Continuing our Gaming Aim High series, Mark Skelton talks about the group visiting Liverpool with Northern Ireland Screen for the International Festival for Business.
After a successful trip to Amsterdam for the Unite Europe 2016 Unity training day it was safe to say that the Aim High crew were very much looking forward to our latest excursion to Liverpool.
Joined by Paula Campbell and Donal Phillips of NI Screen, we caught a flight from Belfast City Airport at 7:10am (we were all fresh as daises!). We arrived at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool at Kings Dock for UK Trade & Investment at the International Festival for Business 2016 for registration at 10am. The talks were scheduled to begin at 11am, which gave us time to get our bearings and explore some of the exhibits that IFB2016 had to offer.
There was a smorgasbord of genres on show, including a VR arcade experience, a word based platformer, a community driven football manager game and an outer-space based racing game. We all got to talk with the creators of each game to gain an insight into their backgrounds, development stories, experience with the business of games and have a general chit chat.
The event kicked off with a welcoming message from Tony Hughes of UKTI followed by keynotes, most notably from Peter Moore of Electronic Arts. It was especially interesting to hear Peter’s viewpoints on future opportunities for business with the European gaming industry following the recent result of the EU referendum. We then had a quick coffee break at noon to recharge the batteries and network other attendees of IFB2016.
The afternoon session saw us receive talks from leading players and investors from three major international games markets; the USA, China and Korea. Much was learned from these presentations, such as localisation challenges faced when entering Korean and Chinese gaming markets, the huge scale of popularity for mobile games in these markets and the many similarities between the UK and USA gaming industries. From 3:30 - 5:30pm we partook in break-out sessions with experts from the overseas markets. We were split into groups for each international games market. Those of us in the USA group were able to directly ask questions to intelligent and captivating figures such as Peter Moore, William Hummel and Fred Schmidt. Topics of discussion included investment, pricing strategies and funding models and we were able to hear brilliant viewpoints from such experienced heads of the gaming industry.
The day was rounded off with a final networking session from 5:30 - 7:00pm, giving us a chance to further discuss what we had learnt throughout and gain potentially important connections for the future. All in all the trip was a huge success and I can safely say that we are all thoroughly looking forward to Aim High’s next adventure!