Dev.Play 2020 Eastern European game development conference goes entirely online with its 581 attendees

Dev.Play, a game developers conference for Eastern Europe, is a 2-day event packed with lectures, practical workshops, meet-ups, digital exhibitions and contests. Since 2016, the annual Dev.Play event has helped thousands of game developers and game publishers meet, collaborate, and build relationships.

In 2020, speakers from Ubisoft, Quantic Dream, Rovio or Google, and event partners like Epic Games, Xsolla, Amber and others, helped Dev.Play receive recognition not only in Eastern Europe but on the international stage.


CHALLENGE

In the summer of 2020, it was obvious that the coronavirus pandemic was going to leave no chance for Dev.Play to continue offline. In July, the Dev.Play team started brainstorming possible workarounds for the upcoming conference. The ideal solution would have to combine the capabilities of video conferencing, group chat, and a full-fledged virtual event venue.

One of the most important requirements for the provider was to ensure a convenient experience for the partners and sponsors. Highly visible booth branding, virtual demos, and lead capture functionality was a must for partners.

The team needed to find a solution that could meet these demands in a limited amount of time.

“When the pandemic hit and things started moving to online, I realized that PINE was rapidly undergoing a kind of transformation, from a conference meeting management tool to a full-featured virtual event platform,” says Dev.Play’s Founder, Catalin Butnariu.

Catalin and his team had previously used PINE as a video conferencing platform at other events and were observing the evolution of the platform over the past year and a half.

“Before going with PINE, Dev.Play considered Hopin and a couple of other solutions on the Romanian market. Neither of them had the functionality and flexibility we wanted.” Catalin continues, “The two key differences that made PINE stand out from its competitors were its user-friendly interface and comprehensive feature set. We were also inspired by the devcom game developer conference that hosted this year’s main event on PINE. Many of our attendees got to experience PINE during devcom and it was a good sign for us.”


Solution

The collaborative relationship between PINE and Dev.Play developed quickly.

“When we first met with PINE’s representatives to discuss the 2020 Dev.Play conference, they showed up with a presentation that showcased how the event would look” Catalin recalls.

It only took PINE two and a half months to take the event from a rough planning stage to live implementation. 

This speed was possible mainly due to the unique set of out-of-the-box features provided by PINE. As a result, Dev.Play put most of the platform’s native capabilities to use:

  • Free access to the main stage and another stage with paid content
  • Multiple rooms with workshops
  • An expo zone for partners with virtual booths
  • Job vacancies posting on a Career Wall
  • Networking capabilities including participant business cards, video chat systems, and random networking groups which were located in the Pitch Arena.
  • Multiple chats for communication with the ability to like and comment on posts in threads

Virtual events in PINE often make use of logical layouts used at in-person events. There is a reception desk, a main stage where performances take place, separate rooms for special activities, and of course, unlimited video and chat networking interactions, for both one-on-one and in groups.

“We were able to build an event without compromising while relying solely on PINE’s out-of-the-box functionality.” Catalin continues, “PINE made branding and booth customization for partners a breeze. That was important for our sponsors, both in terms of visibility and for capturing leads.” 

Throughout the event, participants could view sponsored video advertisements and partners were able to conduct live demos and interact with participants all within the branded speaking sessions.


Result

581 attendees visited Dev.Play during the two-day November conference. The survey conducted among attendees after the event showed that PINE scored 4.6 out of 5 in user satisfaction. Not only did attendees love the experience, but 60% also said they would love to see PINE’s online capabilities used during offline events after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

“Most of the feedback on PINE that we received from the event’s attendees was absolutely positive” Catalin concluded. 

In summary, Dev.Play’s 2020 event was a smashing success. The overall number of participants increased compared to 2019, and the number of international participants almost doubled, with more than 30 participating countries represented at the event. 

Having managed to not only increase their rate of growth, Dev.Play was able to successfully adapt to the realities of the online era in order to host a successful event. When planning future conferences, Dev.Play knows who to rely on.

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