#MIGS15: The “Must-Attend” Video Game Conference on the East Coast
While the name might not ring any bells to consumers, the Montreal International Game Summit is a meeting place for the gaming industry.
Similar to Game Connection Europe and America, MIGS invites professional from the gaming industry to attend and give lectures, master classes, panels and more. Additionally, it’s a perfect place for exhibitors to show off some of their latest projects, talk about their future plans and expand their network. However, MIGS isn’t limited to such as strict demographic; not everybody is part of this industry. Students, developers and anyone interested in learning more about the gaming industry is welcome to visit. If you didn’t get a chance to head over to Palai des Congrès during these past few days, here is what you have missed.
Set aside the exhibitor room, MIGS offers a wide variety of conferences where speakers share their knowledge with attendees about certain aspects of gaming; they range from how to make the visuals look on point down to how to correct a coding error. For example, in “You can’t Fix It if you can’t find what is Broken”, Alexandre Denault from Ludia talks about the methods for finding an issue before being able to correct it. Also, in “From Art to Engine – Introducing Autodesk Stingray”, Matthew Doyle from Autodesk discussed about the new Stingray platform, the advantages of using it, the new features and some of its new applications. Of course, there are a lot more topics such as “Cooking up awesome web games with Haxe and Flambe” by Jeremy McCurdy from Red Space, “Indies versus Evil” with Steve Escalante from Versus Evil, and the list goes on. Many of these conferences take place simultaneously, so if you are but a single person attending and not supported by a team, chances are that you might find yourself in a dilemma.
Every morning, as tradition wants it, there is an opening session attendees are all invited to check out. On Monday November 16, we welcomed Ian Livingstone for “Life is a Game”, where he shared with us various key moments of his life from the moment he joined the gaming industry up until today; he mentioned some of his past projects he has worked on, the challenges of losing your home and having to choose between paying for an office or a place to sleep and more. One advice he gave us, however, was the importance of creating our own IP and owning the rights. This might come in handy because now that the gaming industry is growing and aiming to be the biggest one on the planet, companies are paying interesting amounts of money to feature popular IPs via product placement, commercials and other profitable ways. The best example used in his talk was Tomb Raider. With such as strong and popular IP, companies such as VISA, Seat, Land Rover and more payed thousands of dollars to feature the famous Lady Croft in their commercials.
The next day, Jade Raymond (Motive Electronic Arts), Amy Hennig (Visceral Games Electronic Arts, and Jason Della Rocca (Execution Labs) joined together on stage for the second MIGS opening session entitled “Managing Creativity and Building a Studio: A Conversation with Jade Raymond and Amy Hennig”. The focus of the talk was to explain how to manage a team’s creativity in a studio while still being structured. Also, in celebration of the Star Wars Battlefront launch, the speakers have mentioned details about the collaboration between George Lucas, EA, Dice and other teams. As an added bonus, MIGS invited an orchestra to play some of our favorite gaming tuned from The Legend of Zelda series and more. Truly, there is no better way to start a day of conferences!
This year around, MIGS and IMGMR team up as hosts for the Demo Zone. To put things in perspective, the Demo Zone is a stage where live conferences and interviews took place. There IMGMR streamed on Twitch various interviews featuring Tony (Nexus SmartBar), Alexandre Denault & Jean-Phillip Desjardins (Ludia), Myles & Shawn from the Montreal Pokemon League, Neimturk (Queen of the Alien Empire), Anthony Walsh (Syn Studio), Karl Tremblay (Cowboy Fringants) and more. Additionally, IMGMR invited on stage Multijoueur and Girls on Games for an exclusive roundtable about the best games of the year. In between interviews, programming included many other panels, such as “Design Patterns in Video Games” with Mathieu Savard, “Project Tango” with Google’s William Ito, “Motion Capture at the Service of Video Games” with Patrick Roussel and Remy Levesque, live capture from For Honor, and more.
Going to MIGS for the interesting conferences is something, but heading over to the expo zone to see what exhibitors have to offer is a completely different experience. As you enter the area, there are over 40 companies just waiting to meet you and to show you what they have been working on. While some showcase technical demos of their latest products, others give you a chance to test out their latest games. For instance, Ubisoft was present this year with an alpha build of For Honor, and hosting a four versus four tournament as well.
Other big developers and publishers such as EA, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Ludia, Microsoft, Sony PlayStation and Google for example are also present at this year’s edition of MIGS. You could play Ludia’s latest mobile games and enjoy free and refreshing massages, check out the PlayStation VR, get a hands on Microsoft’s latest tablets, kill robots in Google’s brand new Project Tango demo, and more. Additionally, smaller developers have brought some of their latest projects and are looking forward to getting some live feedback from you. Are you going to get lost in the beautiful world of Parabole’s Kôna, meet ancient beast in Time Machine VR, or discover why the new Kim Kardashian game is so popular. Needless to say, there is a lot to learn from the exhibitors this year and also, a lot of games to play!
The Montreal International Game Summit wouldn’t be anything without a real business direction. In that sense, there is a dedicated business lounge where professionals, media and anyone else interested can meet and discuss about financing, eventual partnership, and more. Thanks to the application put in place called the Meeting App, the organization made it a lot easier for everyone to reach out to attendees, exhibitors and speakers alike, and schedule meetings within MIGS’ open hours. It was also possible to meet these professionals during the official MIGS after-party, which took place at the Centre des Sciences of Montreal, but the business lounge offers a more discrete, professional and formal setting.
MIGS is in short a place where opportunities can be created and ideas to be shared and, on some occasions, backed by powerful and interested investors. Compared to other similar events taking place on the East Coast, MIGS is one of the biggest and is slowly evolving to cater to an even wider audience. With the gaming industry constantly growing, especially in Montreal – the government even announced an increase of investment in said industry – we are expecting MIGS to grow bigger and offer a lot more over the next few years.
On a last note, we would like to thank our good friends at Alliance Numerique, MIGS, MSI Canada, Corsair, Girls on Games, Multijoueur, Ludia, Ubisoft and everyone else for making this MIGS one of the most memorable and content-packed yet. Stay tuned as we unveil more and more details about next year’s show!