Self-Publish, Self-Publish, Self-Publish (Casual Connect USA 2013)

I recently attended Casual Connect in San Francisco and walked away from the show with this one theme stuck in my head: self-publishing is not only possible, but a great route for many developers. It all started with Will Harbin’s kick-off talk “Self-Publish or Die” in which Harbin (Kixeye‘s CEO) encourages new developers to remain independent and bypass the publisher relationship.  Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat summed up Will’s presentation well in this article.

As the 3-day show continued, I frequently found myself listening into conversations among developers about the role of publishers with the conclusion being the same as Harbin’s. And, it felt like every developer I heard speak at the podium throughout the show referenced Will’s earlier talk and agreed with his thoughts on going-it-alone. There were plenty of publishers exhibiting at the show and recruiting new developers, but still this theme rose to the top.

Being in the game industry, but not in a game development role, I don’t have an extremely strong opinion either way. But, what I have observed is that a publisher’s role usually takes the form of marketing. And, when you can fulfill that role on your own  – leveraging internal staff to meet marketing needs or by hiring outside PR/marketing consultants (like me) on an as-needed basis around game launches and important milestones – then why wouldn’t you self-publish?

Casual Connect Logo

Game of Thrones Ascent Ascends @ Comic-Con San Diego!

I’ve been working with Disruptor Beam to promote their hit social game – Game of Thrones Ascent – since early 2012. Aside from the game itself, which has been very well received by players, another part of its success is the widespread popularity of HBO’s hit TV series and George R.R. Martin’s series of books. The studio’s relationship with HBO and HBO’s willingness to support the game however it can, has also opened many doors for us in terms of PR and promotions.

For example, through the studio’s partnership with HBO we were able to promote the game via an on-site and very well-attended “Join the Realm” exhibition at San Diego Comic-Con this past week.  Not only did the Disruptor Beam team meet with and demo the game for thousands of hardcore Game of Thrones fans, they were able to schmooze with some stars from the show and even some impressive cosplayers.

I just had to share these pictures of Khalessi and her Unsullied playing the game. Priceless.

Khalessi at Comic-Con

 

Khalessi at Comic-Con 2

Registration open for Boston Festival of Indie Games!

It is almost here! Well, sort of. The Boston Festival of Indie Games will be held on Saturday, September 14th this year and it will be amazing! A celebration of indie game development, attendees play games of all sorts (digital, tabletop, LARP, etc.) in a casual, inclusive environment. The festival also features film screenings, music performances, keynote talks and more. And, best of all, its free! I’ll be helping out again this year on the PR effort and we’re hoping to triple the number of attendees – we’re expecting thousands! So, if you are interested in attending, register early to ensure your spot at www.BostonFIG.com. Hope to see you there!

FIG

 

Another Successful Game Challenge in the Books

For the second year in a row, I’ve worked with the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) to host their annual Game Challenge. If you are unfamiliar with it, the Game Challenge is a two-day competitive and educational framework in which participating teams (students and Indie developers) create a game concept or prototype, collaborate with industry mentors, and pitch their game to a panel of judges. The ultimate goal of the event is to launch more games in Massachusetts, while helping to make connections between up-and-coming developers and those established in the industry.

Game Challenge WInners

Winners at the high school, college, and indie game developer levels were chosen in the categories of Best Entertainment Game and Best Serious Game. In addition to the competition itself, we organized numerous educational sessions, meet-ups, sponsor talks, and an Indie Game Showcase. We were also lucky to have Roadhouse Interactive’s President and Studio Head, Tarrnie Williams, keynote  on Saturday afternoon, while our judges were hard at work selecting winners. In total 43 teams competed – doubling the amount of competing teams since 2012 – with around 300 attendees. In the end, a very talented group of developers took top honors.

My role with the event has been to manage logistics, nuts-to-bolts, and promotion – everything from organizing our speakers, mentors and judges, to assembling our packed (but amazing) schedule, to taking care of catering, organizing our VIP party, and publicity surrounding the event. And, it was a blast, which is why I’m looking forward to 2014!

Here are a couple of shots – of our winners, and the planning committee (that’s me with Monty and Tim!) 🙂

Tim. Elicia and Monty

Ian Verchere Talks Console to F2P Studio Transition at Casual Connect Europe

Ian Verchere, CCO and Co-Founder of Roadhouse Interactive spoke at the Casual Connect Europe conference this week on the topic of converting the Vancouver-based studio from a console development house to a free-to-play studio. Ian details how Roadhouse was able to convert its business from a work-for-hire console developer to a games-as-a-service company. Watch Ian’s talk here!

 

Women in the MA Game Industry – 2/28

The MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Games & Entertainment Circle has a great event coming up on February 28th, “Women in the MA Game Industry: A Discussion of Diversity, Challenges and Progress.” The line-up is stellar with Patricia Resende of Mass High Tech (moderator), Courtney Stanton (Women in Games Boston), Michelle Yaiser (Adobe), Jen Groff (MIT Learning Games Network), Fiona Cherbak (Interactive Selection, Boston Festival of Indie Games) and Vicky Wu Davis (Adalia, FrogHop). Register here: http://womeningames.eventbrite.com – it’s free!