Q&A: MEGAMIGS – the biggest industry event in Canada

MEGAMIGS is the biggest industry event for game developers over in Canada, and has been for over 15 years. It’s going back to being an in-person meet up this year, and as developers around the world pack up their suitcases and get ready to enjoy their time at the show, Vince Pavey sat down with Émilien Roscanu from La Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec to find out all about the upcoming 2022 event.

What is the focus of the MEGAMIGS event?

MEGAMIGS is Canada’s number one B2B2C event. It aims to bring together industry professionals as well as the public in the charming and welcoming environment that is the city of Montreal, Quebec. The focus is to be an event that is of a more human scale than big conventions, where you can reach and meet with everyone present, and you don’t have to stand in line to get your name out there. What you see is what you get: an event that is not only great for business, but that is also a great showcase opportunity for getting your project out there.

Why is the games industry becoming increasingly smitten with Quebec?

Quebec is the third largest video game hub in the world, and it is renowned around the world as a creativity powerhouse with a tax friendly environment. Our talents are the heart of our industry, and we have a strong ecosystem that helps circulate talent around triple-A studios and indie startups, and anywhere in between. This ecosystem of nearly 300 studios is closely held together by camaraderie and a wish to help the next generation of game developers. MEGAMIGS is organised by La Guilde du jeu vidéo du Québec, Quebec’s Game Developers Association, who regroups and represents over 300 video game companies from around the province.

How did the event come together? Tell us about the history of the show.

Initially, MEGAMIGS was two separate events. The Montreal International Gaming Summit (MIGS) started in 2004 and brought our international community together. Then came the Montreal Expo Gaming Arcade (MEGA) in 2017, a B2B focused event for the general public. They both came together in 2019 to form what is today known as MEGAMIGS.

What were the most notable things to happen during previous years of MEGAMIGS?

Since this form of MEGAMIGS is quite new, and it has had to hold two of its events online in the last couple of years, I would say that the strongest aspect of MEGAMIGS is that it brings people together in such a way that everyone that comes once always wants to come back to the next show.

How has MEGAMIGS changed this year?

MEGAMIGS is coming back fully in-person after a two year virtual parenthesis. We are glad to welcome back the whole gaming community and all the developers from around the world to come and meet with the local and international talent.

What highlights can we expect at the 2022 MEGAMIGS show?

The highlights of the 2022 show will be the presence of several gaming developers from around the world. We expect around 4000 business visitors to attend the B2B conferences, talks and hold meetings and networking events. Our guest speakers include Daniel Dociu (NCSoft), Johan Eile, (Kabam Montréal), Julian Maroda (Norsfell), Shum Singh (Agnitia Capital), TQ Jefferson (Survio) and Trent Oster (Beamdog) to name a few. We will be discussing many newsworthy subjects during talks, like working on the spectrum, tenacity of mothers in the global games industry, recovering from workplace issues and women in games IT. We are also holding the MEGAMIGS Awards, where indie talent will be celebrated.

The global publishers fill most of the high-rise office space, but what interesting studios work in their shadows that the world might not be aware of?

We often talk about hidden gems that can rise above the crowd and become a success story. We have a lot of those gems out there, and one of MEGAMIGS missions is to help them become known to the industry and to the general public. We also have an area called the Indie Zone during the event, where indie studios from around the world have the chance to participate for free on the expo floor with a kiosk. Those studios, who for the most part are making their first game, have this great opportunity to be known by the industry, but most importantly by the gamers. The way to self-publishing success stories is through building strong communities around your project, so networking is important.

What have been the difficulties of organising the event this year?

Organising an event is always difficult, even more so when you are coming back from a two year hiatus alongside so many in-person events. The hardest part was to find a suitable venue when there has been such a huge amount of events coming back from the pandemic’s imposed torpor. MEGAMIGS is normally held mid-November, but has had to be held earlier because of those constraints this year.

Is there anything different this year compared to years past?

Bringing everyone together is no small feat and that is a big difference after two years of uncertainty. We will be located in a new and modern venue at Hotel Bonaventure in Montreal. Our talks and panels are modern and are rooted in current affairs.

This year’s focus is on “discoverability and playability”. Why? How are you achieving this?

This year’s focus is really linked to MEGAMIGS’ DNA. What we want for this event is to be able to bring together the industry, the studios, the publishers and the service providers, all in a cosy and accessible atmosphere here in Montreal. This is where discoverability is key, for the B2B side of things. We want our guests to be able to meet, talk and have a fun time together. This is where opportunities are created, where ideas are born, and the setting is key for that to happen. Playability is for the gamers out there as well as from within the industry. What better way is there to explain what we do than to show it to the people, to let them experience it with their senses themselves?

What are the expectations for success this year?

What we have seen is that the interest for live gaming expos and B2B events is more alive than ever. We have already seen great interest from the industry to be there and to meet the public, as our kiosks were almost sold out 6 months before the event. We expect to welcome 10,000 guests over the course of four days, and for this to be our biggest version of the event yet.

MEGAMIGS takes place this year between October 19th and October 22nd. If you’d like to purchase tickets, you can find them over at https://megamigs.com/en/

About Vince Pavey

Vince is a writer from the North-East of England who has worked on comics for The Beano and Doctor Who. He likes to play video games and eat good food. Sometimes he does both at the same time, but he probably shouldn’t.

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