The 2020 devcom digital conference sets a new record with more than 2,200 attendees and 94 talks across all panels using the PINE platform

Devcom has been the official gamescom developer event since 2017. With 373,000 attendees in 2019 for gamesom, and more than 3,000 attendees for devcom, both events are known as Europe’s annual ‘must-attend‘ events for the gaming industry. 

This is the story of how devcom’s digitalization, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, led to one of the most accessible and international devcoms to date. Due to the greater worldwide accessibility of this year’s devcom program, 1,054 companies supported the event, exhibited their products, or joined the matchmaking online.  


CHALLENGE

It all started in March 2020 when Roufina Guenkova, devcom’s Head of Sales and person responsible for the event’s digital transformation, started researching for ways devcom could go entirely online. Swapcard – the platform devcom used for last year’s event – was no longer a good fit when it came to a 100% online experience. Devcom’s team required a more flexible partner who could adjust its capabilities for devcom’s needs and provide outstanding support (something which is crucial and not so easy to find in the emerging virtual event market). 

According to Guenkova, their main concerns when looking for a new virtual event host platform were as follows:

  • The platform had to have an established reputation among conferences similar to devcom
  • The platform had to be stable and capable of hosting dozens of speakers and hundreds of attendees at the same time
  • The platform had to have the ability to upload pre-recorded speaker sessions as well as stream live sessions
  • It was crucial to have time management capabilities for attendees visiting from Asia and North America in order to make scheduling easier for all
  • The platform had to have exhibition and sponsorship features for devcom’s multiple business partners
  • For future marketing and sales purposes, it was crucial that the platform offer lead-capture functionality

“We were introduced to PINE by another virtual conference called DevGAMM and at first glance, it looked like a solution that we needed. Before that, we were testing a couple of other platforms but none of them were close to PINE in terms of ease of use and team responsiveness, which allowed us to make platform adjustments on the fly”,  Guenkova added. 


Solution

Considering the number of people registered for the event and its two-week duration, Roufina and their team had to make sure everything ran smoothly in order to retain attendee engagement. It took 3 months of work for the devcom and PINE teams to go from their initial free trial to a final realization of going live with the event. Here’s how Guenkova describes collaborating with PINE during this period:

“We had regular meetings with the PINE team twice a month where we were planning the event, requesting adjustments, and discussing ongoing preparations. We had a direct connection to the PINE dev team via our Slack channel. The support they provided made us feel like devcom wasn’t just one more event for PINE but something special. My team and I appreciate this attitude very much.”

Key functionality deployed for the event: 

  • Matchmaking via a mobile app to make new connections and discussions easier
  • Multistage streaming sessions with keynote speakers
  • Live Q&A sessions
  • Virtual expo stages where all attendees can stop by a dev or sponsor’s booth and easily interact with them
  • Random networking and group conferencing which were highly appreciated for making new connections and collaboration easier
  • 1:1 developer-publisher conferencing rooms for pitch-sessions

Another important aspect of the conference was keeping sponsors such as Xsolla, AMD, and Kickstarter happy. Sponsorship and business partner functionality included:

  • Virtual booths with custom branding which were part of the virtual expos
  • Social media channels and handouts (sponsors’ decks and brochures to download)
  • Shareable media and video materials such as banners and videos
  • Public chats with moderators and notifications
  • An agenda for all presentations that attendees could bookmark to receive important updates
  • Lead Access info for sponsors to look up booth visitors for further communications


Result

During the event, devcom attendees had access to several different methods for assisting with business development. Via the 1-to-1 Meetings, Random Networking, and Speed Game Dating, over 2,700 business appointments took place in total. Also, “devcom Pitch it!” was very popular, with over 400 meetings between 113 participating developers and 48 publishers.

“The majority of attendees and business partners were very satisfied with the event, and in particular, how PINE handled it. There were no technical issues during the panel discussions or streaming sessions and we felt that the quality of the event was comparable to that of the previous events which were held in-person.” Guenkova concludes, “I definitely recommend PINE as the best virtual event platform and most reliable partner.”

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