March 7, 2011
Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment
B.C. GAME DEVELOPERS SHAKE UP SAN FRANCISCO
VICTORIA – More than 20 gaming companies from B.C. are back home and armed with important contacts after being matched up with distributers and publishers at the 25th annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, billed by organizers as the world’s largest conference and trade show for video game development professionals.
Silicon Sisters Interactive, Canada’s first female-owned and run video game studio, and Code Mystics, a game developer that specializes in cross-platform solutions, were two of these businesses.
Silicon Sisters Interactive attended GDC to promote School 26, their inaugural game. Geared toward pre-teen and teenage girls, the goal of School 26 is to befriend seven schoolmates and help them work through both their interpersonal and personal problems. School 26 is set to be released in early fall and will be available on iPad, iPhone, iPod, PC and Android platforms.
Code Mystics went to the conference to seek work-for hire projects, specifically for digitally-distributed console, PC and handheld platforms; form licensing partnerships with publishers to expand the platform options of their games; and find venues and outlets for Code Mystics own original concepts.
Larger companies also seeking buyers and strategic partnerships with distributors and publishers included Ubisoft Vancouver and Next Level Games.
Developers were assisted by the provincial government, which played matchmaker in the months leading up to the conference and during the show itself. This was accomplished through the Province’s California-based trade and investment representative and their International Relations and Business Development branch in Vancouver who set up meetings between B.C. companies and potential partners.
The provincial government worked with the federal government and its agencies to set up the Canada Business Lounge at a nearby hotel and host a networking reception attended by approximately 1,000 delegates.
Why It Matters:
British Columbia is home to more than 600 digital media companies that include video game developers. These 600-plus companies employ about 16,000 people and generate $2.3 billion in annual sales.
Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment:
“Many of B.C.’s video game developers are smaller in size and appreciate assistance in establishing new business connections in international markets. Our government was pleased to help B.C. video game development companies at the Game Developers Conference make new contacts and build their customer base.”
Jeff Vavasour, president, Code Mystics:
“Being able to demonstrate our games in-person and interactively with our clients is great. These are busy publishers, and we get their full attention and their immediate feedback. We learn a lot about what works and what they're looking for simply from their reactions. Often brand new opportunities will pop up spontaneously in conversation. It’s very dynamic and not something you could ever accomplish simply sending pitch documents. It feels like a giant step forward on some fantastic opportunities.
“You can’t beat the opportunity to meet face-to-face with so many clients. At GDC, you can accomplish in minutes what takes weeks in emails and phone calls.”
Brenda Bailey Gershkovicth, CEO, Silicon Sisters Interactive:
“Silicon Sisters Interactive had an outstanding GDC. With our new game, School 26, coming to market in early spring, the conference was the perfect opportunity to get the word out on the game, as well as to show the product to potential publishing and distribution partners.
“While at GDC, I spoke at the Women in Games party with Zynga’s Mark Pincus, the man behind Farmville. He had a chance to play School 26, and gave us some ideas about our second product that we plan to take to Facebook. I also met with various development partners to discuss publishing our properties and spoke with PC portals about distributing the PC version of School 26.
“The meetings at GDC were invaluable and it was a great cost savings to have all of this work occur over a five-day period in one location. Everyone I needed to talk to was at GDC!”
· The Games Developers Conference started on Feb. 28 and ended on March 4.
o Organizers estimated 18,000 industry professionals would attend the conference.
o More than 400 lectures, panels, tutorials and roundtable discussions on game development topics, taught by leading industry experts, took place at the conference.
· Silicon Sisters Interactive is the first female-owned and run video game studio in Canada.
o Silicon Sisters is committed to developing inspirational games with a decidedly female focus.
o Silicon Sisters’ first game, School 26, will be released at Apple’s iTunes Store on March 17, 2011.
· Code Mystics is a game developer specializing in cross-platform solutions with a particular focus on handheld and casual platforms as well as digital distribution.
o Code Mystics has developed Atari Greatest Hits Volumes 1 and 2 for Nintendo DS, Dragon’s Lair for both DS and DSiWare, and classic Atari games for online play.
o Code Mystics also has original property in development for DS, iPhone and the web along with developing two projects for clients, one for Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms and the other for the iPhone.
· Video game developers in British Columbia can receive a provincial Interactive Digital Media tax credit equal to 17.5 per cent of qualifying labour costs.
Silicon Sisters Interactive:
Game Developers Conference:
The Digital Media and Wireless Association of B.C.:
British Columbia’s International Trade Representatives:
Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment
Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch
CEO, Silicon Sisters Interactive
President, Code Mystics
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