How the biggest game developers conference in Eastern Europe used PINE to host a 2-day virtual conference for 1,300 people online

DevGAMM is a leading game developer conference in the eastern European region. For more than 12 years DevGAMM has been delivering quality content on the latest game development technology along with a series of activities meant for productive and fun attendee networking. With its 3 main events held during the year in Moscow, Minsk, and Kyiv, DevGAMM usually hosts from 1,500 to 2,500 game developers, publishers, and journalists from all over the world.

When the Coronavirus hit in February, despite the optimism of her fellow teammates, DevGAMM’s CEO, Lerika Mallayeva, immediately realized that this year’s event, scheduled to be held in Moscow, would have to take place online.

“When in early March I heard that GDC (one of the biggest game developer conferences in the world) was canceled and moved to summer, I said to my team: this year we have to move DevGAMM online. That was when the challenge began” – said Mallayeva.


CHALLENGE

It was March when Lerika and her team started looking for a conference solution that would be capable of hosting an online event with more than a thousand participants.

We quickly realized that not all of the planned activities were adaptable from in-person to online. Mallayeva continues, Much of what takes place at DevGAMM can’t just be formatted to video conferencing between developers and publishers. These include things such as game activities, showcasing projects in development, game contests, award ceremonies, and several after-parties.

Around 15 activities had to be transitioned from in-person to online without losing that sense of exclusivity and behind the scenes value for attendees. The team quickly came up with a list of 12 platforms for online events and conferencing that could probably help overcome their challenge. But none of them had the capabilities DevGAMM needed to successfully conduct the event how they wanted. Some of the solutions weren’t designed for large expo’s, some of them could provide online exposition but didn’t feature multi-staging. And some of the services were just too expensive in addition to lacking the features DevGAMM needed. 

Here’s what Lerika and DevGAMM were looking for when choosing their online event platform:

  • All-in-one one platform for every event activity. No having to switch between multiple vendors for separate areas or programs of the convention.
  • Networking capabilities must include tools for 1:1 scheduling and spontaneous attendee meetings. Lerika didn’t want attendees to have to use Skype, Zoom, or any other third-party app that could distract people from the DevGAMM event.
  • Not possible to use generic webinar platforms as DevGAMM wanted to simultaneously run multiple streams with speakers and keynotes.
  • A virtual expo hall was a must as DevGAMM didn’t want to lose its grand exhibition charm even online.

Solution

After concluding their platform research, DevGAMM decided on PINE as their main service provider for the upcoming online conference that would run on the 14th-15th of May 2020. 

DevGAMM had only used PINE as a conferencing app for a couple of small-scale offline events they’d held in the past. While PINE had proven itself to be a reliable solution, the DevGAMM team was skeptical of PINE’s ability to deliver all the necessary functionality they needed. That’s when Lerika contacted PINE’s CEO, Eugene Gnatenko. 

“At the time when Lerika contacted me, PINE was crossing the finish line on rolling out exactly the solution DevGAMM was looking for. A couple of features were still missing, but they were on the road map. By the end of our deadline, we were able to provide everything DevGAMM has been asking for.” — noted Eugene Gnatenko, CEO at PINE

Before using PINE on a larger scale, DevGAMM’s team decided to give it a try on one of their smaller video conferencing events that took place on April 10th, 2020. Everything worked out just fine! After sending over some valuable feedback, DevGAMM was now sure that when the Moscow event rolled around, everything would perform exactly the way it’s expected to. Between the smaller conference and the Moscow event, PINE had one month to polish their service. During that time, DevGAMM was in close contact with PINE customer service: 

“There was great collaboration and understanding between us and the PINE team. By the beginning of the event, PINE was able to fulfill 95% of the requests we had sent them. And I think this is the best example of a customer-first approach you’ll find anywhere on the market”, Mallayeva added. 


Result

DevGAMM and PINE’s success: over 1,300 attendees for a two-day conference

When the day arrived and 1,500 attendees logged in online, both DevGAMM and PINE realized that the event would be a success. The post-event survey showed that:
  1. 59%of attendees said they loved the event
  2. 24%indicated that they enjoyed the online platform and only encountered a couple of minor technical issues
  3. 7%of attendees replied that they didn’t enjoy the online event and encountered numerous issues while participating
  4. 51%of respondents indicated that they loved the online format
  5. 20%indicated that the online format has some limitations compared to in-person events
  6. 29%said they would still prefer the in-person experience

When asked what activities attendees loved the most, the first two to grab the spotlight were the two that PINE and DevGAMM were working on the most:

  • 68% of respondents appreciated the speaker keynotes
  • 24% of respondents said enjoyed the PINE meetings

For business, a major advantage of online events is that they often open the door to unexpected benefits. One such being extensive reductions in cost for travel, staff, equipment, and so on: 

We were able to attract speakers who would never have been able to attend our event in-person because of their workload, Mallayeva said. Second, holding an online event saved us a ton of money on hotels, flights, organizing, delivery, etc. We never expected such a positive result.

DevGAMM’s advantage was further multiplied by the simplicity and convenience of the PINE platform: 

What I loved best about PINE were the user interfaces that the service provides. The slick and straightforward design is not even close to these boring corporate apps that feel like they’re stuck in the 90s. The overall user experience in PINE is just so much better than any of the other services we considered.

With the exploding demand for online events heating up for spring 2020, PINE managed to provide the best-in-class user experience combined with a unique set of features at a reasonable price. Lerika Mallayeva and her DevGAMM team both appreciate and recommend the service to any organization planning to hold an event online.

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