Key Insights from Montreal's International Game Summit | MIGS 2023

Kelsy Medeiros

Published on 22/11/2023

Insights from Montreal's International Game Summit

We finally settled back in our home office here at GameRebellion after the outstanding MIGS: "Montreal's International Game Summit" that occurred nearly two weeks ago (Nov. 8-9).

From the talented panellists who taught us much about their game development experiences to meeting many experts surrounding the video game industry, such as publishers, studios, and even the next generation of developers from Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. We felt honoured to have been present at such an impactful event with so much support surrounding the community.

While at MIGS, we were excited to feature our booth as we listened to your marketing needs. It was a surreal experience to have met professionals from around the industry and those who have supported this scene for so long.

The atmosphere was genuinely welcoming, and we felt the impact of such support through Xsolla's Panel, which focused on many tips and tricks for pushing a video game's success by using the Montréal community as a form of support, where studios have the opportunity to share challenges and work together to overcome obstacles. 

"In Montréal, there is no competition. We are all a family, a group of allies here to help us achieve above and beyond." - John Nguyen, Xsolla. 

What We Learned at MIGS 2023

With all that we learned, we wanted to share some vital insights to help deliver an influence for your peers to remember you.

Our team talked to many people professionals who gave us insights into the diverse impacts participating in MIGS can bring to the Montreal gaming industry. Our experts were able to come back with unique experiences that turned into solid feedback that we can use for any game, no matter the stage of its development.

Be Prepared with a Plan

When your team decides to have a booth, a clear goal must be achieved: plan your event. Ask yourself what you are going to offer at your booth. Who will you bring along with you? Please prepare your pitch and learn how to distinguish yourself and your game from the rest of the event.

Note that you will be meeting all sorts of industry professionals, so having answers to the questions needed to support your game's goal is a must-have. This leaves a great impression on the event's community while creating a wide range of support. Meeting industry professionals creates opportunities for partnerships, investors, and publishers who want a clear vision of what you need as a developer.

Be Open to Unexpected Changes

After listening to the keen panellists, we realized how much has changed within the video game industry in so little time. In the last five years alone, subscription-based services have quickly become the norm in earning video game sales. Publishing games on platforms such as Xbox Game Studios Publishing Game Pass, a program that five years ago was met with controversy from the video game community for its yearly price to only wanting to play certain games.

Now, game services such as the latest Apple Arcade have been adored for their free, consistent daily updates for their favourite games when paying for a year of service. This year, Best Buy and other retailers have announced the discontinuation of physical game sales, which will impact definitive edition games that offer special packaging exclusive to retailers. It creates a sense of "hype" for the gamer and notably affects their passion.

Be prepared for the unexpected, and be ready to use industry shifts as tools to produce, market, and sell your game thoroughly. Before picking publishers or releasing and marketing games on platforms that are not directly involved with your game's outlet, watching the news around you is crucial. Social media hashtags, forums, and the video game market across all platforms are important to study when predicting the best outcome for your game's success.

Use Failure as a Tool for Success

When expecting the unexpected, sometimes you may find yourself in a highly challenging situation that you can't prepare for everything. Maxime Vézina, founder and creative director at Bold Spirit Game Studio, spoke about his unforgettable experience when his Steam page for Red Trigger Remake was taken down, losing him thousands of followers and wishlists.

We'll get into Max's story again, but let's use his example as the co-producer had to restart his marketing from square one. What happened with Max is not to be taken as fear of what to expect when developing a game, but it's a skill to challenge yourself with when reaching your game's story of success.

Some of the greatest games ever made have had some horrible journeys, such as Super Meat Boy, in which developers have openly stated and shown in the documentary how they felt that Microsoft and large publishers had taken advantage of the indie while not showcasing their game for download on Xbox Live's Store page.

But since then, the game has become a reference staple in game development. Remember that trying new things and not finding success is another answer to your question.

You are narrowing down the many possible roads to take your game on to the one that will bring out the best and lead you to success. Remember to learn from your mistakes and challenges that appear along the way. You can always learn a valuable lesson from your peers.

Be bold about asking your fellow community members and supporters questions. This is another excellent resource to use when needing a different perspective; you might have something to learn from them or even get the help you seek to put your game on the right track.

The Rise of Self-Publishing

At MIGS, we met with many studios seeking publishers across Montréal to sign their game under. But we have learned at the Independent Game Commercialization booth held by Xsolla that part of our rapidly changing industry is allowing self-publishing on platforms to become much more accessible to developers. Platforms such as Valve Corporation have always allowed studios to self-publish their games. Still, Epic Games, Xbox, and even Nintendo Switch's shop have allowed self-publishing services under their regulations. Self-publishing allows freedom in how the game is marketed and produced under the desires of the developers.

Self-publishing is also cost-efficient, as Steam has always welcomed studios to publish their games for only $100.00 after the platform has reviewed the title that meets their expectations to avoid a staggered market filled with only mediocrity. As technology develops, self-publishing is a familiar idea.

Make the Time for Networking

Sometimes, two heads are better than one. In the Montréal community, you don't have to be alone when producing your game, even if you may be a single developer. The more knowledge and skills, the better the product, the marketing, and the game's sales come from the gaming community's open arms. Involving yourself with the community surrounding your game's audience is extremely important. Connecting with your gamers (B2C) through social media groups such as Discord servers, Reddit forms, Twitter communities, and TikTok trends are great ways to engage with your audience with low or no costs.

Being involved by liking posts, commenting on them, and sharing them on your socials gives the gamer a genuine connection to your project. They feel they are becoming a part of your journey and will want to support your game, knowing that you will deliver a product that caters to them.

It's similar when connecting to businesses (B2B). Besides taking a more professional approach, opportunities must be made by clicking with the right people in the industry. LinkedIn, Meta Facebook forums, Discord servers, and trade shows directed to B2B opportunities, like MIGS, are professional resources to gather connections that can branch into partnerships, volunteers, marketers, publishers, and even investors.

The video game industry comprises experts with connections that may lead you to your game's full potential. So next time you are looking for something to do when needing a break from game development, take out your phone and start scrolling through the tree filled with endless branches of connections.

Elevating Game Marketing at MIGS

Our experience at this year's Montreal's International Game Summit was exceptional. From the insightful panels to the invaluable networking opportunities, GameRebellion is grateful to have been part of such a premier B2B experience. The event allowed us to showcase our services, meet clients and connect with all the great professionals. The collaborative spirit of the Montreal gaming community was evident, and we were honoured to contribute and learn from it.

As we reflect on the lessons learned and connections made, we are inspired to continue pushing the boundaries of our marketing expertise to ensure your game's success. For more insightful marketing tips and tricks for your game, join our Discord community by clicking on REB-E below! 🚀