In the Name of Games #MIGW17

In the Name of Games #MIGW17

More than 65,000 people hit town between 22–29 October for Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW).

If you’ve noticed Melbourne feels a little bit quieter of late, you’d be right. More than 65,000 people hit town between 22–29 October for Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW), and things got busy! The festival attracted more international visitors than ever before. Launched in 2015 by the Victorian Government, MIGW combines a range of public, education and industry events aimed to celebrate and shine a spotlight on the business and benefits the digital games sector brings to Victoria. Highlights of the week included the Game Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) conference, the popular consumer event PAX AUS, the annual Women in Games Lunch hosted by Film Victoria and the Australian Game Developers’ Awards.

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The city was transformed into a digital playground with Wayfinder Live – an augmented reality game exploring Melbourne’s laneways. The achievements of Australian and NZ female games pioneers were celebrated at the Code Breakers exhibition at ACMI, while Parallels showcased local designers with live demonstrations and passionate discussions. Global Top Round, a prestigious accelerator program supporting and investing in indie games developers, brought 17 studios (15 international) to Melbourne to participate. And the International Game Developers' Association Foundation also brought eight digital games scholars from overseas to experience MIGW events as part of its program.

The GCAP conference welcomed international keynote speakers Karla Zimonja and Steve Gaynor from The Fullbright Company USA, makers of Gone Home and Tacoma, and attracted more than 1000 delegates. PAX AUS events included exhibitor booths from both independent and major game developers and publishers, concerts inspired by games culture, panels on games topics, tabletop games tournaments, and video game free play areas.

This year the three-day event was a complete sell-out. There was an increased representation of indie developers; major stands by XBox, Playstation, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Twitch and Huawei; as well as an expansion of the virtual reality (VR) exhibition space. Melbourne development company The Voxel Agents was one of seven companies invited to take in the PAX AUS Indie Showcase and was thrilled by the response their game The Gardens Between received.

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Matthew Clark, co-founder of The Voxel Agents, @GAZiPHOTO

“MIGW represents an incredible opportunity for us to showcase our games to both the public, to our peers, and to other influential leaders of the global games industry. To be able to set up meetings with members of the industry from all over the globe, and do it on our home stage is incredibly valuable for the future of our business,” Matthew Clark, Director, The Voxel Agents said. Clara Reeves, President of Hipster Whale, the local games outfit behind global hit Crossy Road, also praised the week for its business networking opportunities. “MIGW is a great time for many of our international partners to visit Melbourne. There is so much condensed into the week and so many developers all in one place. It was a busy week for us and we’re looking forward to it all to happening again next year,” she said. In addition to networking opportunities for games developers, and games enthusiasts, the week provided platforms for educators to discuss games trends in education and ways to prepare young students for careers in future technology lead economies.

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ACMI Family Sunday - @GAZiPHOTO

Helen Sultana, Program Officer – Schools, Girl Geek Academy, presented at the Education in Games Summit and said "MIGW offered a fantastic opportunity to meet other educators who are working in the games in education space. Through hands-on workshops, I gained new insights into emerging technologies aimed at supporting and enriching the delivery of a digital curriculum in schools. I'm very much looking forward to seeing our #MissMakesCode program implemented in more schools in 2018 to further support girls’ participation in STEM learning."

For more MIGW highlights be sure to check out news content on this site and the #MIGW17 social hashtag. And bookmark October 2018 to join us for the next MIGW instalment and a continued celebration of digital games.