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On the LET’S PLAY Stage, there will be exciting lectures and discussions about the topics of games and game development. Austrian experts and branch insiders will shed light on the history, present, and future of this local industry and on its potential for innovation. They will be introducing current educational opportunities in Austria and discussing the newest scientific and pedagogical knowledge in relation to this medium.
The exhibitors will explain their offers and products through short presentations and will then be available to take questions from the audience.

Moderation: Robert Glashüttner (ORF, FM4)

Note: All Keynotes and presentations will be held in German.


Program Friday 15.09.17

10:30 Keynote: History, Present, and Future of the Games Industry in Austria

In the last ten years, the games industry in Austria has experienced strong growth. The number of companies has multiplied, and the diversity and degree of specialization of the companies have continually grown. In the early 2000s, the few game development companies in Austria in existence at the time (Sproing, JoWooD, Max Design) were still rather inflexible in terms of strategy and remained associated with large publishers. Today, small businesses and midsize companies have the opportunity to develop and market their games projects fully independently. The technical means necessary for developing games are today more easily accessible and cheaper than ever before. In addition, there are new financing and sales opportunities, which in turn strengthens the independence of studios and enhances their economic flexibility.
Companies like Sproing, Mi’pu’mi, or Bongfish develop their own gaming brands and are working on long-term international projects in collaboration with global publishers. The local industry is broadened by young, successful enterprises like Broken Rules, kunabi brother, stillalive, Rarebyte, or Lost in the Garden, whose founders are often lateral entrants from other industries or which have emerged from student projects. Recruited from this setting is the next generation of game developers, which has become more broad and dynamic in recent years thanks to the well-developed funding landscape and the continually improving economic framework. (rg)

Johanna Schober will offer visitors fascinating and comprehensive insight into game development in Austria. She is the chief operating officer and managing director of Sproing, one of the leading European developers of free-to-play games. She is responsible for studio strategy, further development of processes, growth, team management, and human resources. Johanna started working at Sproing in 2003 as project manager and development director before moving up into her executive position in 2011. Johanna originally studied information economy and management at the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and also holds an MBA in intra- and entrepreneurship.


11:00 Keynote: Austria as Training Site

Equally strong diversification has taken place in the training sector. While fifteen years ago, it was just about only the Vienna University of Technology that offered training in the field of games and game development, in recent years more specialized study programmes have been added at various Austrian technical colleges, and even university departments have emerged with majors in technology and the cultural sciences. The call for creatively, technically, economically, and scientifically schooled specialists has turned the games industry into an especially lively branch of the creative industries. A wide palette of skills is needed: from programmer to game designer, from 3D artist to project manager, from translator to composer. Furthermore, different design courses and humanities departments are taking an integrative approach to addressing the topic of games. Many study programmes are organized in an interdisciplinary way and feature a flexible curriculum and hands-on projects. (rg)

Lev Ledit will be answering the following question in his talk: Where can someone learn to make games in Austria, and how? He takes listeners through the Austrian educational landscape for game developers and shows interesting works, international successes, and typical projects by students at universities. In the process, he traverses the various fields in technology – game design – but also economics and art. He offers a concrete glimpse of what he teaches at nine of these universities and briefly mentions what drives him personally as a game developer. Lev teaches game design at the following institutions of higher education: Vienna University of Technology, University of Vienna, Vienna University of Applied Sciences, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Joanneum University of Applied Sciences, Danube University Krems, St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, and the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in Hagenberg..


11:30 Keynote: Digital Games Education in Austria

On Playful Peaks and Educational Valleys

Gaming, learning, and pedagogy are closely interconnected, and Austria has proven to be a fertile and opportune ground for new initiatives and projects in this area. Do the projects fulfil their game-related and educational aspirations? Is this (interdisciplinary) balancing act even possible? We explore the challenges (=VALLEYS) and the potentialities (=PEAKS) of digital games education and describe the terrain in Austria. The talk will provide an overview of the scientific landscape of gaming in Austria. Afterwards, the highlights of educational game developments will be discussed and new projects in the socio-entrepreneurial, political, and school-pedagogical contexts introduced. We will conclude our contribution with the Top 3 insights for educational game endeavours!

Lena Robinson is an experience designer, social entrepreneur, and anthropologist. She is head of inspiration at Playful Solutions and co-founder of Lightspace. She is involved in various projects related to innovation, learning, and mediation. Her academic background is in cultural and social anthropology, social economics, and social work. She has gained professional experience working at the social enterprise Three Coins, which offers games-based financial education and training for youth in various countries.

Dr. Konstantin Mitgutsch is a consultant and expert for game design, gamification, and serious games. He is the founder of the company Playful Solutions, lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and freelance researcher in the MIT Game Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. His publications include books like “Schauplatz Computerspiele”, “Sports Video Games”, and “Context Matters!”.


12:00 Presentation: “A History of Austrian Computer Games”

Video games are not only one of the most modern forms of art and entertainment, but also one of the most fast-paced. In Austria, the video game boom did not start until twenty-five years ago, but still a great deal of information has been lost. The project A History of Austrian Computer Games pursues the objective of collecting and safekeeping games and making them accessible to the public.
Sebastian Esberger carried out this project, with the help of Prof. Michael Wimmer and Martin Filipp (Mi’pu’mi Games), as part of his bachelor’s thesis at Vienna University of Technology. He will be discuss the processes and planning effort involved, share his experiences in dealing with Austrian game history, and release the results of the project.


12:30 Presentation Vienna Business Agency: Funding for the Games Industry
The Vienna Business Agency presents their offers for game developers: the current competition Content Vienna, fundings and services for founders.


12:45 Presentation UBIT


13:00 Presentations of educational institutions and their student projects

13:00 TU Wien
13:15 Donau-Universität Krems
13:30 HTL Spengergasse
13:45 “INEO”
14:00 “T.I.M.”
14:15 FH Oberösterreich
14:30 “Deserving Life”
14:45 “Sad Hombres”
15:00 Fachhochschule Salzburg GmbH
15:15 “Team Phoenix”
15:30 Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
15:45 Fachhochschule St.Pölten
16:00 Break

16:10 Presentation of initiatives: Offers for social, pedagogic, scientific and artistic topics

16:15 Atoll
16:30 Play:Vienna
16:45 Playful Solutions
17:15 Respawn eSports Bar
17:30 Games Institute Austria


Program Saturday 16.09.17

11:00 Presentations of Game Developers: Game Developer from all over Austria present their games, prototypes and ideas

11:00 Sproing Interactive Media GmbH
11:15 WIDESHOT Design GmbH
11:30 Broken Rules
11:45 Lost in the Garden
12:00 Rarebyte OG
12:15 stillalive studios GmbH
12:30 Black Cell
12:45 doorfortyfour
13:00 Causa Creations
13:15 gold extra
13:30 Enibolas
13:45 Zeppelin Studio
14:00 Polycular
14:15 Game Gestalt
14:30 Waltzing Atoms
14:45 Weaving Tides
15:00 Retroguru
15:15 foreverloops Gmbh
15:30 1700
15:45 Goliath VR
16:00 Nonex Games
16:15 rebuilders
16:30 skodone
16:45 Spinnortality
17:00 Klemens Strasser
17:15 Mad Gear Games
17:30 Phombie Flow
17:45 globalstats
18:00 PEW

Donau-Universität Krems

The Center for Applied Game Studies is concerned with issues related to the transfer of current research results in the field of interactive visual media to professional practice. Special consideration is given to applications in media and game design as well as education and training. The range of courses includes the master’s programmes Game Studies, Transmedia Design & Gamification, Action-Oriented Media Education, MediaGameEducation, and Game Based Media & Education. Furthermore, the Center boasts an extensive research and development branch.

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