THIS year's GameHorizon conference will feature a range of speakers sharing their thoughts about the future of gaming.
However, for a really frank discussion on where the industry is going, you can’t beat a decent panel.
Organiser Codeworks has included a couple of panels in the programme for the returning conference, which arrives at the Sage in Gateshead on June 27 and 28.
Revolution Software founder Charles Cecil will be hosting a general panel on “games, the universe and everything” on Wednesday (June 27), featuring Mark Rein of Epic Games, Pocket Gamer co-founder Jon Jordan, Papaya Mobile’s Oscar Clark and Thumbstar’s CEO Gareth Edmondson.
Mark Rein, for example, has appeared at previous gaming events in the North East to discuss the staying power of the premium “triple-A” game titles, saying they will thrive on mobile platforms as well as consoles.
Gareth Edmondson left Newcastle studio Ubisoft Reflections to take the big job at mobile games service provider Thumbstar Games last year, leaping from the helm of a company developing highly-rated, big budget, driving game Driver: San Francisco to a growing firm helping to distribute smaller mobile games worldwide.
“There will be a lot to discuss, and we’ve got quite an opinionated panel”, said conference producer Nina Cliff.
“There’s the question of apps vs browser vs iCloud, and then there’s interactive TV. At the moment it’s an indie revolution in the games industry, but are the big boys going to wrestle it back soon? Traditionally it’s been the publishers that have held all the cards, and are they going to end up with full control of the market again?
“There’s also the question of the free-to-play revolution at the moment. A lot of people think it’s the future and it’s a very popular business model.
“The “triple-A” game also is expanding onto other platforms now from consoles, such as mobile devices.”
The other panel will analyse the various funding options available to games-makers.
It will be hosted by intellectual property expert and Sheridans lawyer Alex Chapman, and draw on Nicholas Lovell of Gamesbrief, Tenshi Ventures founding partner Jonathan Newth and Six to Start’s Adrian Hon.
Hon spoke at The Sage last week as part of the Thinking Digital conference, where he discussed how the London firm raised money for its Zombies, Run! game through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Having set a low target of $12,500 for the game last year, it ended up raising $72,627 from 3,464 backers. It involves spicing up running sessions by pumping out audio creating the illusion that the user is being chased by the living dead. Cliff said: “Funding is a huge issue in games right now. There’s a lot of contingents in there, from the type of game to the type of publisher and the type of studio. Jonathan Newth has done a round-up of all the options open to developers, and there are quite lot to be considered. As well as things like crowdfunding, you can also develop brand associations, in that you can design a game with a brand partner. Games can also be funded through revenue shares.
“It’s important that people are open-minded about the options.” This year’s GameHorizon will feature speakers such as Natural Motion’s Torsten Reil, Miles Jacobson of Sports Interactive, David Helgason of Unity, Darren Jobling of Eutechnyx, David Reid of CCP and Katie Bell of Stardoll.
For more information or tickets, go to www.gamehorizonconference.com