These days it’s awfully hard to find examples of international cooperation and unity. You know the stories, because you see them every day on the news. So it’s heartening to see a diverse set of companies and countries to come together, to craft a portrait of unity over drinks and networking at the upcoming GDC.
Representatives from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina have come together to organize a first-of-its-kind party at GDC that covers diverse countries and video game ecosystems in Latin America, that also promotes the growing strength of Latin American developers and consumers.
I picked the brains of the four organizers, Humberto Cervera, CEO and Founder with Chaos Industries; Luis Wong, the Executive Director of the Peruvian IGDA Chapter, Production Manager at LEAP Game Studios, CEO of Bit Bit and associate editor of IDG Latin America; María Luján Oulton, owner of Objet a communications and cultural events agency; and Luis Parra, Co-Founder and CEO at Press Start Studios and President at Global Game Designers Guild (GGDG), to share their thoughts about building this party and what value it will create for them, their respective countries and Latin America in general.
Oulton credits Luis Wong as spark that lit the fuse to create the event. “(He) was the one with the original idea. We started talking and inviting people to join in the coordination of the event. We all agree that lots of developers of Latin America attend GDC and miss the opportunity to contact each other,” she said.
Looking at it from the bigger picture perspective of creating an opportunity to connect with Latin developers, Wong adds, “There are lots of developers in Latin America but they can’t talk in person with each other. It’s difficult for us to travel to other countries for conferences, but many of them go to GDC each year. It’s kind of a paradox…”
GDC is the logical choice to stage this event, because “…GDC is the most important event in the game industry and many Latin developers will be there, as well as publishers and other people that could be interested in the region,” says Wong. But also the location of GDC, and therefore the party, in opportunity-rich Silicon Valley “…offers the event a unique opportunity to connect the industry with investors potential publishing partners, ad networks, etc. As a matter of fact, we already have a few VCs joining the party,”
In addition to VCs, the multinational hosts are hoping to see other game developers from across Latin America while connecting with game publishers, developers, press and executives from outside Latin America as well.
The hosts reiterated the theme of unity, creating connections that cross national borders, and promoting the regional greater good, echoed by Cervera: “We must strive to build not a Mexican Industry, a Chilean Industry, an Argentinian Industry, etc. Our goal is to create a Latin American Industry. This party is an initiative to connect developers from all around Latin America.”
The general message behind their event at GDC, the organizers agree, is to create unity and present a message that projects the potential of their regional marketplace. “Our vision is to unite, educate and (connect) the Latin American gaming industry with the rest of the world, and more importantly, with each other. We have a great potential and by networking between us, we can create business opportunities, job opportunities and partnership opportunities.”
Creating the party for GDC was, according to the hosts, an easy process, born out of common interest and past experience collaborating together. Parra underscored this, saying, “We are all entrepreneurs therefor we make the time to make this possible, even if is working late at night or weekends, passion for what we do, makes this collaboration very easy and productive.”
Once this reception is in the books, though, what about the next steps, especially if the event attracts the right people and creates the right connections? They foresee the potential to build a foundation of greater unity between LatAm devs, publishers and influencers, through other events and receptions. They certainly expect to host another reception at GDC 2015 at the very least. ”
Aside from working on a first-time event, hoping to make a big impact at GDC, the organizers are looking to promote their respective companies and brands, check out the South American booths on the expo floor and the talks intersecting with their region, to network and gain insight on the forward progress of the industry.
The GDC Latin American Party will be hosted at the Local Edition bar in San Francisco on Tuesday night, March 18th. To check out the Eventbrite registration and event information, take a quick visit to this page.
– Paul Philleo, Contributing Editor