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Summit – Issue #46

With 12 days left until the Summit, Alma's and my inboxes are on fire. But this will not prevent me f
Games Industry Law Summit
Summit – Issue #46
By Sergei Klimov • Issue #46 • View online
With 12 days left until the Summit, Alma’s and my inboxes are on fire. But this will not prevent me from chasing down every single speaker scheduled to talk at the event right after the Easter!!
Today’s issue is going to be a mix of housekeeping chores, reminders and industry updates. If you’re here just for the industry news, then feel free to scroll down the first part. Let’s go, then –

When you land in Vilnius
If you or your PA have sent your flight details to Alma already, then we have a team waiting for you at the airport. Titas (whom you may already know from 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) will be there with Joris and Ula to direct you to the taxi that’s booked specifically for you. Please look for a standee with the Summit’s red wolf logo; the airport team wears the red CREW t-shirts, just like on the photo above.
This year's taxis: A2B
As in 2018, this year for transportation needs we work with A2B whose cars are bright green. These are the cars that will be picking you up at the airport on arrival and picking you up from the venue/your hotel for your departure flights. The taxis are complimentary, please do not pay or tip.
If your departure is in the afternoon of Friday, May 3, then we might occasionally have a tight situation (which happened twice last year) with a taxi getting delayed. Should this happen, please find Alma in the lobby and we’ll have this solved. A number of people on the ops team of the Summit will have their personal cars parked around the venue and they’ll be on standby on in case of a possible traffic emergency.
Fast Track passes
Complimentary Fast Track passes for VNO, 2019 edition
Complimentary Fast Track passes for VNO, 2019 edition
Every attendee who leaves through the VNO (Vilnius International) airport gets a complimentary Fast Track pass for the way out. The Fast Track security line is on the left-hand side as you face the security area. You will need to scan your QR code to open the gates. If this year you travel to Vilnius with +1, then we also have you covered and will be happy to provide an extra pass for free.
If you have to skip the dinner on May 3...
Every year we have an informal closing dinner on the last day of the event
Every year we have an informal closing dinner on the last day of the event
Some of the attendees this year (about 25% as of now) leave on late afternoon flights on May 3. The informal closing dinner on May 3 starts 18:15, so if your flight is earlier than 20:30 – then you will miss it (May 3 being a Friday, we insist on sending people off to the airport 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure).
If you have to skip the dinner on May 3, we have a special takeaway box for you. The options are meat (veal) or vegetarian (mozzarella) and the box will contain a freshly made wrap, some fruits, some nuts and either extra veggies or a pastry. These boxes are complimentary.
If you’re a very organised person, please let Alma know your preference (veal/mozzarella). Otherwise you can still grab the food box of your preference on your way out at Kempinski’s lobby, however we’re making all of the unconfirmed boxes vegetarian to be safe.
Morning Legal Run on May 2
The custom tech running shirts have arrived, and they're amazing.
The custom tech running shirts have arrived, and they're amazing.
As of today, 45 lawyers signed up to run the Morning Legal Run on the morning of May 2. If you requested a shirt and confirmed your size before we ordered the shirts, then you’re getting a (complimentary) tech shirt delivered to your hotel room on the day of your check-in.
This year's shirt features some advanced poetry as well as a few nice logos.
This year's shirt features some advanced poetry as well as a few nice logos.
The Morning Run itself will happen in the format of a relay race in teams of 5. Karolis, the coach, created a specific track for this event, which I tested last night – and which we agreed to change, completely, because he’s been thinking more of Ironman-lite sort of thing and I was thinking more of let’s-have-some-fun sort of thing.
As of today, the relay race is set in the Bernardinu Park, on a circular route of 775 meters. After the warmup run up and down the Three Cross Hill, each team will run 1, 1, 1, 1 and 2 rounds to complete the race, so make sure that you assign your strongest runner to the last round (which is double). The assignment to teams will happen after the warmup run by the coach, with the goal of balancing teams between themselves.
Each runner gets a wrist band (each of the 9 teams has a unique colour). The track will be marked with 250 football training cones. There is no physical item to transfer between the runners at the time of change, but we do require a high-five to happen to validate the transfer (if the high-five is missing, the team gets a +30 sec penalty time).
The start of each team is split by 20 seconds from the previous team: this is intentional so that we don’t have folks competing head to head early on.
We've got real medals (in sets of 5) for the teams that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
We've got real medals (in sets of 5) for the teams that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
We start on May 2 at 06:45 from the Kempinski. The hotel will prepare some power shots ahead of that time and make these available for you at the lobby. The hotel will also provide a water table for everyone at the end of the race.
Finally, we prepared some really nice medals for the top-3 teams (gold, silver and bronze). The names of the winning teams will be announced – and the medals will be awarded – during the Legal Challenge Award Ceremony in the afternoon of May 2. And, finally finally, there will be a photographer shooting the race, so make sure you do your best in the last 50 meters as you cross the finishing line!
Update: Japan
Central row: Arata Nomoto, Roman Zanin & Vanessa Pareja Lerner (Summit 2018)
Central row: Arata Nomoto, Roman Zanin & Vanessa Pareja Lerner (Summit 2018)
We’re excited to announce one more regional update: Arata Nomoto, a partner at City-Yuwa Partners in Tokyo, will talk about legal developments in Japan that are relevant to the games industry at 11:30 on May 2.
Cross-regional "fireside chat"
Here's Michael Boughey introducing Australia (Summit 2018)
Here's Michael Boughey introducing Australia (Summit 2018)
After some deliberation, we decided to put together a few fine lawyers for a “fireside chat” that would touch upon the most important legal news out of their home regions. That chat is now scheduled to start at 15:30 on May 3 and will feature Michael Boughey (HWL Ebsworth, Australia), Anastasia Chuvaeva (Wargaming, Ukraine), Vladislav Arkhipov (Dentons, Russia), Przemysław Walasek (Taylor Wessing, Poland) and Matúš Tutko (Deloitte Legal, Czech Republic).
As a reminder, the whole updated agenda is HERE.
And now, let’s talk about some industry updates –
Legal Challenge semifinals, finals – judges
If you participate, or plan to attend, this year’s semifinals and/or finals of the Legal Challenge, you’ll be pleased to know that the judge panels have been set as follows:
– – – – – – SEMIFINALS – – –
(A) QGD (PL) vs Cosmic Finns (FIN)
Paul Gardner (UK) presiding, with Andrea Dufaure (FR) and Vanessa Pareja Lerner (BR).
(B) Queen Mary 1 (CY/BE/FR) vs Skelligent Arguments (UK)
Jennifer Stanley (US) presiding, with Roman Zanin (CY) and Emi Rong Zhao (CN).
– – – – – – – – – FINALS – – –
Karin Pagnanelli (US) presiding, with Katya Nemova (LT), Yiannis Karamanolis (CY), Andreas Lober (DE) and Ionut Lupsa (RO).
Mainstream business media & games industry
Everything about this article on Bloomberg Wealth is amazing: from seeing Dmitry and Igor Bukhman called “Russian Gamer Brothers”, to seeing them characterised as “Newest Hidden Billionaires”. But, of course, an article that’s called “Russian Gamer Brothers are the Newest Hidden Billionaires” probably gets more clicks than an article called “After 18 years in business, 1,100-strong Playrix is in Top-10 on the mobile platforms”.
If you’re not bothered by the sensationalist layout –
– then you can read the whole piece here.
As a side note, it’s yet another story of Russian-born games industry entrepreneurs moving out of country: from the creator of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov, who moved to Seattle; to the founder of Nival (Blitzkrieg/HoMM3/etc.) who moved to Limassol; to the founder of Game Insight who moved ti Vilnius; and to the founders of ZeptoLab (Cut the Rope) who moved to Barcelona.
In general, it seems like for the founders of successful games studios in the RU/UA/BY region, there’s a security/quality of life threshold at around $50M or thereabouts – the founders of Wargaming (World of Tanks, etc.) swapped Minsk for Nicosia, and the founders of 4A Games (the Metro series) swapped Kiev for Valetta, too. On contrast, all of the successful games industry founders out of Poland still remain in Poland – thank god for the EU, if you ask me.
A Cantonese Opera about Trump
If you haven’t seen it before, here is a short video from BBC that describes the Cantonese all-singing opera about Trump. I thought I’ll link it here before we move to the next news item.
Capitalists and ropes
The photo above is from “The Hunt” – a five-minute ad by Leica, the German manufacturer of lenses and cameras, which I planned to link in this newsletter. Unfortunately, it has since then been taken down by Leica in a move to appease the authorities in China (the same country that currently runs an opera about the current president of the US, just to make it clear).
South China Morning Post has this story on the subject, and I have two thoughts to share:
1. That a big German corporation (Leica) and their fancy international ad agency (Saatchi Saatchi) are able to produce – by accident! – a film that features the Tiananmen Square massacre at the same time as Leica and Huawei (a patriotic Chinese company) roll out a new mobile phone around the globe, speaks volumes about the lack of understanding the cultural context among the teams at these organisations.
I could understand a deliberate act, a provocation, but seeing Leica take down their own film and issue a lame “we didn’t really endorse this film that features our logo prominently” explanation is telling of a screw-up.
2. That 100+ year old company Leica, with its 1,600 employees, would redact itself globally based on the reaction from the Chinese government is indicative of the truth of the old saying about capitalists fighting with each other over the contract to supply the rope on which they will be hanged (a discussion on the origins of this saying is here).
Personally, I’m not a Chinese citizen and while I respect and even support certain Chinese rules (e.g. not making jokes about comrade Xi in video games and, moreover, not making hidden jokes), I’m fine with different people having different takes on certain subjects. California recently had a monument dedicated to the massacre at Tiananmen Square set up, and just yesterday a monument to Liu Xiaobo got unveiled in Prague.
I don’t think I’ll choose to crusade against the Communist Party of China with the wealth of my multibillion-dollar company. But if my studio strongly felt against something – for example, the irreparable damage caused by the Chinese clam-boats to the southern sea, or the similarly horrible disaster caused by Russia’s oil companies spilling oil in the taiga, – I’d be ready to take a stand and lose some revenue (having said that, though, I’m really lousy at capitalism, as evidenced by the Summit remaining a not-for-profit event after all these years).
996 revisited
TechCrunch has another article on China’s culture of 996 and some commentators quoted Jack Ma as saying “To this day, I’m definitely working 12127, let alone 996”.
Having seen my own share of successful, rich people get divorced and lose contact with their kids because they couldn’t escape the idea of being a slave to their own (mindless) corporation, I’m not with Jack on the subject.
In general, the “let’s crunch harder” approach seems to fail miserably in the games industry – if you haven’t read Jason Schreier’s article “How BioWare’s Anthem Went Wrong”, here’s the link.
Media & games industry, part II
What you can see above is yet another click-bait title of a recent article. In this case, it’s about Tencent’s Honor of Kings which seems to undergo a shift in its in-game demographics. Further reading, however, confirms that having minors drop out of the game doesn’t really seem to affect the revenue much, and the game will still bring in a couple of billions of dollars this year (article: here).
Compliance in China
Jacky Wong
So Apple removed a 20-year old Cantopop song that likely very few ppl will listen to nowadays, because it may have some cryptic reference to the Tiananmen massacre

and people think Chinese companies will be able to not comply with Beijing? https://t.co/oRyMiUedJm
TL;DR – Apple removed an old song that may have had vague references to the massacre at Tiananmen Square, so if you think that your games company can somehow “circumvent” the requirements in China… think again!
IMHO, there’s only two ways of being serious about China: either you set the market as one of your priorities, and then you play by the book; or you want to do something else (carry a political agenda, add in-game jokes, etc.) and then you stay away from the market, so as not only not to drive mad the local users, but also not to inconvenience your local business partners.
Iraq bans PUBG, Fortnite
The parliament has voted, as reported here. Whatever.
EGS exclusives, Steam review bombs
As discussed earlier in this newsletter, 2K activated a “review bomb” defence of Borderlands 2 when users started to give the game negative ratings following the news of BL3 going exclusive with Epic Games Store for 6 months. The “review bomb mode” lasted 13 days and didn’t change much in the community.
As described by a number of people in the industry, the risk of events like these is not really in seeing platform A win over platform B, but in seeing users go back to pirating the software, as summarised in this recent review on BL2 (the “I’ll most likely pirate” part):
Elsewhere, people seem to have calmed down in the review section of Steam’s store page for Metro: Exodus, which currently stands at an impressive 88% positive. Though, of course, where would we be without our friends in China, who really know how to be critical while writing a positive review (“永远抵制EPIC”, right).
The new Nordeus HQ is super nice!
Finally, some good news to wrap up this issue: Nordeus, the 9-year old Belgrade-based developer of Top Eleven, moved to their new HQ, and it’s super nice!
The studio is “only” 170 people (which generally is too small to build a custom office) and they already had one of the best games industry offices that I’ve seen so far.
I’ve been to a number of successful games companies in my days, from CD Projekt RED to Valve to Wargaming and to TaleWorlds, but none of them have something that Nordeus now has, and this just highlights how internationally competitive the studio is. Watch the short video below and measure your own reaction (hint: they have a superb kids playground; if I’d be a developer looking for a job, this little detail would lock me down).
Welcome to the new Nordeus HQ!
Welcome to the new Nordeus HQ!

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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