FTW! – The day when we gathered the entire European gaming industry in Belgrade
Only a few years ago, it was unthinkable for the leading representatives of the European gaming industry to be in Belgrade and for the Serbian gaming industry to be relevant in any way in European or global contexts. A few years later, the domestic ecosystem is becoming more serious, and SGA is here, together with numerous partners, to create conditions and opportunities for such exchanges between our and foreign game developers, other industry sectors and decision makers to happen as often as possible.
Since we founded Serbian Association of the Video Game Industry four years ago, we wanted to establish a flagship event, which would connect the domestic gaming industry with professionals and decision makers from other European countries. The idea was to point out good practices, both specific to some aspects of work in the industry and those relevant to the overall development of the gaming industry and the relationships of companies, the state, civil society and other decision makers.
Although the event was prepared in a relatively short time, at a time when restrictions on large public events have just begun to ease, the SGA’s call was answered by numerous industry representatives from more than 10 countries, including Finland, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy. Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia or Northern Macedonia. Numerous partners also responded, such as ICT Hub and USAID (through the Serbia Innovates project), Epic Games, Playrix RS, Gamecamp, SwissEP and the embassies of Finland and Sweden, as well as Google, Outfit7, Fingersoft and other companies and publishers. We were joined by numerous members of the European Game Developers Federation.
The day began with a regular, annual session of the SGA Assembly, which was attended by representatives of more than 60 companies and teams that are members of the SGA. This is the first assembly of the association held live, and it was a great opportunity for members to get acquainted with the functioning of the organization and program plans, as well as to exchange views on some of the current topics for the domestic industry.
The program continued in the space of the Yugoslav Cinematheque, with a module intended for support organizations and decision-makers, which was opened by none other than the President of the European Association of EGDF, Hendrik Lesser. Thalita Malago from the Italian association IIDEA, Olli Sinerma from Business Finland, Per Stromback from Swedish Games Industry and David Rabineau from the French association SNJV inspired us with their presentations on how some of the strongest European industries grew. You can watch the complete session moderated by Relja Bobić (in front of the SGA) on the link.
Throughout the day, a parallel program for developers from the world of mobile games took place in a smaller hall. Gamecamp is a recognizable program supported by Google to contribute to the development of the mobile gaming industry in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to the manager of this program, Mariusz Gasiewski, we were introduced to numerous lecturers from Google, AppsFlyer and Reality Games, as well as domestic companies Nordeus, Two Desperados and GameBiz Consulting.
The afternoon module in the main hall was also intended for developers, with guest appearances by Fingersoft, Outfit7, Fuchs + Dachs and the Demagog studio. After useful lectures (available on our YT channel) with really valuable first-hand experiences, participants and visitors had the opportunity to take a break and walk to the next location.
A completely different, almost festive atmosphere greeted us at the Bitef Theater, where three keynote lectures were scheduled, as well as the premiere presentation of the latest annual SGA report (for 2021!). SGA became the first association in the world to publish its report for the previous year in early April. One aspect in which the domestic industry is already ahead of more experienced colleagues from the rest of Europe, and the report was presented by SGA Executive Manager Kristina Janković Obućina, who has been in constant contact with the entire community and representatives of all teams and companies since the association was founded.
This was also an ideal introduction to a review of global industry trends given by Tobias Knoke of Google, based on research the company conducted with Newzoo. This was followed by a review of how to best adapt your work process to the new distribution methods offered by Nuša Gantar from Outfit7, and at the very end of the program was the rare appearance of the founder of 3Lateral, today one of the leading people in new technologies at Epic Games – Vladimir Mastilović.
Over 200 invited visitors followed For the Win! programs throughout the day, and after a top-notch keynote lineup, together we headed to the club DIM where foreign guests had the opportunity to taste the atmosphere of authentic Belgrade nightlife and cultural spaces. Tapan, one of the most notable Belgrade avant-tech bands, performed with the DJ support of the Drugstore resident – kir. Impressions that have accumulated during this long and meaningful day have been “rendered” in an extremely positive atmosphere, and old, but also completely new acquaintances and friendships have been nurtured.
See what the atmosphere was like, and we can’t wait for next year!