Insights from Montreal’s International Game Summit

Kelsy Medeiros

Published on 25/06/2024

We finally settled back in our home office at GameRebellion after the outstanding MIGS: Montreal’s International Game Summit, which took place nearly two weeks ago (Nov. 8-9).

The event was a treasure trove of insights and connections. From the talented panellists who shared their game development experiences to the experts in the video game industry, including publishers, studios, and budding developers from Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, we felt honoured to be part of such a vibrant community.

At MIGS, we proudly featured our booth and listened to your marketing needs. Meeting industry professionals and long-time supporters of the gaming scene was a surreal and inspiring experience.

The atmosphere was genuinely welcoming, and the support was palpable, especially during Xsolla’s panel. The panel focused on tips and tricks for boosting a video game’s success by leveraging the supportive Montréal community, where studios share challenges and collaborate 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 professionals who gave us insights into the diverse impacts participating in MIGS can bring to the Montreal gaming industry. Our experts returned 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. This will leave 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

Listening to the insightful panelists, we realized how rapidly the video game industry has evolved. In just the last five years, subscription-based services have become the norm for generating video game sales. Platforms like Xbox Game Pass, once controversial for their yearly price and selective game offerings, are now widely accepted.

Today, services like Apple Arcade are celebrated for their consistent daily updates and free additions when subscribing annually. This shift has also led to major retailers like Best Buy announcing the discontinuation of physical game sales. This change will impact definitive edition games, which often feature special packaging exclusive to retailers and generate significant excitement among gamers.

To navigate these industry shifts, it’s essential to stay prepared and adaptable. Use these changes as tools to produce, market, and sell your game effectively. Keeping an eye on industry news is crucial when selecting publishers and deciding where to release and market your game. Monitoring social media hashtags, forums, and the overall video game market can help you predict the best strategies 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 who had to restart his marketing from square one. What happened with Max is not to be taken as a fear of what to expect when developing a game; 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 learn something 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 produce your game alone. Even as a single developer, the community’s knowledge and skills can improve your product, marketing, and sales. Involving yourself with the community surrounding your game’s audience is crucial.

Connecting with your gamers (B2C) through social media groups like Discord servers, Reddit forums, Twitter communities, and TikTok trends is vital. These platforms offer great ways to engage with your audience at low or no cost.

Liking posts, commenting, and sharing on your socials creates a genuine connection between the gamer and your project. Gamers feel they are becoming part of your journey and want to support your game. They trust that you will deliver a product that caters to them.

The same applies to connecting with businesses (B2B). Take a professional approach and create opportunities by connecting with the right industry people. Use LinkedIn, Facebook forums, Discord servers, and trade shows like MIGS. These resources can help you gather connections leading to partnerships, volunteers, marketers, publishers, and investors.

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. We felt honoured to contribute to and learn from the collaborative spirit of the Montreal gaming community.

We are inspired to push our marketing boundaries to ensure your game’s success!