MIGS 2009 Wrap Up

Sunday, December 20, 2009
By: Matthew Doucette

Xona Games back from MIGS 2009.

Sorry for taking so long to blog this...

The full Xona Games crew (Jason Doucette and Matthew Doucette) is back from MIGS 2009. It was held on November 16th and 17th, 2009 in the beautiful Hilton Bonaventure Hotel Montreal, where we also stayed. We really didn’t know what to expect, but it was an amazing experience!

Thanks goes to Nova Scotia Business Inc. for paying our approximate $3,000 entry fee. Unlike typical MIGS visitors, we were a part of the much more expensive “Business Lounge”. The trip cost us approximately $1,500 in travel and lodging. Money we do not have as an indie game developer, I must add. Lesson learned: Succeeding is about taking risks.

We first attended a keynote speech by Yoichi Wada, the President and CEO of Square-Enix, well known for their Final Fantasy series. He listed the four most important aspects of games, but had a fifth not listed on purpose. The fifth item was “online”. Wada said it was too important to talk about! He was quite philosophical. It's ironic the aspect he refused to talk about was the one we remembered the best.

Yoichi Wada keynote at MIGS 2009.
(Photo by Andrew Shin of NextGen Player.)

Other keynotes we missed because we attended meetings all day long. We met one-on-one with many CEOs and representatives of game businesses. We had our own meeting room and met with RealGames, Nintendo of America, SouthPeak Games, Shangai Honli Digital Technology, MOffY, Kaneva, 505 Games, Activision, Valve (John Bartkiw), and more.

The MIGS scheduling software wasn’t 100% and we missed our meetings with Modern Ad Media, China Game Group (although we said hi for a moment), XPEC Entertainment, HanSoft, and PAN Vision. We’ll try to connect with them after the fact to see if there’s a connection.  If any of you are reading this, drop us a line!

At a VIP party and on the floor, we hooked up with even more talent. We grabbed one of the speakers, David Edery of Xbox LIVE Arcade fame, to check out our game and give us tips! We also hooked up with Mobility Art Studios (Hans Vandersluys) on the floor and shared our work. We even bumped into Mark Rein of Epic Games who gave us a sneak peak at some Unreal technology. We met some amazing people. I highly recommend anyone who wishes to get a foot in the gaming industry door to attend one of these shows.

Meeting with Nintendo and Valve taught us we can ship on both Nintendo and Steam, if we choose to! So, Duality ZF will come to Steam! Nintendo will be decided on later. If we choose to push our games to Nintendo, that lets us in three of the four major gaming consoles (PC, Xbox, and Nintendo) and only leaves PlayStation untouched.

Duality ZF, our 1-4 player intense retro shoot'em up.

The standout point was that games are big money, money is business, and business is people. It is almost intimidating. At one point Jason mentioned to me that it seemed everyone forgot what this industry was all about and asked where all the games were! There was very little in terms of game demos on the floor. MIGS was about networking, something we have only begun to do.

Other companies present that we did not get a chance to meet were: Emergent Game Technologies (Tim Page and Casey Brandi), Enzyme Testing Labs (Yan Cyr and Clément Debetz), Hibernum Créations (Frédérick Faubert and Franck Da Costa), Incomm (Krista Vandermeer and Michael Fraser), Infernal Engine (Joe Kreiner and Ryan Monday), Jet Black Games (Raffaele Freddi), Lithium Prod. (Sébastien Mouchet and Mallory Milliet), Musical DNA (Kenneth Lemons and Zeliha Artan), Volta (Sébastien Caisse and Luc Blouin), Voxler (Nicolas Delorme and Vincent Guilloux), and Wendigo Studios (Éric Trudel and Emmanual Cloutier). To anyone in these companies, feel free to drop us a line. It’s too bad we did not connect face to face.


2023-JAN-01 UPDATE:

MIGS 2009 happened over 13 years ago, and we are still talking about it!

Jason spoke in our private game development Discord (we have a public Xona Gamees Discord here) about the concept of "game formats." We learned of this concept from Yoichi Wada's keynote speech. I read my re-cap above and realized that I never mentioned it, even though we have talked about it ever since.

I found an article that speaks upon it, and wanted to share it here: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/pc/wada-too-much-diversification-will-confuse-game-consumers

For a bit of extra background, when we first started profesional game development we were a bit lost as to what format ouur first game, Duality ZF, would fall under. Xbox LIVE Indie Games (Xbox LIVE Community Games at the time) was just getting started and they had price points of $2.50, $5, and $10 USD which later changed to $1, $3, and $5. Partially, we were competing with Xbox LIVE Arcade games that had price points of $10 and $15 USD. Where should we place our game to maximize success? This is an example of deciding upon a "game format." Which is a decision that came be made at the game level (our own game) or the platform level (Xbox LIVE Indie Games and Xbox LIVE in general).

That is all.



About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $190,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.