The NEMOG project held a successful symposium at Cass Business School on 16 December 2014. It was attended by nearly 100 people consisting of game developers, academics and other representatives who are interested in the games industry.
Following the welcome and the introduction by Professor Feng Li about the NEMOG project, Nick, Alberto and Sam outlined their research settings and presented preliminary results during a session chaired by Ignazio. Nick illustrated the current state of the UK game industry and – due to its growing importance in terms of turnover – he argued about the necessity to contribute to the reform of SIC codes. He illustrated a cladistics model aiming at steering the wheel of the UK policy strategy. Alberto talked about his work on the adaptation of business models in the game industry and touched upon the main trends affecting the industry as a whole. Crowdfunding has apparently a primary role in this, leading to the transformation of the value chain and, as a consequence, of the business models adopted. He also shared some details on the work done in understanding whether business models used for entertainment games can be adapted – and under which conditions – to serious games. Finally, Sam shed some light on the the type of analysis that can be performed on data generated by game players. He argued that gameplay data can reveal trends, not just about the use of the game, but also to give wider scientific insight. The slides for this session are now available here.
This was followed by the keynote by Nicholas Lovell, founder of Gamesbrief and author of the best seller "The Curve"; on how to make money when everything is going free. He explained what the Curve is and how it can be applied to the games industry, and speculated on how the games industry business models might evolve in the the future. Questions and debates made this session extremely interactive, highlight the interest around emerging business models and revealed how fierce competition is enabling companies giving for free what they used to charge for. In doing this, for instance game developers need to find the right audience, earn the right to talk them again after the free access to content and be able to enable the creation of a category of superfans. It is indeed the free users that provide the contest where to make money, but it is only people who love what you do that have to be pushed to spend lots of money on things they truly value.
Following a coffee break, the audience reconvened for a panel discussion, consisting of Professor Pam Kato (Serious Games Institute, University of Coventry), Kam Star (Playgen), Professor Kiran Fernandes (Durham Business School), Pushmeet Kohli (Microsoft Research) and Nicholas Lovell (Gamesbrief). The panel was Chaired by Prof Feng Li, and interesting discussions emerged on crowdfunding as a source of funding vs. revenues, the use of data to understand how to create value in the games industry, and the role of games seen sometimes as “models" and not as businesses themselves. As we exceeded the 90 mins allocated time, the audience was still eager to ask questions, but the clinking sounds of wine glasses outside the lecture theatre prompted Feng to bring the discussions to a close.
With wine or beer in their hands, people gathered around in an informal setting for the evening industry panel organised by Kam Star. A very lively and open panel/discussion continued for a few hours with topics of educational games and getting the industry and academia to work closer together being passionately argued until the end of the event.
We would like to thank everyone that attended, participated or contributed otherwise to the success of this event and invite everyone to find out more about our ongoing project at www.nemog.org.