Hey there, fellow gamers! Ashley “ashleyriott” Blake here, and it's a pleasure to connect with you once again for another Andromeda blog. As the first quarter of 2023 comes to a close, I can't help but feel grateful for the incredible journey we've been on so far; exploring cutting-edge innovations at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), diving into the exciting world of the Game Developers Conference (GDC), and experiencing the breathtaking beauty of Reboot Develop Blue in Croatia.
So, grab your favourite beverage, get comfy, and join me in our Q1 2023 recap blog covering our highlights and looking at what’s in store.
CES: Discovering Innovations and Connecting with Professionals
CES is always a wonderland of technological innovation and this year was no exception. As I wandered the show floor, I marvelled at the advancements in not only gaming but also the broader tech industry. From next-generation AI to the latest in wearable devices, CES 2023 was a playground for tech enthusiasts and VR evangelists alike.
My favourite part of attending any industry event is connecting in person with our development teams and platform partners from around the world. It was great to see the ROTU team, our friends from Meta, and our platform partners from Pico, who were out in full force with one of the most impressive booths on the floor. I also had the chance to catch up with our representatives from Pimax and my friends from Wellplayed Studios, creators of Arcaxer
Between panels, workshops, and impromptu conversations on the show floor, I had the chance to exchange ideas and insights with some of my favourite people in the industry, and I left feeling reinvigorated and ready to tackle the exciting challenges and opportunities ahead for Andromeda Entertainment.
Celebrating the PlayStation VR2 Launch
The launch of PlayStation VR2 has been an incredible event for the gaming community. As someone who is passionate about the potential of VR technology, I want to offer my sincere congratulations to all the developers who have dedicated their time and creativity to crafting exceptional experiences on this groundbreaking platform. Your hard work is a testament to your passion and a driving force for the future of virtual reality gaming.
With advanced features like high-resolution graphics, precise tracking, and innovative eye-tracking technology, PlayStation VR2 takes immersive gaming to a whole new level. This impressive achievement highlights the growing demand for top-notch VR content and presents an enormous opportunity for developers to engage and inspire players globally.
GDC: A Stimulating and Insightful Adventure
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is always an event that fills me with inspiration and a renewed sense of passion for the gaming industry. This year's conference was a testament to the resilience and creativity of our community as we came together to learn from each other, share our experiences, and envision a bright future for gaming. As we navigated the stimulating and insightful landscape of GDC, we discovered just how much potential lies ahead, not only for Andromeda Entertainment but also for the entire industry.
"Iteration in Isolation: Finding Success as a Solo VR Developer During a Global Pandemic."
Neil Widy, a talented game developer, shared his inspiring journey of creating SolarBlack, a VR game developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Neil's dedication and perseverance turned a dream into reality, launching the game on multiple platforms after securing backing from a VR publisher--that’s us!!
Neil candidly spoke about the challenges he faced during development, including balancing a full-time job, and shared valuable lessons he learned along the way.
Aspiring VR developers in attendance walked away with key insights on time-saving tips, best practices, and project management strategies for small teams in an agile environment.
Ashley's Roundtable discussions: Combating Extremism in Video Games - Take This
I had the privilege of participating in a series of roundtable discussions hosted by Take This, a mental health nonprofit organization focused on the gaming community. Their current research project aims to create tools for studios of all sizes to better identify and combat hate and extremism in digital game spaces (you can find a complete overview of the project here).
The focus groups brought together leaders from various studios and roles to discuss the strategies being employed to maintain safe gaming environments and the challenges faced during development and implementation. This collaborative atmosphere allowed us to exchange ideas, learn from each other's experiences, and work towards a common goal: fostering healthy, inclusive, and supportive gaming communities.
We engaged in honest and productive conversations, and it was an honour to contribute my insights. I believe that initiatives like this will pave the way for a more harmonious and positive gaming landscape for all.
CXO Corner special edition: GDC coverage
To give you a glimpse into our GDC experience, we created a special edition of our CXO Corner blog series. This diary-style blog captures my day-to-day adventures at the conference, complete with exclusive photos and insights. Be sure to check it out for a behind-the-scenes look at our GDC journey!
Honouring Our NYX Awards Triumphs
According to their website, the NYX Game Awards is a prestigious international competition celebrating unmatched creativity and technical excellence in the gaming industry. We're thrilled to share that Andromeda Entertainment's titles have earned multiple accolades at the NYX Awards, a true testament to the dedication and passion of these teams. Let's take a moment to recognize their incredible achievements:
Shadowgate's unique blend of adventure and puzzle elements and its compelling debut to VR platforms after dominating the flat scene captivated the judges and earned it three prestigious Gold awards.
IRON GUARD's recent graduation from AppLab to the Meta Store and its high ratings earned it the Rising Star Gold award in the prestigious Best Game category. In addition, its innovative approach as a real-time strategy game built for virtual reality garnered a Silver award in the Meta Quest VR Game category for Strategy.
Designed by an architect with a decade of experience, Audio Trip's visually stunning levels showcase her expertise in crafting real-world locations. This rhythm dance game makes players feel like they are truly dancing and embodying the movement and sound, earning it two well-deserved Silver awards.
Lastly, our commitment to supporting and publishing outstanding games has not gone unnoticed. Andromeda Entertainment was honoured with a Silver award in the Best Publisher category, and we are humbled and invigorated.
We're incredibly proud of these achievements and grateful for the recognition. As we continue to push the boundaries of immersive gaming, we're more motivated than ever to create unforgettable experiences for players around the world.
As we look ahead to the rest of 2023, we're beyond excited to continue participating in industry events and sharing our passion for immersive gaming. Here's a sneak peek at some of the exciting happenings we have planned:
Augmented World Expo (AWE)
At the upcoming Augmented World Expo, I'll host a session titled "Feedback Can Be Fun! (And One of Your Most Important Dev Tools)." In this presentation, I'll share valuable insights into gathering and interpreting player feedback, which is crucial for creating better gaming experiences. In addition, I'll discuss best practices for soliciting feedback from players, as well as techniques for analyzing the data and applying it to improve your games.
On a personal note, I'm thrilled that my father will be attending the event and seeing our work's impact firsthand. I can't wait to share this special moment with him and show him the incredible advancements we're making in immersive gaming. His support has always meant the world to me, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share my passion and knowledge with him and the wider AWE audience.
Games for Change: Gaming for Good
Are you interested in making a positive difference in the world through gaming? Join us at the 20th Annual Games for Change Summit, where Jason Parks, CEO of ROTU, creators of Ionia and Eolia, will share his insights in his session "How immersive gaming can be used to encourage positive social change." Jason is deeply passionate about the power of games to foster empathy, awareness, and social transformation, exploring how music and gaming can work together for a profound impact.
The session will showcase real-world success stories of initiatives that have made a significant difference through immersive gaming. These stories demonstrate the enormous potential of the gaming industry to motivate players to actively shape the world around them.
Reboot Develop Blue 2023: A Beautiful Gathering
Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the breathtaking Reboot Develop Blue conference in Croatia. Set against a stunning backdrop, this event was nothing short of magical. As I mingled with fellow gaming industry professionals, it was exhilarating to exchange ideas and gain valuable insights into the future of gaming. I was thrilled to participate in various sessions and panels, as well as be a part of the three-day sailing trip.
Life, the Multiverse, & Everything
Fulfilling a long-held dream of mine, I was honoured to give a talk at Reboot Develop Blue. During my session, we dove deep into the world of XR healthcare applications and their implications for game design. I hope attendees found it as fascinating as I do to learn from the successes and shortcomings of real-world applications and get a fresh perspective on effective immersive design. We also had an open and honest discussion about the challenges and concerns surrounding emergent XR technologies, emphasizing the importance of promoting responsible & ethical practices.
The audience was everything I had dreamed of --attentive, interested, and engaged in the conversation. It was such a wonderful experience, and I'm immensely grateful to the organizers for providing me with this opportunity to share my insights with such a receptive crowd.
The State of VR Panel
I had the honour of joining Sam Watts from HTC Vive, William Hall from Meta, and Thomas Von Bouwel from Cubism on this fantastic panel moderated by the brilliant Douglas North Cook.
Panel: Preserving & Promoting Art through Economic Austerity
In this engaging panel, I joined Jorg Tittel, Julia Kenny, and our fabulous moderator Karla Reyes to discuss how the video games industry can preserve and promote artistic integrity and originality during economic turbulence and austerity.
WTF, it's 2023: Conversations we (still) need to have about being a woman in the games industry
I was proud to be part of this eye-opening panel tackling women’s ongoing challenges in the gaming industry alongside Anya Combs and Chantal Ryan, with the talented Leigh Alexander as our moderator.
Reboot Games Industry Sailing Week
What a truly unique event, combining luxury catamaran sailing with meaningful networking in the gaming industry. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Croatian Adriatic coast, we explored breathtaking islands and national parks while connecting with fellow passionate industry professionals. I feel so fortunate to have experienced this unforgettable adventure, and can't wait to share more details with you in my upcoming blog post.
Upcoming recap blog
I'm currently working on a recap blog post that will document my Reboot Develop Blue experience in more detail, so keep an eye out for it in the coming days! It will be packed with my personal photos and more details and insights on my session and panels during this beautiful gathering of passionate gaming industry experts and enthusiasts.
See you soon!
The first quarter of 2023 has been an incredible journey for Andromeda Entertainment. From our exciting experiences at CES and GDC to celebrating our NYX Awards triumphs and engaging in thought-provoking discussions at Reboot Develop Blue, we've been truly immersed in the exhilarating world of XR, emergent technology, and immersive experiences. I personally cannot wait to see what the future holds as we continue to explore the incredible potential of this medium, and we're stoked for all the exciting events and developments to come.
If you'll be attending any events or conferences I mentioned throughout this blog or know of any industry gatherings that weren’t mentioned, we'd love to connect with you! Please don't hesitate to say hello or set up a meeting with our team.
As always, feel free to contact me directly via email, or if your inquiry is more general, firstname.lastname@example.org is a great option, and we will be sure your message gets to the right place. I’m off to work on my Reboot write-up, but I thank you all for spending the time to check out this blog and hope you have a most transformative rest of your day.
Ashley 'ashleyriott' Blake | COO, Andromeda Entertainment
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