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#Game industry

Game Industry Conference 2023: Key Takeaways

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The heart of Europe’s vibrant game development community was palpable in the city of Poznań during the recent Game Industry Conference (GIC) 2023. Held in tandem with the 17th edition of Poznań Game Arena (PGA), it was a blend of gaming enthusiasts, creators, and industry trailblazers.

Game Industry Conference & PGA: Poland’s Answer to Gamescom?

While the massive Gamescom, taking place in August in Cologne, Germany, can feel like an overwhelming sprawl, Poznań Game Arena and Game Industry Conference, with their six bustling expo halls, offer a cozy yet electric atmosphere. PGA casts a wide net, appealing to gaming fans across genres and generations, while GIC is a mecca for the creators: game studios, individual professionals, and fresh faces eager to dip their toes in the gamedev waters.

From 8Bit – Game Industry Recruitment’s vantage point, the event was a treasure trove of insights, networking, and the sheer joy of sharing a space with like-minded individuals. Here are our most notable takeaways from GIC 2023:

1. Gamedev Education on the Rise

The industry’s commitment to fostering talent was evident, especially with initiatives geared toward education. Notable presences included the expanding Swedish initiative, Futuregames. With almost a quarter-century of experience, Futuregames boasts of a comprehensive educational spectrum catering to both budding talents and seasoned professionals. We spotted representatives from Digital Dragons Academy mingling with attendees, sharing updates on the upcoming edition of DD Academy (an event that we’re excited to participate in!). The Geek Careers initiative by GIC also made a mark, centralizing job listings and accentuating studios committed to nurturing talent.

William Easton, Head of Futuregames at Game Industry Conference 2023

2. A Greater Emphasis on DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)

The buzzword of the decade, DEI, starts to be more than just a buzzword in the gaming industry—the movement is growing. This was exemplified at the Game Industry Conference with events like the Women in Games Breakfast and the Grajmerki meetup for female gamers. But it wasn’t just about gender diversity. The industry showcased its commitment to broader issues with panels on mental health, neurodivergence, and other critical areas. Talks about ADHD’s place in the industry and coping mechanisms for impostor syndrome were especially noteworthy. The industry’s holistic approach to inclusion, both in-game and behind the scenes, was heartening.

Female cosplayer gamer at Poznań Game Arena 2023

3. The Legal Labyrinth: More Than Just Fine Print

Gamedev isn’t just about pixels and playtesting; it’s also about navigating the tricky waters of legality. Contrary to popular belief, the legal discussions at Game Industry Conference were anything but yawn-inducing. The panel discussing Unity’s recent pricing changes—and the subsequent community backlash—was particularly enlightening. Furthermore, with the recent economic uncertainties shaking the gamedev world, the summit on varied methods of game production financing was timely. It highlighted the need for adaptability and forward-thinking in these unpredictable times.

4. Was the Layoff Buzz Unavoidable?

It’s impossible to ignore the elephant in the room: layoffs. Though whispers of “who’s next?” were inescapable, the industry’s resilience shone through. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, many focused on the opportunities ahead. Numerous studios were in active hiring phases, and others prioritized robust management strategies to ensure their teams felt secure amidst industry turbulence. And, if you ever doubted the spirit of the gamedev community, the Geek Stage karaoke was a testament to our unyielding camaraderie, even in the face of adversity (surprisingly, the gamedev world seems to be teeming with hidden singing talents. One can’t help but wonder: are all gamedev professionals secret vocal prodigies?).

8Bit Games Industry Recruitment team networking with industry friends at Game Industry Conference 2023

See you in 2024, Game Industry Conference!

Wrapping up our time at GIC, both AAA titles and indie gems left a lasting impression. But beyond the games, it was the details that stood out, like Robot Gentleman’s delightful brownies reminding us that simple pleasures can often be the highlights.

This year’s Game Industry Conference showcased the gaming community’s resilience and camaraderie. At 8Bit – Game Industry Recruitment, we’re proud to be part of this story. Looking forward to the next one, Poznań!