The world is full of video game events. You could probably go to a different video game show every month somewhere across the planet if you wanted. But there are special things about Barcelona Games World that I think make it an unmissable experience.
The top trending event
Whether you work in the industry (in development, publishing, marketing, media or other fields) or if you are a video game enthusiast or a journalist, this is the ultimate event to keep up with the latest trends.
At Barcelona Games World, the organizers give their absolute all to drive innovation – a goal they successfully achieve, in my opinion – and you can sense that passion in the air.
The scope of the event goes far beyond Spanish borders. It welcomes the gaming industry’s major multinationals. The event awaits visitors with more than 194 exhibitors, from the largest firms to the most creative indies, and I find that combination extremely appealing because it lets you see what’s going on in the sector from two very different perspectives.
Meanwhile, e-sports are rapidly gaining ground and the Barcelona Games World hosts some of the biggest competitions, including the Iberian Cup finals, where over 1,700 fans will be cheering for the best players from Spain and Portugal.
Going back to the topic of innovation, I believe virtual reality plays a crucial role here. So, naturally, you will find the top brands such as HTC revealing their latest breakthroughs at the exhibition area, where over 15,000 visitors can experience this amazing technology’s emerging trends. In my eyes, VR has a very bright future ahead and so much more to offer.
Catalonia is in – and rightly so!
Barcelona and its surrounding region (in fact, practically all of Catalonia) is a powerful magnet drawing in entrepreneurs, investors and multinationals who are investing significantly in the area and creating or enhancing their video game studios with teams of hundreds of people.
Along with giants such as Social Point, Scopely, King and Ubisoft, you will find up to 140 gaming companies that have settled on Catalonian lands. We could safely say that the region’s industry is booming, to the point of becoming an undisputed world gaming hub where we can expect to keep on seeing huge investments and initiatives in the next few years.
Of course, Starloop Studios is also on the scene. This is my own company, which allows me to explain the situation first-hand: We started out in 2011 as a one-man studio. Today, we are a team of almost 50 of the most qualified professionals working for sector-leading companies, not just in Spain, but all around the world. This makes us the biggest full-service video game development outsourcing company in Catalonia… and in Spain, for that matter. Our next target is to become an outsourcing benchmark for all of Europe.
How has this happened? Analyzing the reasons for this surge is no easy task, but we could say that in Barcelona and in Catalonia on the whole, the public and private sectors have clearly teamed together to drive the industry forward. Small businesses are backed by a number of initiatives ranging from funding to incubation, not to mention the vast array of top-level qualifications on offer involving prestigious universities to help train talented professionals who are eager to make their mark in the video game world.
Add to that, the fact that Barcelona has become one of Europe’s preferred investment destinations for technology start-ups, with multinationals like Facebook and Microsoft (just to mention two off the top of my head) investing keenly in the city and the region. This consequently draws in talent, not just from Spain but from much further afield. Altogether, this creates the perfect storm to give the entire tech industry a powerful boost.
This is what makes me so sure that Catalonia is currently at its very best and is one of the ideal places to live, work, and invest.
At Barcelona Games World, there is a special 5000 m2 exhibition and sale area offering not just merchandise, games and consoles from times gone-by, but in fact a full display of practically every old gaming system there ever was and others that are yet to come. There are over 250 machines to play on!
Who could possibly resist playing a game of old-fashioned pinball, the most popular arcade games, and some of the classic video consoles from when we were kids?
Personally, as a video game professional who has traveled to so many events all around the globe, I can confidently say that this ranks among the biggest and best retro game shows I have ever had the pleasure of going to. And, by the way, the old games and classic systems for sale are very reasonably priced. Nothing like the outrageous prices you will find on sites like Gamescom, where you pay more for a classic Nintendo game than you would for the latest Electronic Arts release!
Top-notch international business
There is a “secret corner” at this gaming show known as the business area. Obviously, you need a special pass to get in. Inside are some of the top investors and publishers from Spain and worldwide.
As well as the international vibe and representatives from the major multinationals, it is important to say that you will also find the hard-working locals – small developers who strive to compete by wielding the finest weapons they have: innovation and creativity.
So, whatever you are looking for, whether it’s a publisher, an investor for your studio, a developer to help you develop or complete your game, or even someone to export it onto new platforms like my company Starloop Studios, here you will find the life-long friends of the industry in a more laid-back and casual atmosphere than other shows.
On a personal note, one of the things I honestly love about the video games sector is its casual business feel and the fact that it is a relatively “small” world, so if you keep moving, you will eventually get to know everyone and truly enjoy being surrounded by all those friendly faces at these international events – including this one in Barcelona, of course.
The Starloop Studios team
Starloop Studios is a video game studio located in the Spanish city of Lleida, about 100 miles away from Barcelona, which I founded in 2011. Naturally, because it is my own company and was the first one I set up (followed by Starshot Software and Game Troopers), I have a special soft spot for it.
I feel so lucky to wake up every day with all this energy and looking forward to doing more for the company. Being part of it makes me immensely happy.
I sometimes stop for a moment and ask myself why… It’s hard to say, but I believe that one of the things that gives me the most motivation is knowing that I am fortunate enough to have surrounded myself by excellent professionals and individuals. They are so much more than just colleagues – they are wonderfully intelligent people (a quality I strongly admire) from increasingly diverse backgrounds. But above all, they are good-hearted people who love making video games more than anything else; they are honest enough to tell you the good things and the bad things straight on; they engage in making this company a better place to work, and together they help produce games that get better every day.
Essentially, the Starloop team is like a little family to me, and I feel like we should do nothing but care for our families as much as possible to keep them happy and functional.
And now, after this small insight into my mind or rather this “confession” I have shared, I would like to explain that in its little less than eight-year history, Starloop Studios has been to a considerable number of shows around the world, including Japan, Holland, Sweden, USA, France, Switzerland, Poland, Germany and many more, and since we are a relatively small company (because a team of 50 is really quite tiny in this industry), we have to choose where we go and what we do very carefully so as not to waste our resources. That said, I believe that Barcelona Games World is an event that simply cannot be missed.
You can come to Barcelona Games World in search of investors, publishers, inspiration or simply fun! Whatever you are looking for, I think this event is an absolute must.
This year, Starloop Studios sent Marc Pérez, Javier, Chang and myself to the business area. So, you could say that we’ve deployed a rather considerable amount of resources to make the very most of everything this event has to offer us.