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Summit – 6 Days to Vilnius

It's been great to see a number of conference calls happen today between people on various panels and
Games Industry Law Summit
Summit – 6 Days to Vilnius
By Sergei Klimov • Issue #48 • View online
It’s been great to see a number of conference calls happen today between people on various panels and presentations! By priority, making sure that the program is well-prepared is second only to making sure that our orders for the extra magnums of red and white wine have duly been processed at the winery of Marco Felluga.
Speaking of which, we originally ordered 30 magnums of Marco Fellluga Carantan Collio Rosso 2011, but the winery did not release 2011 magnums yet and so they made us a big favour: they are now supplying, for the same price, magnums of Carantan from 2009 – unavailable anywhere else except for their “Private Library” (and purely by budget, that’s at least 20% more value as 2009 is now scoring 90% and upwards).
Anyways, it’s one day less until the Summit kicks in, so let’s deal with a few reminders and then let’s talk a little bit about stress while making games –

Formal Dinner: Dress Code?
We’ve been giving confusing signals in the past, and thanks to a few of you asking direct questions this morning I’d like clarify the dress code for everyone who attends the Formal Dinner on May 2:
* we’d appreciate dresses for women;
* we’d appreciate jackets and shirts (ties are optional) for men.
Ideally, the collective look will be somewhere between a friendly Hollywood funeral and a board meeting dedicated to the underperformance of Snap Inc..
Speaking of dinners...
Here’s an article about Speed Dating With Shanghai’s Social Elites. The editors think that it’s elitist when one must have at least a master’s degree to attend, but how about our little Summit… Not only must you dig the hard law (and not break your teeth in the process) – you must also be familiar with the videogames culture. Talk about exclusivity! All your base are belong to us.
Epic Games, Steam, GOG on Twitter
As I was looking for some information this morning, I had to look up the Twitter accounts of all these platforms. Collectively, they represent a tonne of untapped potential (and a big sign “WE GAVE UP ON OUR SOCIAL MEDIA”):
Epic Games is with 2.9M followers and regularly gets less than 500 likes for its retweets and posts.
Steam is with 5M followers and oftentimes scores even fewer engagements with its automated posts, an amazing feat to achieve.
GOG is with 307K and scores 100-200 likes per post.
I’m sure that communications people at each of these platforms have a number of explanations for their ice-cold performances, but thankfully we don’t need to bother reading those as Discord’s account gives a stark example of what’s possible if your comm team doesn’t have its head up their, umm, sleeve: with 1/5 of Steam’s followers and less than 1/3 of Epic’s, their engagement rate on Twitter is… roughly 50 times higher than Steam’s/Epic’s! That’s anywhere between 5,000 and 85,000 likes per tweet.
First sales numbers from Epic Games Store
Epic Games
Congratulations to Saber Interactive on selling over 250,000 units of World War Z so far on the Epic Games store!

WWZ, Satisfactory, Anno 1800, Metro Exodus, Tom Clancy's The Division 2 and so many more games made this a record weekend for Epic Games store.
Epic Games Store – directed by the same person who earlier demanded that Steam make available more of its user and sales data – is so transparent that up until now, we have no idea about the performance of any of its products.
The tweet above represents the first circumvent admission of some sort of a number: first, Saber/Focus reported that they are “thankful to reach over 1 million players” in their “first launch week” (which sounds like a way to get a number without tying it to any platform or, moreover, event actual sales); then Epic Games added the number – “selling over 250,000 units… so far”.
What does this mean? I have no idea. And without CCU stats and user reviews, we can’t even compare Steam vs Epic like we can compare Steam vs WeGame. Ironically, “more competition” so far has resulted in having less data. Here’s hoping that this will change later in 2019.
Epic... again?
Polygon posted an article that talks about stress of the development team at Epic Games that ensures the continued great performance of Fortnite.
Imagine working so hard on a game that you completely burn out, and cannot think about videogames for 3 years… even though your game is wildly successful?
Well, here’s the thing: the example above has absolutely nothing do with Epic Games. It actually comes from the Spelunky Showlike podcast with Justin Ma over at Subset Games, the developers who shipped an incredibly successful game called FTL and then spent 6 years developing another hit (Into the Breach), and I just wanted to retell it here to get everyone real about the industry we work in.
The basic truth is that creative breakthroughs mostly happen over the edge of “normal”, and most games designers and producers who succeeded in creating amazing products did so at a pretty high personal cost.
I started reading Polygon’s material expecting a horror story or two about Epic’s development side, having previously read about the mess that BioWare has become – but the more I read, the more I thought that Epic’s actually doing a great job with managing their explosive growth.
I read people refer to the team spirit, I read people refer to a great bonus system and I read people refer to an increasing focus on customer support: what this means, is that Epic is pretty much aware of the pressures of their transition from a moderately successful engine purveyor to a wildly successful GaaS operator, and that the company is handling is as well – or better – as most of their industry peers would.
Sadly, it seems like Polygon was more interested in framing the story other than discovering the reality. The whole article is here (but save your time, really).
Summit: Chatham House Rule
Important reminder to all new attendees: discussions and presentations at the Summit fall under the Chatham House Rule –
When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.
No audio or video recording is allowed, and no media is invited or briefed on any of the topics.
Summit: How to Request a Deck?
Each year we get about a hundred of emails asking for a specific deck that was shown at the event. The thing is, though, that some of those decks are so ad hoc as not to be fit for sharing.
Our approach is as follows:
If there’s a deck, then we will ask the presenter if (A) we can share it with anyone who asks; (B) we cannot share it with anybody; or © we can put the requesting person in touch with the presenter over the email, and leave it to their mutual discretion.
If you’re a presenter, please make sure to mark one of these options for us. We will not share anything without getting your explicit permission. If you’re an attendee looking to get a deck or two, please consider approaching the presenter right at the event and asking for it – besides scoring a direct contact, you may also have a higher chance of successful procurement.
Summit 2020 Dates
You may think that we’re really stressed about the upcoming 2019 event, but in reality we’re pretty chill: at least 112 of you return to Vilnius for the second time or more and by now we know so many wonderful people among you, that to us it feels like one big birthday party coming up shortly.
What else is coming up shortly: 2020. Yes, time flies, and so we’re getting ourselves organised for the next year already.
We just booked the dates for the 6th Summit with the Kempinski and we’re happy to share these with you:
April 29, 2020 – Legal Challenge 2020 Finals + Reception Dinner
April 30, 2020 – Summit, Day 1 + Formal Dinner
May 01, 2020 – Summit, Day 2 + Informal Dinner
But before then, we’ll see you in Vilnius next week.

Safe travels!
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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. Malunu 6B-8, Vilnius, LT-01200, Lithuania