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‘At the heart of pop culture’: gamescom shines a spotlight on the cultural importance of games

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‘At the heart of pop culture’: gamescom shines a spotlight on the cultural importance of games
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Games are more than just the most successful entertainment medium of our time – they have also established themselves at the very heart of popular culture, with other media increasingly taking their cue from games. Whereas in the past one might expect a film to be made from a popular book, now people are writing books based on games, designing fashion inspired by games – even creating dances influenced by games. In other words, anyone who can wow the games community today will be making their mark on the entire world tomorrow. The theme of this year’s gamescom – ‘Games: at the heart of pop culture’ – shines a spotlight on games’ cultural relevance. It is not only popular culture that is being shaped by games. Other areas – from digital companies and food retailers to car manufacturers – are devoting ever more attention to games and their communities. As a result, the cultural significance of computer and video games is playing a growing role in spurring innovation and economic growth.

‘Games have long since become established as a key driving force in popular culture: streaming services are more and more frequently turning to games brands as the basis for new series and films, books based on familiar games fill entire shelves in book stores, and fashion brands are producing clothing that either goes with the games or is actually present in the games themselves. All of this goes to show that games are a major force shaping our age,’ said Felix Falk, Managing Director of game – the German Games Industry Association.

Trend: ‘The next generation of mobile gaming’

Smartphones have established themselves worldwide as one of the most successful games platforms. Today’s devices are so good that they are even suitable for more complex games. In addition, more and more familiar game series have released their own mobile versions, allowing them to reach millions of additional players. And with the assistance of cloud gaming, people can seamlessly continue playing their favourite PC and console games on their smartphones when they are on the go. Greater performance and more demanding games for mobile devices are also driving the growing mobile esports trend. Teams and solo players are increasingly taking part in games competitions using their smartphones. The trend, which had previously witnessed its greatest success in Asia, has now established itself in the rest of the world.

Trend: ‘Healthy through games’

Even before the coronavirus struck, many people were using games to keep fit in their own living rooms. Now computer and video games are increasingly being used as a means of improving mental health as well. In fact, a new genre known as wholesome games has come into being that is focused on games whose more laid-back mode of play helps people to relax and unwind from their daily lives. In addition, computer and video games are seeing ever more frequent use within the context of therapy, such as helping patients cope with pain, alleviating the effects of dementia, and supporting children with ADHD.

Numerous major political figures to visit gamescom

gamescom has become one of the most important platforms for political dialogue on digital issues, and with the gamescom congress, the political opening and the Debatt(l)e Royale, the trade fair offers multiple events for these discussions. This year’s gamescom will once again be welcoming numerous top political figures: right from the start of the fair on Wednesday, various officials, including Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck and Hendrik Wüst, Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia, will take part in the political opening and the official tour. Starting at 10:30 a.m. on gamescom Thursday, the gamescom congress will kick off with its Debatt(l)e Royale panel talk. Here, Kevin Kühnert (SPD), Mario Czaja (CDU), Emily Büning (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and Bijan Djir-Sarai (FDP) will be discussing current issues and the best digital and games policies for Germany. On gamescom Friday, Claudia Roth, Minister of State and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, will be visiting the world’s biggest event for computer and video games to tour the various event areas and discover the latest trends.

 

Gaming

Games Lift 2024: These five developer teams will receive the Hamburg incubator funding

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Games Lift 2024: These five developer teams will receive the Hamburg incubator funding
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Five teams have won over the Games Lift awarding committee with their game projects. On September 9, the Games Lift Incubator will start for them as a unique support program in Germany. Included is a one-year workshop and mentoring program with international industry experts and 15,000 euros in financial support, as well as room for collaboration and exchange with the other participating teams. More than 30 experts in game design, product development, pitching, business development, press relations and marketing from the Games Lift network will share their experience with the teams to give their projects a professional start. Starting this year, the program also offers participating teams a joint trip to an international industry event. The Games Lift Incubator is organized and implemented by Gamecity Hamburg on behalf of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

A total of 21 teams and solo developers applied for the fourth Games Lift Incubator. The decision for the five participating teams was made by the awarding committee, consisting of Kristin von der Wense (Publishing Producer Daedalic Entertainment), Ole Schaper (Managing Director The Sandbox Hamburg (Sviper GmbH)), Heiko Gogolin (Managing Director Rocket Beans Entertainment) and Tobias Graff (Co-Founder, Programmer and CEO Mooneye Studios).

Margarete Schneider, Project Manager at Gamecity Hamburg, on the award committee’s decision: “We are delighted with the large number of applications for our incubator and the high standard of the pitch decks submitted once again. It is particularly pleasing that we are receiving more applications from outside Hamburg, who see the city as an attractive location for starting a new business. The Games Lift Incubator provides gaming start-ups with comprehensive starting support and enables them to forge connections in Hamburg’s diverse games scene.

The five winner projects and teams for Games Lift Incubator 2024:

  • ForeFeathers by Team Honeybeak
  • Frisia – Cozy Villages by Rouven Cabanis
  • Light of Atlantis by Duck ‘n’ Run Games
  • Pubcrawler by Triflgard
  • Tiny Garden by Tales from the Garden

ForeFeathers by Team Honeybeak is a 3D Puzzle-Platformer where players slip into the role of a penguin, who explores the sky-high ruins of an ancient civilization of birds. Traversing the flying islands with the ancient powers of flight, solving tricky puzzles and keeping the penguin’s friends away from trouble are some main aspects of the game.

In Frisia – Cozy Villages by Rouven Cabanis the player gains control over an uninhabited Northsea island and is tasked with building a functional, yet cozy and beautiful little town. Inspired by the frisian architecture of the Dutch and German Northsea coast, Frisia aims to create a cozy gameplay experience in harmony with simple town-building and strategy game mechanics.

Light of Atlantis by Duck ‘n’ Run Games is a 2D puzzle metroidvania in which players take on the roles of various robots with individual abilities to explore the sunken ruins of Atlantis. By draining and releasing water into the various rooms, the robots shape their environment and improve their chances against different enemies. Light of Atlantis was part of the Gamecity Hamburg prototype funding in 2023 and received in the same year the German Computer Game Award (Deutscher Computerspielpreis) in the category “Best Prototype”.

Pubcrawler by Triflgard is a co-op PC game in which up to four players need to work as a team, to navigate a giant, mechanic, wandering pub through an apocalyptic wasteland. In the process, they must complete a variety of challenging tasks that can only be mastered as a team. Working together efficiently, pleasing the different guests and keeping a cool head even when the giant pubcrawler faces technical issues are the key to a successful journey.

In Tiny Garden by Tales from the Garden players slip into the role of a deity who fills a deserted planet with life. Together with their servants, a group of cute leaf creatures that must be protected from evil spirits, they plant a constantly growing garden. As soon as the garden is fully grown, the evil spirits can be soothed and the player can move on to the next planet in help.

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Gaming

MainStreaming Announces Appointment of Nicola Micali as Chief Customer Officer

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MainStreaming, an iMDP INTELLIGENT MEDIA DELIVERY COMPANY, which is redefining the CDN market with its innovative Edge Network services, announced the appointment of Nicola Micali as its new Chief Customer Officer (CCO).

With a track record of improving processes and efficiency and creating go-to-market strategies, Harvard alumnus and former Akamaite, Nicola Micali joins MainStreaming with the goal of solidifying a customer-centric organisation that prioritises long-term relationships, customer experience (CX) and satisfaction, ensuring MainStreaming’s continued business growth and market leadership.

Nicola brings a wide range of professional experience as a Leader of Customer Success & Professional Services at Akamai for over 10 years, where he was responsible for services and overall revenue. He developed the services strategy for the Americas’ media & entertainment, gaming and partners verticals exceeding all revenue targets year after year. Nicola’s expertise in leading technical customer-facing teams has resulted in higher customer satisfaction and successful worldwide streaming events.

With a Master’s degree in Business Administration and Management from Harvard, Micali’s educational background further enhances his capability to lead and innovate in the Edge video technology sector. As Nicola steps in as CCO, he will play a pivotal role in guiding the entire customer lifecycle journey. His expertise in customer success positions him perfectly to lead MainStreaming’s efforts in providing world-class service to a global clientele.

MainStreaming’s CEO, Antonio G. Corrado, said: “QoS for our customers and QoE for end users are at the core of our streaming business. It is the best proxy for customer satisfaction for us. We are happy to welcome Nicola Micali, who demonstrates his expertise in customer success. Together, we are set to strengthen our commitment to being a customer satisfaction-oriented company, leveraging our world-class services directed to broadcast-quality standards that are requested by industry players.”

MainStreaming’s video delivery technology is meticulously developed in-house, offered as managed private Edge Network to help broadcasters, OTT TVs and content owners overcome the toughest challenges of live streaming at scale, addressing the limitations of classic CDN and enabling new application solutions on the Edge.

“I am honored to join a team that is on a mission to write a new chapter in video streaming delivery, setting new standards, and paving the way for the future of TV. I am ready to contribute to MainStreaming’s innovative approach and customer-centric philosophy. Together, we are set to revolutionize how the streaming industry approaches Edge Network architecture for live streaming, emphasizing a more distributed, ultra-low-latency, energy-efficient, and globally scalable design,” Nicola Micali said.

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Gaming

Illuvium: Fastest Gaming Studio in History?

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Mark your calendars: Illuvium’s triple-title debut is set for the 25th of July, full of endless exploration, material harvesting, and conquest. With the studio boasting world wide talent, such as Jaco Herbst – previously Blizzard Entertainment, and Kostiantyn Bondar – previously Ubisoft, Samsung, and Gunzilla Games, Illuvium is guaranteed to cater to a wide audience with its various mechanics and gameplay across one singular universe offering three separate games.

Key Links:

– Epic Store Page
– Official Release Date Trailer
– Website
– Twitter

Most gaming studios take years to build their debut title; Illuvium, a non-existent studio four years ago, is on the cusp of releasing three interconnected gaming titles developed simultaneously. Founded by three brothers from Sydney, Australia, the studio quickly grew to over 250 people, boasting talent from Ubisoft, Activision, CD Project Red, and many other AAA studios. The studio is on a mission to develop the fastest AAA gaming universe in history. Armed with over USD 100 million in funding and 1 million eager fans, the universe opens on the 25th of this month.

Kieran Warwick, CEO of Illuvium, reflects on this journey, “Our original intention was to build one title, but being brothers and highly competitive, we couldn’t agree on the genre and ended up building three games in different genres. We’ve probably wiped a collective 30 years off our lifespan, so we hope it’s worth it.”

Beyond being a single game, Illuvium is part of an expansive ecosystem, where in-game progress and items carry over into the studio’s other games, Illuvium: Arena and Illuvium: Zero. This interconnected universe allows for a more rewarding and beginner friendly experience, where nothing players earn or learn goes to waste, and enhances gameplay with each new adventure.

Illuvium: Overworld

This is not the paradise promised.

Explore a breathtaking alien world, gathering vital resources to repair a stranded ship. Hunt and capture magnificent creatures known as Illuvials, harnessing their reality-bending powers. As you venture across diverse and perilous landscapes, uncover the mysteries of this enigmatic planet—and your own forgotten past.

With a companion drone at your side, you’ll brave harsh environments, craft advanced gear, and forge bonds with the Illuvials you encounter. But survival is just the beginning. Every discovery brings new questions: What secrets does this world hold? Why did your ship really crash here? And what role will you play in shaping destiny?

In Illuvium, your choices ripple across an entire ecosystem of gameplay. Traverse seven stunning regions teeming with otherworldly flora and fauna. Encounter Illuvials, mythical creatures that defy reality, and engage in heart-pounding battles to build your collection. Harvest exotic resources to craft essential tools and equipment for survival. Jump from region to region through arcane gateways, your world limited to these scattered, habitable zones—piece together the fragments of an expanding narrative hidden within this dying alien landscape.

Illuvium: Arena and Illuvium: Zero

So, what are Illuvium: Arena and Illuvium: Zero, and how are these connected with Illuvium: Overworld?

Illuvium: Arena allows you to bring your captured Illuvials and showcase your tactical prowess. Begin by honing your skills in the Survival arena, and when ready, enter our multiplayer game modes featuring ranked, casual, and custom matches. With a deep and strategic combat system, you can train your Illuvials to gain an edge in competitive multiplayer battles and tournaments. Customisable battle tactics and team formations add layers of strategy, while the upcoming 8-player round-robin auto-battler will provide a fresh and exciting challenge. Whether engaging in PvE Survival Mode against AI or competing in PvP with ranked, casual, and custom matches, every battle will test your tactical skills.

Illuvium: Zero: A mobile city-building game combining resource management and strategic growth. In Zero, you play as a reconnaissance drone jettisoned from the ship before impact, tasked with developing your land, extracting valuable resources, and managing your operations to thrive in the Illuvium economy. Your mission is to reconnect with the crew and provide them with the fuel they need. The game integrates seamlessly with the broader Illuvium economy, supporting your adventures in Overworld and Arena. Strategic planning will be crucial as you optimise resource extraction and engage in collaborative and competitive interactions with other players. Available across PC, Mac, and Android, players can grow their digital industrial complex on the go.

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