By Jon Lopera
Vancouver, what a disgustingly beautiful place to hold an unsurprisingly successful event for mobile games and tech.
And while the dust settles on a rather detached week for Great Britain, here we are across the pond making new friends and meeting some of the industry’s most respected and promising companies who’ll no doubt have a positive effect on our future. After all we’re here to build a better world together because when it comes down to it let’s face it, we’re stronger in doing so.
Brexit connotations aside, the games industry has always maintained an air of support for one another and it’s events like SteelMedia’s PG Connects Vancouver that help bridge the gap between established, upcoming and all round talented people who care about one thing – great games and great tech.
Having learnt that Vancouver is one of the fastest growing cities in North America and indeed the world, it’s also evident that we’re surrounded by a place that harbours super talented developers, artists and entrepreneurs who’ve clearly been a major part of this thriving economy. Companies like Eastside Gamesand Hothead Games who’ve created titles such as Dragon Up and Rivals at War respectively, have reaped the rewards of a government whose outspokenly supported the actions of gaming companies for a while now. PG Connects Vancouver has also welcomed companies like ZPLAY from across the world in China and other Asian developers who’ve not only helped provide the local communities with job prospects, but with a gateway for larger business opportunities that help shape to a better market.
We’ve seen many a cool new products over the past week here, spoken to some amazing individuals and met who we believe will be the next big thing in gaming through The Very Big Indie Pitch. Couple the above with a beautiful city, kind local residents and a beautifully built convention centre overlooking the world famous Whistler Mountains, and you get an extremely jealous couple of Brits heading back to a divided country in what feels like it will be a very sad and long journey home.
By Doug Hunter
Like a game of Pong, the referendum debate has been back and forth, there have been epic saves, cheap shots and we have entered the final rally, the ballot boxes are out there and the debate keeps on churning.
Interestingly, Pong is very close to home for EU referendums, the original home version was released at Christmas in the year 1975. We won’t all remember that year, but strangely, in June of the same year, the UK voted on whether to stay in the EU.
Referendum Pong so far
Leave 0 1 Remain
Back to round two of referendum Pong:
Our friends over at UKIE, which is the only trade body for the UK’s games and wider interactive entertainment industry, recently conducted a poll to find out where people in our beloved industry stood when it comes to the EU referendum.
Between the 23rd of May and the 10th of June, the confidential poll was responded too by 20% of its membership. Here are its findings;
When finding out about talent;
Are games companies prepared for Brexit should it happen then?
Does UKIE have a stance?
It is imperative to mention that UKIE will be here to help the games industry as it has so well in the past whatever the result in the early hours tomorrow morning. With that in mind and its position politically, UKIE has rightly refrained from backing either side but worked hard to gather and share the facts. UKIE has stated that the future is uncertain and it will re evaluate its position on how it can best support the industry after the results, we simply don’t know what will be next for the UK. There will most likely be another Scottish referendum within weeks, the leaders on various sides of the Tory Party will be reshuffled left right and center, (even more confusingly than trying to type the konami code on a touchscreen).
If you would like to see the results of the survey in full, here it is.
What is the industry saying then?
We had to look at some of the opinions going and it didn’t take link to find some views from around the UK gaming landscape, here the Guardian shared a piece titled “Why Brexit would be apocalyptic for the games industry” by Jane McConnell. A great read if you get a moment.
A quick look on social media shows the rest of the UK based games industry isn’t lying down and is playing its own shots on political Pong.
Just down the road we have ustwo (you may have heard of them from such titles as Monument Valley and Land’s End), which has made its stance public with tweets such as this and this company blog. I just wish they had rebranded to ustEU, but that’s just me.
Mike Bithell from Bithellgames.com which launched the beautiful thomas was alone, chips in with this tweet,
Another firm favourite of ours at Dimoso is George Osborn over at Mobile Mavericks who happens to have made his view clear here and has summed up in depth the debate for GamesIndustry.biz here – Brexit to Desktop?
As has Keith Andrew with this touching sentiment;
These are just some of our findings – not through lack of trying, we simply have not found any voices from the games industry at time of publishing. Do feel free to share any that you find from either side though.
Finally, what do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts on what is set to be a game changer for the UK, whatever the result.
By Harry Cole
The Dimoso team is heading to Vancouver for one of the biggest events on the Mobile Gaming calendar, Pocket Gamer Connects Vancouver. Some of the biggest names in gaming are attending, including: Unity, EA, Activision, Google, Gram Games, Elex Tech. As well as indie and mobile gaming specialists.
Pocket Gamer has a series of these get togethers all over the world, allowing members of the mobile gaming community to connect and network. This is it’s North American event, others take place in Europe and Asia, with the world’s largest mobile gaming event taking place in London.
There are seven specialist tracks being run at the event, including Indie Futures and East Meets West. There are 80 sessions in total with over 90 speakers. Key aspects of the event are the inclusion of VR which is the hot topic at this time and Made In Vancouver, a chance meet local Developers and Publishers.
Dimoso will be there, team members Jon and Doug will be attending so feel free to come over to speak to us about our clients, our work and opportunities to work with us. We’re the experts on mobile games PR and would love to talk with you. We’re also representing clients at the event including Gram Games, The Specialist Works, Elex Tech, 1DER and Treasure Hunt
We’re also the Pocket Gamer PR Agency of record and can help with any PR opportunities you would like to arrange at the event. We look forward to seeing you there.
#Pocketgamerconnects #vancouver #gamesdevelopment #dimoso #games @dimosoagency@pocketgamerconnects @jonlopera @hunterdoug
By Sanjan Sabherwal
Today the British public have been given the opportunity to vote on whether to leave or remain in the European Union. The last time we had a choice on membership with the EEC was 5th June 1975. 65% of the voting public went to the polls, with 67 percent opting to stay within the single market. Polling agencies predict a far closer result and there’ll be a far greater number of votes in the ballot boxes.
Brexit campaigns have taken over the airwaves since Prime Minister David Cameron fixed a date on February 20th 2016. Since then, the British public has been inundated in a sea of argument, counter-argument, hard-hitting media campaigns, statistical manipulation and leaflets. It’s a challenge for citizens to make a fully rational decision on whether to stay or leave especially without having all the information available in an easy-to-understand formats. It’s equally difficult for political leaders to balance many demands and make the right decisions. I’m sure there are times when presidents and prime ministers would rather kick back and play video games – not political ones!
Often the public feel they would be better at ruling than the current leadership. Whist being in a position of power is not accessible to all, game designers for centuries have enabled everyone to explore their capacity to think strategically. Chess and other military board-games have long fulfilled our aspirations. Attaining world domination at ‘Risk’ often ended in actual violence. However, as computers become powerful enough to simulate more complex gaming scenarios, violence becomes just one aspect of a more complex mix. For example Age of Empires requires players to balance resources to fuel the inevitable fighting.
Released in 2013, Democracy 3 by British developers Positech, became one of the most complex political strategy games ever made. Finally game developers and players are engaging with more sophisticated topics and strategies. The game challenges players to manages the brainache-inducing issues of crime, unemployment, national debt, terrorism and climate change that overshadow western nations in order to win elections. Decisions can be made based on the motivations, desires and loyalties of groups and individual voters. Having data on individual AI’s income, complacency and cynicism offers guidance to players.
The player has access to ‘focus groups’ so they can instantly experience public reaction to changes in policy or manifesto. The attention-to-detail and opportunity to mod mean it is hard to distinguish the game from the socio-economic models used in political institutions to design policy. Unsurprisingly Democracy 3’s simulation engine is based on a neural network. All elements (e.g. groups of voters, policies and events) are interconnected so changes in one will affect the position of another. By simply loading in new data in the form of spreadsheets, players can simulate new relationships. Open source mods available on the website allow us to test Keynesian economic policies or simulate political systems in developing countries. The latter no doubt informed the development of Democracy 3 Africa.
In time for the ‘two party’ Presidential Election and Britain’s in-out EU Referendum, founder Cliff Harris, released Democracy 3 Electioneering. The expansion edges closer to contemporary thought in political economy. No longer are outcomes completely predictable or voters considered fully rational. Electioneering brings “emotional irrationality to your electorate!”. Now the soundbites, slogans and public image of candidates – so ubiquitous in real life – are integrated into the game. Mislead the public with false promises and time speeches to cover up bad news. Power can be won with an expensive campaign, not well thought out policies.
Democracy 3 and its growing ecosystem is an incredible tool for people wanting to learn more about the factors underpinning a detailed political system. It’s a fascinating way of learning how civilisation in the free world is actively maintained. The game is understandably appealing to the politically-engaged, but could be intimidating for the casual players or political novices.
A more friendly political game on the surface is Political Animals by Squeaky Wheel. But don’t let the colourful and cartoon graphics fool you – the game is ‘dog-eat-dog’ and the aim is to be elected leader and take over one of several island maps. The Filipino developers highlight the corruption in developing nations and rightly or wrongly characterise politicians as either domesticated animals or wild beasts. It’s fun and satirical without the hard-hitting message of Animal Farm.
Games are brilliant at helping us empathise. They allow us to fully-immerse ourselves in other worlds and explore without risk. Sometimes you can even hit ‘undo’. When playing Democracy 3, you have time to analyse all the information presented and are playing more than a single politician, you are indeed playing god. You can see everything and know everything. Despite some suspicion of a surveillance state, in reality politicians can’t stop time and weigh up all the information to fully calculate their strategies. Like us, they are swayed by campaigns, lobbyists and incomplete information. Like us they too have to sometimes make best guesses and live with the consequences.
Today we must vote on whether we should leave or remain the European Union. Pollsters using similar technology to Democracy 3 have been desperately trying to predict the outcome but our irrational and emotional choices are inevitably too hard to compute. Whatever the result, there will be winners and losers but it’s better we live in a complex democracy than under a simplistic dictatorship.