As Game Connection 2015 came to a close the first week of March in San Francisco, the conference had a record-breaking turnout of more than 2,700 attendees and visitors, who participated in more than 11,983 meetings with 247 exhibitors – a sold-out show, and an increase of attendees by 60 percent from the previous year. There were also 296 certified buyers this year, an increase by 52 percent from 2014. Development studios and game companies were there to showcase new releases and upcoming game projects – some of which were unveiled exclusively at the 4-day industry event, one of the largest gaming conferences hosted in San Francisco this year.
Game Connection 2015 brought members from all aspects of the industry together, from development, publishing, and funding, to production, middleware, marketing, and distribution and where big players sit side by side with indie developers and the future stars oftomorrow. Many countries were represented at Game Connection, with countries including Spain, Singapore, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, Costa Rica and the United Kingdom all representing at the show.
The show also hosted the Game Connection Development Awards, recognizing and promoting independent game projects at any stage of development. At the ceremony, Studios Active Gaming Media, Hololabs, Brainseed Factory, MADFINGER Games, A Crowd of Monsters, Bigpoint, Square Enix Montréal, Sarepta Studio, and LyteShot all picked up awards at the Development Awards. The Game Connection Development Awards 2015 were given out in partnership with Microsoft Studios, Bandai Namco Games, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Michael Meyers Public Relations.
Japanese Active Gaming Media took home two of the ten trophies for Astebreed, making them the biggest winners of the day. The Shoot-Em-Up PC game was named both “Best Hardcore” and “Best Console/PC Hardcore Game.” Two German studios had a reason to celebrate, as industry veteran Bigpoint was awarded “Best Desktop/Downloadable” for the browser-based MOBA Shards of War. While indie-studio Brainseed Factory won “Best Casual” for their word-based puzzle Typoman (multi-platform). “We are highly honored to receive one of the most relevant industry awards,” said Bilal Chbib, Founder and CEO of Brainseed Factory. “Three years after the initial idea for Typoman was born, it has made huge leaps on its journey and increases our motivation to create a game players will hopefully fall in love with.”
The Canadian games industry can also boast two winning studios, as Hitman GO from Square Enix Montréal was named “Best Mobile/Tablet”, and “Best Social” went to Hololabs for their mobile scrap-gaming title Papercade. “We are very excited about the reception of Hitman GO,” said Genevieve St-Onge, Brand Manager at Square Enix Montréal. “We think it shows that taking risks in game design can definitely pay off. We cannot wait to show you what’s coming next.”
“We are thrilled to win the award for Best Social Game and to be included among so many talented developers for the award,” said Mike Wozniewski, President and CTO of Hololabs Studio Inc. “For all others interested in making games, we hope that Papercade can be the first step in expressing your ideas and creativity through games. Come join our scrapgaming community!”
US-based LyteShot managed to trump the competition in the main category “Most Original & Creative Project” for their self-titled mobile/live-action platform. Further winners include Czech studio Madfinger Games for mobile model-kit simulator Monzo (“Excellence in Art”), Norwegian Sarepta Studio for PC puzzle-adventure Shadow Puppeteer (“Most promising IP”), and Spanish indie A Crowd of Monsters for their multi-platform episodic noir story Blues & Bullets (“Excellence in Story & Storytelling”). “Being nominated and winning at the Game Development Awards has been a really good platform to get more visibility and interest from the big publishers,” Rafael González, President and CEO of A Crowd of Monsters.
Luke Luby is a journalist currently based in Cork, Ireland. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Higher Diploma in English. For the last several years, he has been writing for a number of different publications.