Little biased, but Pocket Gamer Connects London 2022 was a truimphant return to live events. With over 1,900 physical and digital attendees, 230 experts delivering their insight across two days of in-person and digital panels, and exhibitors ranging from King and Amazon Web Services to our exciting Big Indie Zone, hosting an array of devs looking to celebrate their latest and ongoing titles, there was literally something for everyone.
But the return to conferences, especially adaptations made during our Pocket Gamer Connects Digital events, is also a perfect opportunity to learn some valuable lessons on the future of live events.
PocketGamer.biz asked leading industry voices in the mobile and wider games industry for their views on what they want to see from future live events, and what worked - and what didn't - from Pocket Gamer Connects London.
The return to in-person, after getting comfortable with virtual meetings, opens up the opportunity to redefine how we use our time together. Live events is live theatre, benefiting from collective audience responses – the communal laughter, the unmuted applause – and from side conversations, the quietly localised commentary.
But most exciting is blending hybrid audiences, using tools and techniques that allow both the live and remote audiences to actively participate in a session. It's two-way, it's interactive, and it's dynamic. Who better to master this than gamers?
I really appreciate the way Pocket Gamer Connects handled executing a hybrid physical-virtual conference. One of the valuable consequences of the shift to remote work, accelerated by the pandemic, is the widening accessibility of opportunities such as conference attendance. We can now include participants from all over the world who may have otherwise been unable to join due to inability to travel or other personal circumstances.
At this most recent PGC London event, I moderated a panel in which half of the panellists participated virtually and the other half in person. Despite this, it truly felt like we were all in the same room. I hope to see more conferences not only adopt hybrid models but moreover explore ways to meaningfully integrate virtual participants.
Secondly, I appreciated PGC's traffic light (red, yellow, and green) lanyard system. This was a thoughtful way to respect individual social distancing preferences and requirements. We continue to navigate a nebulous world with respect to COVID-19 protocols, and event organisers should continue to innovate while considering their audience's nuanced needs.
Personally, I think life after COVID will be very different, and it is important that we all continue to be careful. As in-person meetings and live events continue to return, I would like to see vaccination status checks, widespread sanitation stations, and free masks for attendees. This is a change from pre-pandemic conferences and events, but it remains all the more important to keep us safe.
16 years of cross border M&A and fundraising expertise in the online games, mobile entertainment and consumer internet industries. Interested in working with established technology businesses looking to expand businesses to next level through combination of organic growth and inorganic activities.
I thought Pocket Gamer Connects London was well organised and all tracks ran smoothly. One suggestion I had is perhaps finding a more quiet area/section of the conference venue for conducting meetings.
Being back at in-person events was brilliant after a long time of virtual conferences and Zoom fatigue well and truly making an appearance. It felt like no time had passed and the consistency of excellent speakers, engaging topics, and opportunities to network were as good as they were pre-pandemic.
I'm looking forward to the next one, but I also really like the opportunity to go back and watch some talks I may have missed being elsewhere at the event. Recorded streams are an addition I hope lasts.
It was great to get back to a normal feeling for an event, but I'd like to see some additional health and safety measures to reduce the spread of germs and viruses. The density of the people and noise in the space made it really difficult to do any social distancing. Having more hand sanitiser stations spread across the venue would also be nice.
I saw a few sessions where a speaker was remote with some live panelists and thought that was well done. This should improve the quality of the speakers if it is more convenient to participate and it didn't have any negative affect on the live audience.
Two small things:
Firstly, QR codes on badges to be able to scan leads and not manually connect or input contacts data in email or CRMs.
Secondly, potentially have more time for questions after each presentation.
I thought the coloured lanyard system was very good and everybody at the conference grasped the concept and adhered to it. This straightforward traffic light system is definitely something that I think improved the event and would improve future events. Adapting things like this made me feel safe and I know it made other attendees feel safe too.