Frankfurt, Germany (Weltexpress). If there’s one thing the games industry is used to, it’s change. It really is one of the most unpredictable businesses on the planet, and it’s pretty useless to try and forecast trends or almost anything when yesterday’s big-deal Zynga is today’s red-faced flop. Even marketing strategies based on past performance regularly get turned on their heads. It is not for nothing that people call Xbox One the Xbox One-Eighty.
So this means that keeping in touch with trends and communicating generally within the industry is essential. There can never be enough forums, gatherings, meetings, conferences, congresses and symposiums designed to bring together various groups of people who are involved in the games industry. They keep professionals and observers on track as they turn up to these meetings to pick each other’s brains, look for funding for a new concept or just generally to get away for a day or two from the usual geek lifestyle of staring at a screen in a darkened room.
Every year in summer Cologne turns into the Mecca of the European games industry as everything and everyone to do with designing, developing, selling, buying or just playing games descends on the Kölnmesse to rub shoulders with other gamers. But this time there’s a brand new addition to the schedule. Called Respawn, and supported by, amongst others, Google, the G.A.M.E. Association of Germany and the Film and Media Foundation of North-Rhine-Westphalia (Film u. Medienstiftung NRW), it’s scheduled to kick off on August 19 parallel to GDC Europe, and will run for two days at the “Abenteuerhallen” in Köln Kalk.
The concept is completely different to the usual closed lecture-room presentation format, with “open theme islands” dotted around the hall, allowing visitors to browse from topic to topic, stopping wherever they find something interesting being presented at that particular time. The atmosphere will be transparent and fluid, creating a closer sense of community and a relaxed meeting place for peers in the industry.
Respawn has already attracted speakers of the caliber of Al Lowe and Paul Trowe, who are scheduled to present the “soup-to-nuts” story of Leisure Suit Larry in Kickstarter – from concept to shipping and rewards. There is also talk of a crazy saxophone session from Al himself, which will be an exciting departure from the usual fare at games conferences. Other speakers include Ralf Adam, who has wide experience in the games and film production industries in Germany, European Game Developer Federation luminary Malte Behrmann whose knowledge of the pan-European games industry is unparalleled and Benjamin Feld of Studio 100 who will be talking about Transmedia and how it will pretty well change the communications game forever.
The organizer, Aruba Events, is Germany’s principle games event company, counting among their regular successes the annual Quo Vadis conference in Berlin, the German Games Award and the European Executive Summit, held in an exotic and secret location in Europe every year and a think-tank for leaders in the games industry across Europe and beyond. Stephan Reichart, CEO of Aruba Events, is always looking for new and interesting ways for industry players to meet up, exchange views, present their new ideas and generally keep the industry’s energy fired up and it remains to be seen if he has once again tapped into the zeitgeist with Respawn. We’ll be reporting on the event at the end of this month.