At the end of April Reboot Develop 2015, the biggest game developer conference in South-East Europe, was held in Radisson Blu Dubrovnik Sun Gardens resort and attracted more than 300 attendees from 20 countries and more than 300 world’s biggest media in gaming industry to the beautiful, historical city of Dubrovnik.
The attendance was strictly limited to gaming industry professionals, being from the fields of either developers, artists, audio artists (both senior and indie), PR and marketing experts, or sales and publishing representatives. The conference was jointly organised by Reboot, the biggest gaming magazine in the Adriatic region, and PR agency Kapsula Komunikacije.
The international attractiveness of Dubrovnik and its reasonably good air connections are reason enough to choose Dubrovnik for event location, but an additional motive was certainly the extraordinary popularity of Dubrovnik through the TV series Game of Thrones, which is very heavily regarded in the gaming community. The strength of this motive was threaded through all of the promotional channels in regional and international media and Radisson Blu Dubrovnik Sun Gardens resort, which is a superb conference hotel located by the sea, was able to provide the adequate multi-purpose hall and exhibition space for the event.
The conference managed to attract a large number of important speakers and ranked among the most attractive events in the area. Legends of the gaming industry such as Peter Molyneux, Patrice Désilets, Rami Ismail, Charles Cecil, Ragnar Tørnquist and a number of others were all speakers at the conference. According to the organisers it was quite a challenge to convince them to participate, given that they are all very active people with loaded diaries, but twenty years of experience in the industry and the personal acquaintances of the organisers managed to twist their arms.
Promotion of the conference and content marketing
In order to attract participants from around the world, the organisers created an interesting promotional concept, which the destination itself contributed to in large part. The main story was making the greatest game developer conference in this part of the world and gathering the best speakers and members. A conference of this industry not only has never been organised in the region, but also in a much wider area of Europe. The conference was primarily promoted in the region through its own specialized magazine for video games, Reboot, through social networks and advertising on them, newsletters and though several specialized regional media partners. These generated international media partnerships with the largest specialized media in the gaming industry, such as GamesIndustry.biz, Gamasutra and Pocketgamer.biz.
During the conference, organisers were constantly communicating with participants either on the spot, through social networks or the casual newsletter. Some of them shared information about the event, through classic word-of-mouth inside their game development studios, and also through new acquaintances made. Members of interest groups and professional associations also communicated through their own channels within those groups.
An important part of the overall communication and promotion was the use of tools for content marketing, primarily of content, which was created a year previously for the conference. The aim of this was to set out evidence of the quality of speakers as well as the locations of previously held conferences. A key factor in this was definitely the marketing of the entire visual content related to the attractiveness of the location – the city of Dubrovnik and the Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Sun Gardens, which were the biggest trumps alongside the specific quality content.
Big party’s icing on the cake
The three-day conference was designed through a parallel system of three halls (tracks), within which 18 lectures, including panel discussions, took place.
The open exhibition space business-to-business area connecting directly to lecture halls, together with the indie expo area intended for meeting space between developers, service and tools providers, investors and publishers, were also central features of the conference. The exhibition space was made up of eight large exhibition units and the 22 smaller exhibitions units within the Indie Expo Area.
[pullquote]‘We are extremely happy with the event, because we have already surpassed all the targets that we have set ourselves in its second year of existence,’ said the satisfied organisers, who have already started preparing for Reboot Develop 2016. [/pullquote]
The conference had a series of technical demands in terms of AV equipment, from advanced HD projectors to providing high bandwidth Internet and inclusion of web streaming. These technical aspects were carried out to the expectations of the organisers and with good preparation and support.
With business flowing, the networking and social programme at such conferences is a must and the “icing on the cake” was a big party held inside the attractive Ginja lounge club & restaurant in the resort, while another very successful cocktail (drink/social mixer) event organised by Epic Games/Unreal was held by the Lemonia Pool & Bar.
‘Reboot Develop 2015 has ranked the event, as well as Croatia, among the top for the international gaming industry. In addition, we have managed to raise the bar of quality among conferences of this kind, becoming one of the most special and most attractive events in the industry. For the hotel and its personnel we have only superlatives, whether we talk about the fantastic location and surroundings, design, functionality and friendly personnel, which have facilitated the organisation of the whole event extremely well.’