December 10, 2013: Funding Your Game – Know the Options

Have a great game? Need funding? Need practice pitching to investors? Come to our Dec 10th Games Circle event to hear from a panel of game developers who have successfully funded their companies/games and who will discuss the various routes they’ve explored and leveraged including:

  • Bootsrapping until revenue occurs
  • Friends & Family financing
  • Crowdfunding campaign
  • Work for Hire model
  • Angel/VC financing

September 19, 2013: Coping with COPPA — Game Developers Must Play by New Rules

Does your company develop apps or online games? Then you should attend this event to learn about new regulations protecting children less than 13 years of age.

On July 1 2013, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) implemented changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that affect ALL mobile app and online game companies whose products are directed to children under 13 or that knowingly collect personal information from children under 13.

Developers must post accurate privacy policies, provide notice, verify user’s age, and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing any “personal information” about children.

Join us Sep 19th 2013 to hear FTC members, Washington DC organizations, COPPA specialists, and software developers discuss the do’s and don’ts of COPPA compliance. Learn how to review your apps, implement lawful policies and follow best compliance practices from Mark Eichorn (FTC Privacy Division), Dona Fraser (ESRB), Morgan Reed (Association for Competitive Technology), and Scott Weiner (ParentsWithApps.com & Weiner Family Studios).

App platforms like Apple’s App Store and Google Play are exempted from the law and do not have to verify that apps comply with the law. Instead, it’s up to individual developers to verify compliance. Violators could incur fines in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Protect your company by learning the facts from the experts. Come with your concerns, questions, and suggestions!

May 30, 2013: Creating Successful Crowd Funding Campaigns – What You Need to Know

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 N. Magid Associates (moderator), John Vaskis of Indiegogo, Dan Silvers of the Boston Festival of Indie Games and Lantana Games, Joshua A.C. Newman of Mobile Frame Zero / glyphpress 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.

February 28, 2013 – 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 game 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).

November 28, 2012 – Smart Money in Gaming: A current and future look at monetization strategies in Retail, Mobile and Social Gaming

Traditional game publishing models are dying out giving way to disruptive and new ways to develop, publish and monetize games. 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 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), Dave Bisceglia (Tap Lab) and Layne Ainsworth (TapJoy).

October 2, 2012 – State of Play: The Thriving Game Industry in MA

The video game entertainment industry is constantly in motion. To survive and thrive, game studios and technology providers must adapt to an ever-changing landscape with evolving business models, game platforms, and player preferences. Many game companies in New England fully understand that change is the constant in the game industry and have found ways to be agile and successful.

Our panel kicks off with a summary of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute’s (MassDiGI) recent industry survey of companies in the state, followed by a discussion between executives from all areas of the ecosystem – both small and large studios and with a focus on various game platforms and business models.  Learn how our local studios thrive in the game industry.

The panel will include Ichiro Lambe (Dejobaan Games), Vladimir Starzhevsky (Creat Studios), James Jones (Hasbro), and Jamie Gotch (Subatomic Studios) and will discuss:

  • What are companies in Massachusetts doing right? What strategies are they taking to ensure success (i.e. Kickstarter, etc.)?
  • The old business formula of finding investors and a publisher may not be the only answer. How do both small and large studios navigate the changing industry landscape and how do you adapt revenue models to be successful?
  • What does it take to run a successful studio long-term? And, what pitfalls should you avoid?

June 14, 2012: Can Games Save Education? 

Education is at a cross roads.  Students have access to unprecedented resources and interact with content and other students around the globe faster than they can turn to page 236 in their text books.

Games dominate interactive time with young learners and have proven their ability to engage, entertain, teach and impact.  Can games really impact education as we know it today?  Our panel takes a focused look at the state of education and the reality of changing education in a 21st century way.

The panel, moderated by John Dyer (Latitude News) and including Robert Johnson (President, Becker College), Dave McCool (CEO, Muzzy Lane) and Mike Connell (CEO, Native Brain), will discuss:

  • Game developers have long understood that there are different types of game players and have developed different games and elements to touch everyone from grandmothers to marines.  Can/will educators turn to a customized form of education?  Is there a way to get teachers and school districts to change or is there just too much inertia?
  • Games have a proven business model, while education is mired in a slow mature market, will games have to make their impact as adjunct material or is there room in the mainstream?  Can we learn something from the business model of games?  Are parents a better target customer than school districts?
  • What are the biggest risks in converting to game based education?  Who do you see as leaders in taking these risks?

March 21, 2012: Launching Great Games with Limited Marketing Spend

In the game industry, we often hear about ‘AAA’ titles’ with elaborate marketing campaigns including everything from the biggest booths at E3 to widespread TV advertising. With the explosion of digital distribution, online games, mobile apps and social networks, developers without large marketing budgets can now bring their title directly to consumers to maximize the impact of their launch.  While marketing on a budget has its challenges, it CAN be done! The MIT Enterprise Forum’s New England Games SIG has gathered some of our region’s most seasoned game marketing executives to share some of their secrets and to discuss what tactics have (and have not) worked for them in the past.

Moderated by Hank Howie, CEO of Beach Cooler Games, the panel will include Eitan Glinert, President of Fire Hose Games; Gene Mauro, President/COO of Entertainment Games, Inc.; Caroline Murphy, Director of Operations at Brass Monkey; Steve Curran, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Pod Design; and Scott Triola, CEO of SparkBridge Interactive.

December 2, 2011: Building the Talent Pipeline

Talent is the essential ingredient to success in game development.  The MIT Enterprise Forum’s New England Games SIG provides a look at the state of collaboration between industry and academia with this panel discussion.

How can we build a stronger pipeline of talent and what more can be done to improve the number and quality of graduates from schools in the region? This panel of game industry veterans and academic leaders will discuss this topic, as well as provide an overview of the Massachusetts Digital Game Institute’s (MassDigi) outreach from K-12 to colleges/ universities across the Commonwealth and MassDigi’s industry focused programs. In addition, colleges from around the region will provide an overview of their video game programs.

Moderated by Robert Ferrari of Bare Tree Media, the panel will include Tim Loew ofBeckerCollege, Phillip Tan of the MIT Gambit Game Lab, Monty Sharma of MassDigi, Terrence Masson of Northeastern, Mark Claypool of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Mary Jane Begin of the Rhode Island School of Design.

November 1, 2011: Reducing Risk in the Games Business

Video game related consumer spending is estimated to reach $112 billion by 2015 (Gartner). This is a high reward for the key “players” involved in the industry. But, with these rewards come high risks. Our industry is full of them! With the market changing faster than ever, leaders need to make sound decisions.

But, how do you manage that risk and even reduce it? This panel of game industry veterans will discuss their approach to business strategy and explain what is different about how they are doing business to help manage risk.

Moderated by Walter Somol, Director of Tech Community Outreach at Microsoft New England Research & Development Center, the panel will include Scott Triola, Founder & Principal of 5X5 Advisors and former COO of Blue Fang Games; Dave McCool, President & CEO of Muzzy Lane Software; Nabeel Hyatt, General Manager of Zynga Boston; and other industry executives.

June 16, 2011: Getting the Dough to Develop, Video Game Funding

One of the first steps for any game developer looking to create a new game is to secure the necessary funds. But, how does a new company go about doing that and what factors should they consider? Join the MIT Enterprise Forum’s New England Games SIG (NE Games SIG) for an evening of post-E3 networking and education surrounding this topic. Hear the perspectives of VCs, developers and publishers who will help to answer a number of questions for attendees, such as:

–          What are VCs looking for when it comes to funding a new project? What can new companies do to stand out?

–          Is anyone funding blockbuster game titles or are social web & mobile games taking over?

–          How is funding mobile & social games different from more traditional video games?

The panel will feature executives from both sides of the spectrum including Tim Wright (General Partner, GrandBanks Capital), Jamy Nigiri (Jagex Games Studio / Stealth Mode), Jaime Gotch (CTO of Subatomic Studios) and Michael Dornbrook (Former COO of Harmonix and Board Member, Common Angels).

January 25, 2011: Massachusetts, Evolved: What you need to know about the local game industry and the legislation that could change it all!

As you may or may not know, legislation is being proposed that would encourage the growth of the Massachusetts game industry, benefiting companies already in the state and those looking to move to Massachusetts. Points being discussed for inclusion in the proposed legislation may include tax credits, incentives for early-stage game companies, and much more!

On January 25th, the New England Games Special Interest Group of the MIT Enterprise Forum (NE Games SIG) will host an evening of networking and discussion surrounding the need for such legislation, the status and potential benefits of the proposed legislation, and what effects similar legislation has had in other states and countries.

The panel will feature prominent public figures involved in drafting and sponsoring the legislation, senior executives from Massachusetts companies and out-of-state companies, which have taken advantage of similar legislation. Come early or stay late to enjoy light appetizers/ drinks and to network with your peers.

October 14, 2010: Powered Up Boston Conference Reception

Join the New England Games SIG (NE Games SIG) for an evening reception following the Powered Up Boston Conference on October 14th. End your Powered Up Boston experience with drinks, appetizers and great networking with fellow game industry executives, entrepreneurs and educators. Whiskey Priest is a very short walk from the Renaissance Waterfront Hotel, where Powered Up will be held during the day.

August 26, 2010: Bowl and Brews (in the Burbs)

*Our NE Games SIG mixer in June was held at Champions in Boston (thanks to all who attended!) We had such a great turn-out that we’ll be hosting similar meet-ups on the last Thursday of every other month moving forward!

Join the NE Games SIG for a casual, end of the summer get together at KINGS at Legacy Place in Dedham on Thursday, August 26th – 7pm. KINGS is at 950 Providence Highway (Route 1) in Dedham, which is right off of Route 95 and 25 minutes outside of Boston. Come down to bowl, grab a drink and some food, and chat about the latest in the industry, what is in store for PAX, and to just plain connect with others in your industry.

June 29, 2010: Post-E3 2010 Mixer at Champions

Join the NE Games SIG for a casual year-end get together at Champions at the Marriott Copley in Back Bay on Tuesday, June 29th – 7pm. Champions is at 110 Huntington Ave. Come down to chat about the latest in the industry, what happened at E3, what the autumn holds and to just plain connect. Red Sox vs Tampa Bay will be on the screens as well.

April 16, 2010: MIT Business in Gaming Conference Reception Hosted by the NE Games SIG

Join the New England Games SIG for a Friday evening reception following the MIT Sloan School Business in Gaming (BiG) Conference on Friday, April 16th! End your BiG Conference experience with a beer or wine and great networking with fellow game industry executives, entrepreneurs and educators. Jon Radoff, serial Internet entrepreneur and CEO of local game company Disruptor Beam will kick the evening off with opening remarks.

The  BiG conference brings together video games professionals to discuss their most pressing business challenges.  The BiG conference supports industry growth in the Northeast by connecting professionals, facilitating knowledge exchange, and steering talent into the industry.  Now entering its second year, the 2010 conference will focus on the challenge of “Competing on Analytics.”

February 11, 2010: A Meeting of the Minds: Game Companies and the VCs that Fund Them

According to VentureBeat.com, a total of around $600.5 million was raised by game startups in 2009, which will result in more job openings in 2010 and continued innovation in the lucrative game industry. Join the MIT Enterprise Forum’s New England Games SIG (NE Games SIG) and the New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA) for an evening of networking and education surrounding this topic.

A panel of game industry veterans (Jim Crowley of Turbine, Nabeel Hyatt of Conduit Labs, and Rob Seaver of Vivox), and their venture capitalist counterparts (Alex Finkelstein of Spark Capital, Dayna Grayson of North Bridge Venture Partners, and Austin Westerling of Charles River Ventures), will discuss the current state of the game industry from the perspectives of both entrepreneurs and VCs.

Wade Roush of Xconomy.com will moderate our panel, helping to answer a number of questions for attendees. Before and after the panel, network with your peers, have refreshments and visit with some of the area’s top companies in the games space, including VC-backed Turbine and Vivox, as well as HarmonixBlue Fang Games, iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations, FableVision, Zeemote, Immerz and Fire Hose Games, and see demos of their latest projects.

October 20, 2009: The State of the State: Video Games in Massachusetts

Austin, San Francisco, New York and…..Boston. It’s official. Massachusetts is one of the major game development hubs in the U.S. From developers like Turbine, 2K Boston, Harmonix, Worldwinner, Blue Fang, and Tilted Mill to game community portal gamerDNA.com and game industry technology providers like Vivox, numerous game companies call Massachusetts their home.  To celebrate our local industry’s successes and kick off the ’09/ ’10 New England Games SIG season, join us for an evening of networking and discussion with Jason Schupbach, the state’s Creative Economy Industry Director, and Terrence Masson, Northeastern University’s Senior Academic Specialist in the Department of Art and Design.

During brief presentations, Jason Schupbach will share some of the latest statistics about our industry and discuss a new MA grant issued to study our local industry. He’ll also discuss tax break initiatives for game companies and what game companies can do to help push the industry forward, among other topics. Terrence Masson will also share his perspective on game education in our state and how his 20 years of production experience is driving the new games program at Northeastern University

June 16, 2009: A Salute to Henry Jenkins – The End of an Era at MIT

For more than 16 years, Henry Jenkins graced the halls of MIT and shaped the New England games industry as we know it. An avid advocate of games culture, Henry has helped to build a deeply collaborative and creative community as Co-Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities at MIT. With Henry departing MIT for the University of Southern California, the NE Games SIG hosted an early summer networking event in Henry’s honor. Henry’s friends, closest colleagues and industry peers saluted Henry and reflected on his work at MIT, wishing him the best in the road ahead.

March 3, 2009:     Playing in the Market – State of the Game Industry in Today’s Economic Climate

The new state of the economy has many industries in flux and scrambling to make sure they survive for the long term. Though perhaps better set-up to weather the storm, with reports of layoffs, studio closings and title postponements, the game and interactive entertainment industries are demonstrating that they are not immune. This session addressed the volatile economy and its potential effects on the game and interactive entertainment industries, locally and throughout the world.

December 2, 2008:     Selling the Game

OK, you’ve got the killer idea, a solid business plan, enthusiastic investors AND a top notch dev team. But who is going to care? Who knows what you’re doing and how great YOUR GAME will be? Now the hard work really begins. This session will talk with some of the industry’s most seasoned (and battle scarred) PR and marketing professionals to guide you on how to bring your games or technologies to market and what they have learned along the way. Big budget, little budget, no budget – no matter. It’s all in knowing how to play the game.

October 7, 2008:     Which Business Model Will Bring Your Game Success?

There is no cookie cutter business model for games today. They range from box sale to subscription, advertising based and pay-to-play and micro-transactions. This panel of industry veterans will share their experience with these models, the pros, cons and the future (or lack thereof) for each. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the nuances between business models and what one will be best for them.

May 6, 2008:     Growing the Community for Revenue & Market Dominance

The online gaming and virtual world markets are experiencing a burst of growth and activity, which also means more competition for the mindshare and dollars of the community. This session will address how studios and technology providers are addressing the needs of the community to keep them in the game with advanced features, live communications, enriched adventures and more hands-on community involvement in the world.

March 5, 2008:     Getting Started and Succeeding

In December we talked to VCs and heard their side of the story in giving the money ‘away’. For our first session in 2008 we present the business owner side. Hear from a panel of some of Boston’s most successful start-ups in the interactive entertainment industry as they share their stories of humble beginnings, their biggest mistakes, greatest surprises and the stone-cold facts behind getting funded, published and running a business.

December 5, 2007:     Financial Games

Hear from top VC firms investing in the gaming industry as they share with you their insight on what kinds of deals they find interesting and the questions to consider when creating a new property and/or studio. A market “state of the nation”, mobile, online, licensed intellectual property (IP) versus unique and the best way to seek funding will all be addressed.

October, 29, 2007:     An Industry on the Move

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