Summit - Issue #52





Games Industry Law Summit
Summit - Issue #52
By Sergei Klimov • Issue #52 • View online
Good morning, peoples!
Current registration count for 2020: 60 attendees, including quite a few new faces. Later this week we’ll set up the list of participants on the event’s web site, as usual, which will be updated once a week (we’re currently trying to find a way to add “Show me people from country X” and “Show me people form company Y” features there).
While there’s no pressure to confirm your participation as soon as possible, one thing that you may want to keep in mind is that all the Summit hotels are going to be sold out by end of January for sure, so if you’re looking at getting a special-rate room at the Kempinski or at PACAI, then you might want to book those before they’re sold out – just drop Alma a quick note and she’ll take it from there.
And now some industry news –>

MTJG Frankfurt – October 17
As the autumn approaches, Gaetano Dimita starts to feel restless in London and packs his bags for the road. A games industry legal event with an intuitive title of More Than Just a Game – On the Road – Frankfurt II, is set for October 17. The program is here. You’ll meet people from Nintendo and Allen & Overy, among others; and this would not be a truly German event if you wouldn’t have people with really impressive job titles, like “Vorsitzender – Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz”.
Admission is free, for registration please navigate here.
MTJG Milan – November 22
If the Frankfurt event doesn’t fit your travel schedule, how about Italy? On November 22, More Than Just a Game comes to Milan. In a while, details will become available here, and if you’re coming then make sure to drop a line to Andrea Rizzi for a cup of coffee on location.
GameRome 2019 – November 13
Speaking of Italy, there’s a games event in Rome set for mid November: GameRome 2019. It used to be small-ish (as I recall), seems to have grown in the last year. The list of speakers is available here. Since the days of Milia, which used to have a games section and happened every year in the Cannes in February, I do miss games conferences that happen in beautiful locations with great food and ambiance.
Games Industry & Unions
Nathan J Robinson
Kickstarter's CEO has confirmed that the company is anti-union and will remain so. They will continue to fight against unionization and stand by the firings. His message to pro-union @kickstarter users is: drop dead, we don't need you.
Perhaps you’ve been following the discussions around Kickstarter’s anti-union stance, and perhaps you haven’t. When speaking of “unions”, people from the US have different experience than those from Europe or, say, Russia and China.
My own experience at the E3 has been that we’ve not been allowed to carry our games hardware as we were supposed to hire someone from the union that operated the Convention Center (we did it anyway), while my friends couldn’t vacuum their booth for the same reason (and so had to pay hundreds of dollars for someone from the union to come and do it for them).
Compared to the relative freedom at Gamescom where you can do pretty much anything short of operating a hotel out of your exhibition booth, the Los Angeles experience was definitely on the weird side. But then, USA is known for being a country of taking things to an absurd level, just think of their insulin prices (Italy: $19/month; USA: $360/month).
Either way, “unions” are on the way to becoming a topic about which any global games company with an office in the US needs to have a policy about, so perhaps we should think about a panel on this during the upcoming Summit, to share experience from different regions?
Fortnite & Nintendo at Helsinki's Library
Tero Kuittinen
The massive new Helsinki Library dominates the city center - a chilly rebuke for the Age of Trump, as well as astonishingly ambitious reimagining of what a library can and should be.
From Nintendo Niche to Fortnite Room, Helsinki’s new library doesn’t shy away from the modern culture. You can check Tero’s tweeter thread above, or read about it in this article from The Economist – every time I read stories like these, I immediately think of their impact on the city’s increasing appeal to international talent that may consider to move to work at one of the local studios. Go, Helsinki, go!
NetEase to bring TaleWorlds's M&B2 to China
In case you’ve missed the news, Ankara-based TaleWorlds signed with NetEase to bring their upcoming Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord – one of the most wishlisted games on Steam – to China.
Also, NetEase to launch its second pig farm
Speaking of NetEase, did you know that the company also owns a subsidiary that raises pigs, using organic feed and smart toys? I didn’t, but now I do, thanks to this article.
Steam releases a KFC ad app
On one hand, Valve has been pretty open about the fact that they don’t like ads (e.g. this piece from 2015). On another, they just spent their own money to host and serve 500,000+ customers with an adware product packaged as a “dating sim” and produced by KFC to promote their fast food chain’s mascot.
No matter how I look at this case, I cannot find a good reason for why Valve would think that occupying the time of its users with a dead-end ad app would be a good idea (even though user reviews for this ad app are very positive).
Coca Cola + Blizzard
Speaking of ads and games, Coca Cola and Blizzard are releasing a limited edition of Sprite (the drink) in Russia and Belarus that bears game characters on the outside, and yields customers up to 3 loot boxes that unlock when customers photograph and then submit a proof of purchase. I’m not sure who pays whom in this case, except that managing thousands of submitted photographs is likely to be a nightmare.
Uber vs Didi
Competition in China can get fierce, as the excerpt above illustrates. This is from “Super Pumped”, a recent book about Uber. It’s just another example of how normal games industry really is, compared to some of the other high-tech areas: we mostly compete by the quality of our content and the service that we provide to our users.
For sure, occasionally a games company would clone another company’s mobile game, or have an argument about a licensing deal, but I haven’t really heard of, say, Ubisoft planting spies with CD Projekt RED or Epic Games sabotaging the CDN of Valve. I hope it stays that way, as free of the problems of Silicon Valley as it is free of the problems of Hollywood.
The yakuza review Yakuza 3
Finally, the last link of the day is this review of Yakuza 3 game by the actual yakuza guys:
“Kiryu is the way yakuza used to be. We kept the streets clean. People liked us. We didn’t bother ordinary citizens. We respected our bosses. Now, guys like that only exist in video games.”
Full article here.
= Have a great week! =
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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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