Here are the panels, presentations and workshops that took place at GameON: Ventures 2016.
Day 1 – October 20, 2016
8:30am-9:15am – Registration and breakfast
Breakfast provided by:
9:15am-9:45am (Auditorium) – Opening remarks
- Indigenous Greeting from Constance Simmonds – Senator, Toronto and York Region Métis Council
Intro from Christa Dickenson – Executive Director, Interactive Ontario
Remarks from Karen Thorne-Stone – President & CEO, Ontario Media Development Corporation
- Remarks from The Honourable Eleanor McMahon – Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
- John Romero
As a young child in Tucson, Arizona, young John Romero discovers the magic of arcades. Whenever he can, he drops his quarters into the machines and, to make the experience last as long as possible, he concentrates on being good, really good. By the time the family moves to Rocklin, California, his initials, “AJR”, are on the top of every machine’s leaderboard all over town. That competitive love of games leads to a love for programming, and by the age of 11, Romero is making his first game. Nearly four decades later, he is still making them. From arcade to college mainframe, from the Apple II to the Apple iPhone, from Dangerous Dave to DOOM, Romero’s career has both followed and forged the industry as we know it. In this talk, Romero explores the industry through the lens of his games, particularly first-person shooters, past and present, and speculates on the its future.
10:45am-11:15am – Networking Break
11:15am-12:15pm (Auditorium) – Leveraging the Gaming Community
The gaming community represents more than just your user-base—it can be the most critical piece to the growth of your game. Developers and publishers succeed when they treat their gaming community as a key partner in growth. This panel will provide fresh ideas for leveraging your existing audience to market your game, acquire new users and develop new revenue streams, and discuss tactics for finding new audiences and connecting with gaming communities.
How to make the most out of your audience
- John Gardiner (Toronto) – Senior User Acquisition and Finance Manager, Big Viking Games
- Zack Cooper (Toronto) – Lead Community Developer, Ubisoft Toronto
- Dimitri Gochgarian and Robin Veret (Singapore) – Co-founders, Rez Creative
- Jason Maestas (San Francisco) – Senior Director of Partnerships in North America and Support, Twitch
- Anne Devouassoux (Paris) – Executive Producer, Kylotonn Games
11:15am-12:15pm (Room CR-3) – Creating effectively for the Kids Market
Making an effective and responsible game for kids takes more than simply adding brighter colours and removing violence. During this session, experienced children’s interactive game producers will share what it takes to be successful in this market. The session will also explore the latest trends in children’s interactive games and the positive impact games can have.
How to be successful and responsible in the kids interactive game market
- Sasha Boersma (Toronto) – Co-founder & Producer, Sticky Brain Studios
12:15pm-1:20pm – Networking lunch & Table Topics
Diverse teams bring a range of perspectives and talents to the table. Creating a workplace that’s inclusive to all cultures, ethnicities, abilities, genders and sexualities will not only better reflect the world your games are created for, but may actually open up new markets and help you reach new audiences by telling relevant and compelling stories. Our panelists will discuss the ways in which diversity has actually created opportunities in the games industry.
How diverse voices and talents can present new opportunities
- Jason Loftus (Toronto) – CEO, Mark Media
This panel will share the latest trends in venture capital funding with an overview of the current market. We’ll gain insights on venture capital and hear direct experience from a game studio that recently participated in crowd-sourced equity funding.
What VC markets are currently looking for and how your company can position itself in order to take advantage of current market trends
- Mary Sorrenti (Toronto) – VP Operations & Finance, Game Pill
2:30pm-3:00pm – Networking break
Gaming is becoming an important new frontier for social good, and as these panelists will demonstrate, games can be an incredibly effective agent for real change. During this panel, we’ll hear about programs and projects that are making a difference.
Ideas for using games to build community
- The Honourable Michael Coteau (Toronto) – Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, Government of Ontario
3:00pm-4:00pm (Room CR-3) – How to Profit from Free Games
Entering the free-to-play market doesn’t mean losing out on valuable revenue. In this discussion we’ll hear successful strategies producers have developed in order to maximize profits and retain players. We’ll also learn what tools exist in order to make it easier to identify and manage these revenue streams and hear from producers and service providers about what has worked (and what hasn’t worked) for them. This session will provide an overview of the life cycle of a free-to-play game, from platform to developer to marketing to analytics-based insights of a game in the market.
New strategies for monetizing F2P games
- Vikas Gupta – Board Member, Interactive Ontario
4:10pm-5:00pm (Auditorium) – Finding the Right Game Publisher
Looking to partner with a publisher but unsure of where to start, or how to find the right partner for your project? What does a publisher look for in a game developer, and what do successful collaborations between studios and publishers entail? Is it possible to be your own publisher? Our panelists will tackle these questions as we hear from both sides of the spectrum on the challenges and benefits of studio-publisher relationships and how to find the right fit for your next game. We’ll also hear from a studio that decided to self-publish.
Steps in finding the right publisher
- Brendan Sinclair (Toronto) – Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz
5:10pm-6:30pm – Cocktail reception
Day 2 – October 21, 2016
9:00am-10:00am – Registration
10:00am – 10:10am (Auditorium) – Opening remarks
Remarks by Sandra Collins – VP, Operations & CFO, Canada Media Fund
- Philippe Rostaing (MERJmedia) – Floor Kids
- Brian Fetter (Steel Crate Games) – Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
- Blair Renaud (IrisVR) – Technolust
Technolust is a critically acclaimed cyberpunk adventure created from the ground up to be experienced in virtual reality. The user is free to explore the rich environments and interact with the world’s bizarre natives as they unravel a mystery involving mass suicides, A.I. revolutions and corporate dominance… or they can just hang out in the arcade and play mini games. What the user does in the world of Technolust is their decision.
Floor Kids is an upcoming action rhythm game for iOS & Android. Featuring original hand-drawn animation by JonJon, music by Kid Koala and innovative touch-dance controls. Floor Kids celebrates street dance culture in a super cute, super confident style.
10:20am-12:20am (Room CR-2) – Workshop: Managing your Workforce – Operations 101 for Game Studios and Developers
In this hands-on workshop, you’ll glean insights from experienced studio managers on the core functions of HR for this fast-paced and constantly evolving industry. We’ll discuss important decisions like when to hire and fire employees, how to effectively promote and train your staff, how to give an effective performance review, and how to work with remote staff and freelancers. We’ll also discuss common challenges, like how to manage developing your own IP while still maintaining client work, how to be better at client-service relationships, collaboration with other studios, compliance with accessibility regulations and all of the other issues surrounding relationship management in gaming and IDM.
Format: Pre-register (delegates check your email for the link) and submit 3 topic ideas for small group discussion and facilitated learning with experienced studio managers
How to be better at running your studio and managing your staff
- Keith Fuller (Madison) – Consultant, Fuller Game Production
So you’re exploring the VR markets and established some expertise in the area. What else can you do with this flourishing technology? Our panel will share what the growing world of VR looks like when it intersects with frontiers like health, tourism, museums, amusement parks, rental markets and more. Join us to discover new business opportunities for the platform and learn from leaders in the field.
Inspiration for new VR markets to explore and leverage
- Lucie Lalumiere (Toronto) – Executive Producer, 360 Story Lab
- Dr. Bernie Garrett (Vancouver) – Associate Professor, The University of British Columbia School of Nursing
- Vanessa Lawrenson (Dublin) – Director, bigOmedia
- Shiraz Akmal (Los Angeles) – Co-founder & CEO, SPACES
- Dora Cheng (Pasadena) – Co-founder, UForis VR
12:30pm-1:30pm – Networking lunch
1:40pm – 2:40pm (Auditorium) – Pitch Competition Finals
2:50pm-3:00pm(Auditorium) – Announcement of Pitch Competition winners
3:00pm-3:10pm (Auditorium) – Closing remarks
3:10pm-5:00pm – Wind Down
Catch up with everyone you met at GameON: Ventures in relaxed environment with drinks, snacks, live gameplay and game trailers on the big screen, and a game that will get you working with your fellow delegates.