face at Wargaming!”

Wargaming has quite substantial experience in different markets and their focus points around the world, and Mr. Ranki encouraged the devs in the audience to approach them about publishing. Currently, Finns form the third largest demographic at Wargaming, and they want to bring a part of Finnish game development spirit to the company. Co-operation, communication and openness. Not a bad thing to be exporting!

There's still time to get a Russian visa

The White Nights Moscow conference will take place on October 11-12, 2016 and IGDA Finland members get 15% off tickets. 

The conference program will feature over 40 sessions across three tracks. CD Projekt RED, King, Playrix, Nevosoft, Facebook, Unity, VK.com, Google, Amazon, Game Insight, Rambler, RJ Games, G2A.com, Unreal Engine, Pixonic, Creative Mobile, 101XP and other leading companies will be attending the conference.

There will also be three exclusive closed-sessions run by Facebook, iOS and Google representatives. Please note: pre-registration required. For more info visit our website. (http://wnconf.com/en) 

The Developer Exhibition will once again be held as a part of the White Nights, where over 80 talented teams will showcase their best games in order to find partners, receive feedback from industry experts and make valuable business contacts.  Best of the best will receive a trophy at the Indie Game Cup Awards Ceremony. At the time of posting there are only two spots left, so act fast. 

There will be three networking events run as a part of the conference: pre-party at the Radio-City restaurant to be held on the day preceding the event, the main party at the luxurious Buddha-Bar at the end of the first day, and the Sparkling Intermission with Champagne by Applovin on the first day of the conference.

Use the promo code IGDAFinland15 to receive a special 15% discount when registering here (http://wnconf.com/en/#registration).