On September 14th, 2017, AbleGamers attended the first Ohio Business of Games Summit, held at Ohio University in Athens Ohio. This event was hosted by the Ohio University Gaming Research and Immersive Design Lab alongside the Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship. The purpose of the summit was to look at the medium of gaming through the lens of a young entrepreneur or investor, to look at the business side of the medium. It was the first time this event has been held, and turnout was surprisingly large for a new endeavor like this.
The summit began with an introduction from John Bowditch, director of the Grid Lab, as well as Paul Mass, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. After the introductions, the keynote speech was delivered by Chris Volpe, CEO of Multivarious Games based out of Columbus, Ohio. Volpe shared stories of starting a gaming company out of Columbus, the struggles they faced, and the growth the company has seen in the gaming industry in Central Ohio. Other talks included “A Developer’s Roadmap”, with panelists taking questions on how to distribute and monetize digital games, as well as “Women in the Digital Game and eSport Industries”, a talk detailing female participation in the digital games industry and the opportunities and difficulties present. The afternoon also included a Case Competition, a competition taking plans from the attendees on an eSports event to be hosted by Ohio University next year.
Besides the collection of panels, the Summit also featured an exhibition room, featuring game developers from around the state of Ohio showing off their current projects in both game production as well as playable demos. Developers showed off their creations that spanned from tablet games, AR games, VR games, development technologies, and more. There was also a token system that attendees could use, dropping off wooden coins at exhibits they enjoyed. The developer who received the most coins won a cash prize.
Overall, the summit was very well done and interesting to attend. It was a great honor to return to my personal alma matter and represent AbleGamers and discuss gaming accessibility‘s strengths when it comes to the business of games. Developers I met were excited to discuss accessibility, and I hope to be able to attend next year’s summit… as well as their eSports event!