Like everyone, we’ve been watching the evolving situation with coronavirus, continually revising our plans, and consulting with partners and other event organisers. The health and wellbeing of all is important to us, as previous updates stated – and our first advice to everyone is if they are unsure, unwell or exhibit symptoms they should not attend events and follow medical advice and public guidance.
We’re posting to explain some of our alternative planning as the games festival continues from 26 March with a host of virtual/digital activity and, where relevant, capacity-controlled indoor events ?
Whether physical events happen or not, the absence of major international events like GDC and SXSW has blown a hole in biz dev pipelines for many. That includes a number of studios Games London has previously supported. People now look to us to help their business progress at a difficult moment – which is what we are going to do.
So our contingency planning around our B2B events now involves prioritising ways to deliver insight and meeting opportunities digitally with potentially some small-scale events still in place. Other partners have made similar preparations.
The short version for Games London-run programming:
- The Games Finance Market is proceeding, with a back up plan to switch to virtual meetings if public health advice changes
- We’re adding a robust online meeting with video chat functionality to the Business Hub – so you can sign up and have meetings without leaving home
- Paid tickets will be refunded if physical events are cancelled
And in detail:
Our Games Finance Market, the heart of our work, is set to take place on Wednesday 1 April and Thursday 2 April. Pre-selected companies have already been notified and are about to make meeting choices, with 60 chosen studios and 50 investors for them to pitch to. We have not faced major disruption so far. As a last resort we are finalising a method to ensure meeting schedules and connections can be fulfilled digitally either during the event or after.
But the demand for meetings has actually risen in the last few weeks. So we’re adding an extra virtual meeting system underpinning our Business Hub event on Monday 30 March and Tuesday 31 March, before the Games Finance Market. This event continues to take place at Somerset House in central London, with conference content, roundtables, office hours advice from experts for those who wish to attend* (under the caveat that we may decide to cancel this or may be forced to do so pending a change to government advice).
The meeting service supporting the Hub is supplied by third party partner, paid for by us**, and free for a limited number of companies to register for until the festival starts. Finance Market investor delegates have also pledged to field extra meetings via this platform. You can register for this ‘event’, get in the meeting system, and have an entirely virtual meeting schedule of video calls. We’re prepared to use this as an entirely virtual event platform using video calls should the need arise, but have currently factored in a limited number of face to face meetings. Like everyone, we’re hoping for the best – but we’re also planning for the unwanted. The video meeting option on our platform is robust (we’ve just tested it).
So if you want to sign up for something that might go some way to offset opportunities lost from postponed events, head here. The meeting platform goes live in a few days for all those who have registered. You are welcome to join us in person if that is a situation that everyone seems comfortable with in the next two weeks.
A detailed guide to the Hub and streamed content will be posted in the next 24 hours now we have recalibrated things. Forgive any delays as we catch up with this evolving situation. Please be patient as registrations filter in. Our backup plan for virtual and video connections will kick in as/when needed in the coming weeks.
Of course we can’t necessarily plan for every outcome. But we’re committed to our mission of supporting games developers and hope we can deliver something to further that mission under particularly difficult circumstances.
(*Our talks are streamed and recorded with a mix of live presenters/speakers, or filmed/pre-recorded. There’s a handful of conference audience tickets available to buy, and they also give you access to the meeting system. Yes, if the conference and live event content is completely cancelled we will refund summit tickets.)
**We’ve dedicated our own time and resources to this process, but naturally if any sponsors and partners want to join us and support this meeting platform’s delivery, get in touch.
If you need more advice or support about coronavirus, we recommend Ukie’s post How to prepare a coronavirus policy for your games business or you can head to the UK Games Industry Slack