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Games Industry Law Summit – the making of & photos (LOTS of photos)

Games Industry Law Summit
Games Industry Law Summit – the making of & photos (LOTS of photos)
By Sergei Klimov • Issue #81 • View online
Today’s issue is dedicated to the photographs from the event. For the sixth time now, we work with Vilnius-based Simas Bernotas – who keeps getting better at capturing the vibe of the Summit.
This time around, we also agreed that Simas will photograph every single presenter – so if you were on stage and you’d like some print-quality files from the event, read on for the link to the gallery.
We have 700+ photos, and they are all awesome!
Finally, this year, for the first time, we had real gate-crushers at the Summit – which we take to be a sign of success. I mean, what good if your party if nobody is trying to break in, right? More on this – in the issue below.

The making of Summit 2021
In 2021, the Summit moved from Kempinski to Hotel PACAI as we aimed to improve the quality and the flow of lunches and dinners while at the same time providing a safe environment – which meant building a custom outdoor tent (thanks, COVID!).
As people like to write on LinkedIn, “if some years ago I would be told that I’ll be building a freaking tent in a hotel’s courtyard, I would have laughed”. Though probably more like cursed.
So many things could have gone wrong in 2021… but they haven’t!
It’s only now that the event is over and we have debriefed everyone, that we realise how many issues have been successfully resolved behind the doors. And thanks to the only person who tested COVID +ve upon arrival to Vilnius for protecting everyone else, and staying at the hotel! Just imagine the emails if this level of care wouldn’t have been paid.
On behalf of the chefs, I’m here to say that the most in-demand item during the Summit was the live cooking station that grilled steaks on the last day, and that we maxed out the kitchen capacities because this sort of meat needs special delivery and storage. However, they’re looking forward to coming up with something even better for 2022!
Back to the venue: we really loved the possibility to work with the whole courtyard. In 2015, we had standard sponsor standees. In 2021, we had huge banners that required a proper crane and a team of hard men in hard hats (smoking smuggled Belarusian cigarettes) to get installed.
Flying law firm banners over a palace built in 1677 – DONE.
Speaking of 1677, here’s what you had to do that year to become a new citizen of Vilnius:
From "New citizens of Vilnius (1661–1795)" by A. Urbanavičius
From "New citizens of Vilnius (1661–1795)" by A. Urbanavičius
Substitute ‘guilds’ for ‘law firms’ and ‘games studios’, and there you have our little community event: you still need to be a person of good morals, and to secure a professional reputation with your peers or by the fact of honest practice for a number of years, to join it. Oh how everything changes, while also remaining the same!
Summit 2021 set the record for the number of partners who supported the event, and I’m not being trivial here when I say that only with this help did we manage to make it through the gap year, and run the event as safely as it needed to be ran given the context.
We’re settling the outstanding invoices the whole week, and we’ve got no fat to spare. If we wouldn’t have had the support of all these partners… it would have been a less stellar performance! So thank you, people, thank you and thank you.
As usual, Wargaming’s legal team took upon themselves the difficult task of creating and managing this year’s Legal Challenge IV – while Invest Lithuania and Go Vilnius provided the support on the ground.
Less usual was the kind of the support, though: not only facilitating the visas where needed, but also helping Alma stay in touch with all the local health authorities, with the rules changing every Monday.
Oh, the new things that we learned! Such as that, among other places, Astra Zeneca’s vaccine is also manufactured in the city of Pune (in the state of Maharashtra, India, population ±8M), and when your shot originates there… our border control still doesn’t recognise it as EMA-approved.
Retrospectively, I regret the hours lost on the calls with the heath bureau (and email chains with 5+ people at the ministry). But this also means we’re better prepared for 2022, since we now have the contacts and how to stay on top of the game called COVID.
Back in 2020, we struggled to keep the attendee number down to 300, even setting limits for specific regions (DE, UK, PL) and for how many attendees from the same firm may join. Oh, the times when you could place 300 people into one big room and not have to get some hospitalised with a nasty virus later – I miss them!!
Come 2021, we worked with the crazy assumption that in just a few weeks, “between 100 and 250 people” will come over. The problem wasn’t with 100 or 250 per se, the problem was with trying to get ready for an unknown number of guests who kept changing their plans up to early September.
Will attendees from the US be able to make it to Europe? (YES) What of South Korea? (NO) How are the quarantine rules for Japan? (NOT GOOD) And what are the chances that Sputnik V gets recognised internationally? (HA HA, Okay, we never really considered this one seriously, sorry…).
Unbelievably, but I don’t think we had a single cancellation within 2 weeks of the Summit – whoever cancelled, cancelled before.
This actually made both us and the hotels pretty nervous.
Is everyone really committed? Or some people have forgotten how to send emails and in fact plan to stay home under the warm blanket?
It turned out that those who committed, were really committed (2 people cancelled 24 hours prior to arrival due to illness, while in a normal year we would expect 10-12 such cases). Amazing!
In the final reckoning, Summit 2021 had 160 attendees from 24 countries .These people represented 32 games companies and 44 law firms. The ratio between in-house and law firm attendees has been a healthy 45% / 55%, and 70 attendees came for the first time. NOT BAD FOR A PANDEMICS YEAR.
Speaking of the first-time visitors, they got custom orange badge-holders that were hugely helpful to us in terms of introductions and orientation. Why didn’t we think of them earlier? Who knows, but now we’re a bit smarter.
One of the considerations for the seating plan, by the way, was to mix first-time attendees and veterans, so that you could meet new people even before queueing for coffee.
Another was mixing up countries, another was mixing up genders, and yet another was placing people, generally, in the order of when they have registered. A lot of factors, I know! Took us a whole day.
Speaking of coffee, we drank through the whole of the supply, and then through the reserve. The only type of coffee that wasn’t in fashion? Tonic espressos. Those damn tonic espressos, man. Back at the meeting in August, the head barista said they’re really popular in warm weather. Well, well… DEAR WEATHER, WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO US.
On the day of the Reception Dinner, the weather was lovely. And generally, in 2015-2022, the time of the Summit should have had +25C and no rain.
We started the fire pits more for the look and the smell of the real fire, than for the actual heat…
How it started: attendees from Cyprus thinking that Vilnius is, after all, not too cold…
How it ended: attendees from Germany hugging a heater.
By stroke of luck, the first two days of the Summit had more or less decent weather, with the rains and the cold winds only arriving at the very end of day three.
And when I write “decent”, I mean NO HAIL, NO SNOW, NO THUNDERSTORMS.
Some people were prepared to face the wind –
Some, not so much –
And some didn’t care about cold, because they were from Canada –
Gate crashers
Incredibly, we finally got gate-crashed, so before I tell you the story, let me say that in 2022 we’re going to put up a couple of our friends from the rugby team here in Vilnius to prevent similar stories in the future.
The strange
During the reception dinner, there was a person who called themselves “a former counsel at Sony” that moved from London to Vilnius. He promised to send me an email with the introduction, to ask for the registration to the main event. That email never came through! He also said that he’s staying with the hotel, but the hotel said they have no such guest. What was it? I don’t know! My biggest fear was that some laptop may get stolen, but thankfully everything remained safe. Either way, this was some strange turn of events.
The ignorant
Every year, we reject about a hundred applications for “lack of industry experience or recommendations”. Basically, if Paul Gardner says “the community will benefit from meeting this person”, it’s a stamp of approval. Samewise, if it’s an in-house counsel at a credible games company who works for longer than a few months. But then we also have applications from people who say they do “games industry work”, yet then cannot come up with any recommendations – you see a list of well-known games studios, but get no response when asking “so who at these companies we can talk to, about your work?”.
So this year, for the first time, someone who has been politely refused registration just boarded the plane and sneaked into the Summit without a badge. Unbelievable? Or just ignorant of the rules. As park rangers in the US say when you ask them if you can take a nice-looking stone home: “and what if every visitor would do this, son?” Having the community that is relevant to the industry is at the heart of the experience, so we escorted the gate-crasher out and blacklisted the firm.
The idiotic
On the last day of the event, a person showed up and started pitching their legal startup to me and a few others. After some minutes, none of us could understand it, despite being told of the many PhD holders that work on this project. Having politely refused the pitch, I thought that’s the end of it… but actually, no! This person now is on LinkedIn, sending InMails to pretty much every counsel from the Summit’s attendee list, asking for a call and offering a side-job. I mean, perhaps in the end that startup would lift off (though I have my doubts), but cold-emailing people with “hey, I crashed your Summit last week, can I have 20 minutes of your time and rack your brains for my benefit” is a very unappealing proposition.
Anyways, we’re totally getting the rugby guys for 2022, because while all these cases are kind of fun, they’re also stealing everyone’s time.
PHOTOS!!!
Let’s face it: everyone loves good photos.
Some people are photogenic, some not so much, but generally at our age and in our profession we don’t care much – as long as we’re recognisable, right?
Here’s a little preview, and then I’m going to share the link with a few caveats –>
  • feel free to use these photos for your personal needs (e.g. updating the profile). we don’t add watermarks/event logos because it’s not a commercial thing.
  • if there’s a photo of yourself that you don’t like, please send the link to me or Alma and we’ll remove it. though I think everyone behaved properly.
  • there are some group photos when people asked Simas for the special picture. you can do this in 2022 as well! get your colleagues rounded up, and get the photo of your dreams.
as we were outside, it was quite safe to hug
as we were outside, it was quite safe to hug
especially if you wanted to hug a banker
especially if you wanted to hug a banker
though we had M&A counsels available for hugging, too
though we had M&A counsels available for hugging, too
it felt great to see happy people
it felt great to see happy people
the outdoor venue made a big difference
the outdoor venue made a big difference
we finally started selling the tickets to kids (but only with the masks!)
we finally started selling the tickets to kids (but only with the masks!)
open air was our biggest safety tool
open air was our biggest safety tool
at the Summit, you could say Hi to most judges from the Legal Challenge
at the Summit, you could say Hi to most judges from the Legal Challenge
did we mention happy people?
did we mention happy people?
people made new friends and reconnected with the old ones
people made new friends and reconnected with the old ones
this IKEA box grew legs and went somewhere, hmm
this IKEA box grew legs and went somewhere, hmm
that's attendees from USA, Singapore and Cyprus in one photo
that's attendees from USA, Singapore and Cyprus in one photo
we love this guy, and we wish him all the best in his new position in Silicon Valley
we love this guy, and we wish him all the best in his new position in Silicon Valley
Shum moved to Vilnius, but Ciaran still found him here!
Shum moved to Vilnius, but Ciaran still found him here!
pandemic or not, Jas is always dressed sharp
pandemic or not, Jas is always dressed sharp
Tobias may give Paul a big hug, but Tobias is not letting go of that beer!
Tobias may give Paul a big hug, but Tobias is not letting go of that beer!
the meet-and-greet elf (I swear we did not coordinate the colors that morning!)
the meet-and-greet elf (I swear we did not coordinate the colors that morning!)
happy times! I'm already looking forward to Warsaw!
happy times! I'm already looking forward to Warsaw!
happy times all around!
happy times all around!
these two seem to know each other
these two seem to know each other
these two, too!
these two, too!
and these two know everyone!
and these two know everyone!
nothing makes us happier than seeing people enjoy their company
nothing makes us happier than seeing people enjoy their company
and what a company that was!
and what a company that was!
here I am, between the owner of the game and the esports team that's good at it
here I am, between the owner of the game and the esports team that's good at it
it was great to see the finalists of the Legal Challenge make it to Vilnius
it was great to see the finalists of the Legal Challenge make it to Vilnius
these two work at take-two
these two work at take-two
these four don't (but maybe they want?)
these four don't (but maybe they want?)
you say child labour at the Summit – I say, a tribute to 11 bit's Frostpunk!
you say child labour at the Summit – I say, a tribute to 11 bit's Frostpunk!
burn!
burn!
burn, baby, burn!
burn, baby, burn!
to us, this photograph is how we will remember the first post-COVID Summit
to us, this photograph is how we will remember the first post-COVID Summit
And now the link: HERE, courtesy of Simas.
Buckle up, there’s over 700 of photos – and early on, you’ll see some technical shots of attendee boxes? Just scroll past, it’s in chronological order, from Reception to Day One and to Day Two.
–––
That’s it for today, and I’ll be quiet for a few weeks as our studio is entering the crunch to ship our new game (we’re not a public company, so there’s no secrets: we absolutely must ship that game next month, and we’re cutting on sleep to catch up on tags; happy to join the mental health panel in 2022 after we wreck ourselves in the process!!).
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Much love from Vilnius: we miss you all already, and we hope to see you again in Warsaw in May and in Vilnius in September.
You helped us make this year’s event safe, and now the sky is the limit for 2022: we’ll have two different champagnes, we’ll do the attendee token roulette that was discussed in 2019, and I really want to have the sort of cake on wheels from which a surprise speaker jumps out – so let’s do it next year!!
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Sergei Klimov

A newsletter about games industry's legal side, written for the benefit and entertainment of the folks attending (or considering to attend) the annual Games Industry Law Summit in Vilnius.

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Games Industry Law Summit is organized by Charlie Oscar Lima Tango Interactive Entertainment UAB