By Giorgos Riskas and Roope Sorvo
The March IGDA Finland gathering at the Helsinki Hub was a non-commercial celebration. It was the first unsponsored Helsinki event in a number of years and opted to focus on other non-profit game initiatives taking place across Finland.
The seminar highlighted the work of industry wide game consortium that has been working together to address the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation. The talks were an introduction and warm up for a bigger GDPR event that will be held at the Supercell office on March 28th. Anyone working for a game development studio interested in joining the upcoming GDPR event, should send an email to gdpr (at) neogames (dot) fi.
Neogames Senior Policy Analyst Jari-Pekka Kaleva, presented six steps to prepare your company for the upcoming changes. He highlighted the practice of implementing “privacy by design”, which will require both big companies and indie developers have to adopt a new mindset when it comes to handling data and how the new rules affect their revenue. “The fact is that this is a new situation and it is hard predict how exactly games industry will change ”, Kaleva said, “But we definitely have to start implementing the new rules now and see where that leads on the long term.”
Petri Hyökyranta, CTO of Rovio Games, has recently been busy interpreting how to best implement the GDPR requirements into games. He shared how Rovio is approaching the upcoming changes. Over the course of last few years, Rovio has worked alongside several other Finnish game studios and policy analysts to create an industry wide GDPR task force where game developers can get info they need regarding the upcoming changes, exchange thoughts and seek opinions and views, all in one convenient space. Hyökyranta says that as of now there are no definitive right answers regarding the best plan going forward, but game teams need to understand what data they are collecting, why it is being collected and how it is being processed. It is clear that the best approach to addressing the GDPR is working in a collaboration with and between game developers all over Europe and new companies are joining the task force daily. Anyone interested to joining the task force, should contact J-P or Petri to get things started.
Kaisa Salakka, Product Director at Unity, talked about how GDPR will affect monetization in games, using Unity as an example. Like Hyökyranta, Salakka believes that at the moment everything is a bit blurry regarding the legislation, and that it might take a few years for companies to adjust to the changes. The procedure of getting there might have some revenue impact for both indie developers and bigger companies. She also believes that change of regulations in the European Union might be a disadvantage to those in competition with companies outside the EU.
The presentations sparked a lot of conversation and questions in the audience, which featured noticeably more top management participants than usual. The audience and speakers concurred that the regulation will impact student projects and educational institutions will need to adapt their curricula to adapt to the upcoming changes.
The serious tone of seminar was lifted, when Jonne Harja, board member of Finnish Game Jam Association and super jammer Samuli Jääskeläinen gave a lighter presentation about game jams the activities of the Finnish Game Jam (FGJ). The entertaining duo showcased many of the weird jams and stunts the association has organized jamming in a bus, in a remote cabin in the middle of wilderness (Survival Jam), and on back of a bike (JamBike).
Appropriately, the Demo Corner featured games from two events organized by FGJ, the Sami Game Jam in February, and this year’s Global Game Jam, featuring the theme of ‘transmission’. My Turn to Pew is a turn-based SHMUP where the player moves in 1-second bursts, and the world around the ship only moves during that same time. Incoming Transmission is a simple 2D game where the player pilots a ship with an increasing delay between the player inputs and the ship’s response, asking the player to be able to predict and calculate further and further ahead. Wasteland Trader is a post-apocalyptic exploration game where the player trades items with other entities they encounter in order to collect pieces required to repair a radio tower. Exploding Babies is a hectic 4-player battle arena game where the players try to win by detonating the babies of other players using sound waves.
Despite the lack of a sponsor, nearly 300 people turned out for event.