The Boston Business Journal recently posted an article about Games Circle committee member Robert Ferarri’s meeting with officials in Congress and the Federal Trade Commission to advocate for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and STEM education. A number of changes are set to take effect to COPPA on July 1st that may impact many MA-based companies in the game and mobile app space. Read the full BBJ article here: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/techflash/2013/05/local-tech-execs-meet-with-ftc.html?ana=twt Or feel free to contact Robert Ferrari directly for more information or for additional resources at info@baretreemedia.com.

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When an entrepreneur hears the words ‘Kickstarter’ or ‘IndieGoGo’, they think “wow, this is a great way to raise funds with no angels or VCs, presell my game, and spread the word about my goals and ambitions.” But, could it be a whole lot more, or less?

Come hear from game developers who have raised money on Kickstarter or other crowd funding platforms, as well as representatives from the crowd funding platforms themselves and industry analysts.  Learn about what it takes to have a successful crowd funding program, the benefits, and the downsides of operating in such an open environment. Our panel, which includes Mike Vorhaus of Frank Magid & Associates (moderator), John Vaskis of IndieGoGo, and others will discuss what an entrepreneur needs for a successful kickstarter, who should or should NOT try crowd funding, and what is the real cost in time and money of a crowd funding campaign.

Come early or stay late to enjoy light appetizers / drinks and to network with your peers. The event will be held on Thursday, May 30th from 6pm – 9pm at the Microsoft NERD Center (One Memorial Drive, Cambridge).

Event sponsored by Microsoft New England Research & Development Center; Adobe; Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton; FableVision and Becker.

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Networking & Light Appetizers, Refreshments

7:00pm – 8:15pm: Panel

8:15pm – 9:00pm: Post-Panel Networking

Registration is required! Please register here: http://crowdfundinggames.eventbrite.com

We are proud to partner with the Boston Festival of Indie Games in 2013 and are happy to tell you that attendee registration for the 2013 festival recently opened! Fans of digital, tabletop and live action roleplaying games are welcome to register for free at http://bostonfig.com/registration/attendee-registration/.

A celebration of independent game development in a variety of media and genres, Boston Festival of Indie Games is for all ages, free and open to the public. Festival attendees play video games, tabletop games and live action roleplaying (LARP) games in a casual, inclusive environment, plus attend film screenings and keynote talks.

Attendees can also become game developers themselves by participating in digital game jams, creating their own board and card games, and attending workshops and lectures about the process of making games.  More fest details, including 2013 programming, will be announced soon. To stay informed on fest progress, sign up for updates on www.BostonFIG.com.

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2013 is here and the road ahead for game developers in Massachusetts has never been better!  With 2012 behind us, it’s time to look ahead to all of the great local events coming this year.  The first, Boston Indies Demo Night, happened this month along with the Global Game Jam. If you missed it, fear not! There are a plethora of additional events in the pipeline including:

February:

            Game Development Gala (February 20th)                    

Turbine’s “Game Dev Showcase” will showcase their many facets of AAA game design, game production, game development and game support to the greater Boston game community as well as to the many game design academic programs in the Boston area.  More info and registration info here: http://turbinenerd.eventbrite.com/

            Games Circle “Women in Games” Panel (February 28th)

Our next event will feature a panel of women who are active contributors in the games industry and who will share insight into the current and future roles that women perform to shape the industry.  More info and register here: http://womeningames.eventbrite.com.

March:

            MassDiGI Game Challenge (March 1st-2nd)

A one-of-a-kind event, the MassDiGI Game Challenge helps aspiring game developers launch new games in Massachusetts. Students and “indie” developers can compete to win a variety of prizes and the event will also feature educational sessions/workshops and an Indie Game Showcase. More info and register here: http://www.massdigi.org/gamechallenge/

            MIT Business in Games (March 21st – TBD)

Details have not yet been formally announced for this upcoming conference, but we believe it is scheduled to happen on March 21st, the day before PAX East. I will update this blog as soon as I have official information. http://www.mitbig.com/

            MassTLC “Made in MA” Pre-PAX Party (March 21st – TBD)

Hosted by MassTLC, this is an annual shindig held the night before PAX East all to celebrate the Massachusetts game industry. Held at the Microsoft NERD Center, it is a great night of networking and checking out various local products and services on display. Go here to register and remember to find someone with the discount code that makes the event free.  If you don’t know someone email me here http://paxparty2013.eventbrite.com/

            PAX East (March 22nd-24th)

Penny Arcade Expo’s east-coast event, PAX East is a consumer-oriented gathering focused on games, games, games. PAX is an excellent opportunity to check out the latest and greatest games, but to also meet companies in the region, as well as those from other areas of the country. Look for the “Made in MA” room to show your support for the game industry in Massachusetts.  More details: http://east.paxsite.com/

May:

            Games Circle Financing/Funding Event (May 30th!)

Stay tuned right here at www.GamesCircle.org for more information about this event, coming soon.          

August:

            GameLoop (TBA)

This is Boston’s own game developer un-conference in the vein of BarCamp.  Attendees determine the subjects they want to talk about and propose.  Attendees vote on which topics they want to learn more about, which then determines the course of the day.  Keep your ears open for more details about the event – participation is usually driven by word-of-mouth.

September:

            Boston Festival of Indie Games (September 14th)

Organized by Boston Indies and hosted at MIT, Boston FIG is a multi-faceted event that not only supports digital games, but has board games, live action games, speakers, game related films, a game jam, game art exhibit and more! With over 2,000 attendees in 2012, the Boston FIG committee expects 2013 to be even bigger.  Free to attend, game developers and game fans should keep an eye on registration and game submission details at: http://www.bostonfig.com/

So, be sure you mark these dates and events on your calendars and we hope to see you around! Also, be sure to stay tuned to these other local organizations for other events throughout the year:

            Boston Indies (Meets Monthly)

http://www.bostonindies.com/

            Boston Postmortem (Meets Monthly)

http://www.bostonpostmortem.org/

            Women in Game Development Meetup (Meets Monthly)

http://wigboston.wordpress.com/

            HTML5 Game Developers

http://www.meetup.com/Boston-HTML5-Game-Development/

            Boston Unity Group

http://www.meetup.com/B-U-G-Boston-Unity-Group/

Boston Blender User Group

http://www.bostonblender.com/

            AAUGA Autodesk Boston

http://www.aaugaboston.com/

Join us for the next Games Circle event on February 28th titled “Women in the MA Game Industry: A Discussion of Diversity, Challenges and Progress”!

The game industry has grown in leaps-and-bounds since the early days. We’ve seen huge advancements in graphics, back-end technology, game mechanics and storytelling. We’ve grown to be a highly profitable industry with billions to our name each year. Despite our success, however, we still face a distinct challenge – attracting more women to the profession of making games and eliminating discrimination against women within the game industry.

Our panel of industry professionals from both the educational and entertainment sectors will discuss the current working landscape. Panelists will highlight some of the many benefits of working in games, share their own personal challenges and discuss what role men can play in becoming champions for women.

Moderated by Patricia Resende, Managing Editor of Mass High Tech, the panel will include Courtney Stanton (Women in Games Boston), Michelle Yaiser (Adobe), Jen Groff (MIT Learning Games Network), Fiona Cherbak (Interactive Selection, Boston Festival of Indie Games) and Vicky Wu Davis (Adalia, FrogHop).

Come early or stay late to enjoy light appetizers / drinks and to network with your peers. The event will be held on Thursday, February 28th from 6pm – 9pm at the Microsoft NERD Center (One Memorial Drive, Cambridge).

Registration is required! Please register here:http://womeningames.eventbrite.com

It has been a momentous year for the games industry in and around Massachusetts. We had lots of ups and some downs, but the Games Circle committee is looking forward to new beginnings and even brighter horizons in 2013! To move forward, however, we must look back…

In 2012, numerous new games were launched (some beta launches) by local companies such as Stomp Games / Tencent Boston, Turbine / Warner Bros., Demiurge Studios, Popcannibal, Owlchemy Labs, HitPoint Studios, Harmonix and many more! While many studios saw  success in 2012, 38 Studios brought national attention to New England when it shut its doors this spring. But, we’ve emerged. And, whether you were personally touched by the happenings at 38 Studios or not, I think we all learned a lot from the experience.

PAX East came to Boston for the third straight year, bigger and better than ever! Despite being held on Easter weekend, this year’s PAX East was the most well-attended yet.

Several other significant events impacted the industry in and around Boston including the MIT Business in Gaming Conference and the first-ever Boston Festival of Indie Games, which saw over 2,000 attendees in September! And, let’s not forget the 1st annual MassDiGI Game Challenge  in April  –   28 teams competed and numerous student-created games were developed (and some launched) this year as a result.

Our own Games Circle community was also very active during 2012. Our line-up of thought-provoking and well-attended panels and networking events included a “State of Play: 2012 Edition” session, “Can Games Save Education?” panel, and “Launching Great Games with Limited Marketing Spend” panel. We ended the year with “Smart Money in Gaming,” which was our most well-attended event EVER!

We are also happy to have two new committee members joining the Games Circle in 2012 – Caleb Garner of Part 12 Studios and Michelle Yaiser of Adobe.

And, I can’t end a 2012 recap post without thanking our sponsors – Turbine; Morse-Barnes, Brown & Pendleton; Adobe; and the Microsoft NERD Center!

Cheers to an even more momentous 2013 for the New England games community!

Elicia Basoli

Join us for our next event, “Smart Money in Gaming: A current and future look at monetization strategies in Retail, Mobile and Social Gaming” on November 28, 2012!

Traditional game publishing models are dying out giving way to disruptive and new ways to develop, publish and monetize games explains www.buynaturalgarciniacambogia.com. Today’s market of digital downloads, mobile and social games provide game developers with a number of mechanics for getting players to open their wallets. It is critical that a game’s monetization strategy be identified and implemented in the game design at a very early stage – the question is which monetization approach is right for my game?

Our panel will review recent developments in monetization of retail, mobile and social gaming , what works,what has failed and what’s up next. We will also take a look at the overall change in what consumers are willing to spend their money on CCTV cameras and what they expect for their hard earned dollar. With a number of platforms available to independent developers including mobile, social, browser and now Windows 8, matching your game with the right platform and audience is more critical than ever.

Moderated by Marco Mereu (uCool), the panel will include  Jeff Goodsill (Stomp Games), Chris Rigopolous (Harmonix) and Dave Bisceglia (Tap Lab). Stay tuned as additional panelists are announced!

Come early or stay late to enjoy light appetizers / drinks and to network with your peers. The event will be held on Wednesday, November 28th from 6pm – 9pm at the Microsoft NERD Center (One Memorial Drive, Cambridge).

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Networking & Light Appetizers, Refreshments

7:00pm – 8:15pm: Panel

8:15pm – 9:00pm: Post-Panel Networking

Event sponsored by Microsoft New England Research & Development Center; Adobe; Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton; and Turbine.

Registration is required! Please register here: http://gamemoney.eventbrite.com