GIC and PGA in the on-site & streaming version took place on October 22-24, traditionally in Poznań (Poland), with the online version of GIC on October 19-20. Previous editions gathered 75 thousand visitors and over 200 exhibitions each. This year, the GIC was slightly more limited compared to earlier editions due to the pandemic (including no concert and kindergarten), but the organizer plans to return with everything next year. GIC offered professional knowledge exchange, workshops, round tables, B2B fairs and MeetToMatch meetings. In addition, one could visit a Geek Careers recruitment zone and several networking events. You could see the CEEGA awards ceremony, freelance competitions, pitchings, etc. The key features of GIC are size and coverage, quality and inclusiveness. With the participation of most of the Polish game dev community, indies, major game developers, businesses and contributors worldwide. Added to this is the inclusiveness of the conference. Last but not least, discounts for programmers, scholarship programs, and even events for women in games.
The second event, PGA, mainly presents the latest games and gaming equipment to an individual client. It also serves as a cosplay festival, gaming culture, influencers, and esports. The fair also includes a day for professionals and media and events connecting media and influencers with game developers. It is also appreciated by the international media, who write extensively about it. They realize that Poland is the 7th largest PC gaming market globally.
Central and Eastern Europe Game Awards (CEEGA)
CEEGA is a joint effort of sixteen industry organizations and hubs from all countries of the region. As part of the project, prizes in eight categories are awarded to the best video games from Central and Eastern Europe. The jury evaluating the entries consists of representatives of the gaming industry and media from all countries of the CEE region. The award ceremony is held annually during the PGA fair and the GIC conference. The main goal of the Award is to strengthen cooperation between the game development communities in our part of Europe. Also essential to promote video games as an attempt to present this region as an important place for the video game industry. Over a thousand game developers in Central and Eastern Europe employ over 30,000 people.
In this year’s edition CEEGA, Poland again became unrivalled. There were 19 titles and the jury, consisting of authors and journalists from 10 countries, especially appreciated Cyberpunk 2077 (3 statuettes), followed by the adventure game Papetura (2 awards).
There were also awards for the best games presented at the PGA. The jury, which included Polish artists and journalists, appreciated the Frozen District contribution, i.e. the authors and authors of House Flipper, which is experiencing a renaissance in popularity. The best game of the fair turned out to be Against the Storm, a city builder where the rain never stops. And the best international production – Heavy-Duty Challenge, a realistic off-road driving simulator. The Cracovians from Nano Games produced it, but the German Aerosoft GmbH will release it.
Inclusiveness is one of the pillars of the GIC. The GIC Inclusiveness Scholarship is designed to support the development of young and promising developers from low-income countries and under-represented minorities, allowing them to cover the cost of accommodation and meals during the GIC and PGA. Women in Games Breakfast, which has been organized as part of the GIC since 2017, is a round table aiming to empower women in the video industry by serving as a platform for discussion and knowledge sharing.
The Game Industry Conference began with an informal meeting of a dozen developers. It took place in 2008 in one of the dormitories in Krakow under the name Game Developers Congress (Zjazd Twórców Gier – ZTG). Gamedev events did not exist in Poland, so enthusiastically received the initiative. Over the next three years, ZTG became a traveling event, organized annually by various groups of students from Warsaw (2009), Gdańsk (2010) and Łódź (2011). It was supported by its creator and spiritus movens – Tomasz Kaczmarek. In 2012, ZTG accepted an invitation to Poznań at the initiative of students of the Institute of Computer Science of the Poznań University of Technology as part of the PGA fair. One thousand six hundred participants attended it, and a year later 2,040, and it was evident that combining a B2B event with a B2C event is advisable.
The qualitative breakthrough occurred during ZTG 2014 when nearly 50 speakers from abroad came to the conference. It changed its name to a more international – Game Industry Conference (GIC). Since 2015, it has gathered thousands of game devs from Poland and the region, offering many attractions. It proposed lectures, networking, business matchmaking, recruitment and everything that should occur during such an event.
More info about GIC 2021 is here