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Chapters: Europe: Switzerland


WELCOME TO THE IGDA SWITZERLAND CHAPTER


The IGDA Switzerland Chapter is committed to helping local developers foster connections with the international game development community—particularly through the organization of nationwide “microtalk” events around topical themes as well as guest workshops. We value inclusion and diversity and advocate on behalf of all individuals in the #swissgames community. Connect with us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

What is an IGDA Chapter?

An IGDA chapter is a local component of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and is one of the primary ways that the IGDA supports the global game development community. Run by volunteer leaders and supported by the IGDA’s international headquarters, a chapter represents the IGDA locally and advances the organization's mission in its designated region.


The IGDA affiliation helps IGDA Switzerland to attract members, fundraising, bring in speakers for events, and creating alliances with other organizations or the regional government. Additionally, we have access to the international IGDA community, so that Chapter events and programs can be broadcast to IGDA members and promoted by other IGDA Chapters and Special Interest Groups around the world.


What We Do

Our microtalk events serve as platforms for postmortems, lectures, play-testing, and general discussion about the business of studying, making and publishing games. In the past we have hosted microtalk events around game music, death and consequence, empathy, and diversity in game design, featuring remote presentations by distinguished developers like Masaya Matsuura (PaRappa the Rapper, Vib-Ribbon, et al.), Jenova Chen (Flower, Journey, et al.), We Are Müesli (Venti Mesi, SIHEYU4N, et al.), Mike Laidlaw (Dragon Age series) and Josh Larson (That Dragon, Cancer). We have also hosted guest workshops, including pitching training and publishing by the likes of James Schall, VP of of Digital Distribution at SEGA Europe, and game development with Assassin’s Creed founding members Andréane Meunier and Stephane Assadourian.

 

Our speaker line-up for the Empathy and Diversity micro-talk event featuring speakers based in the U.S., Italy, Mexico and Switzerland.


Everybody is welcome to our events—from curious individuals, students, academics, to seasoned game developers—for the opportunity to hang out, meet old friends and make new ones. Our events are kindly supported by the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia. You can follow Pro Helvetia’s game industry channel on Twitter. We also regularly collaborate with Game Developers Suisse Romande meet-up in Lausanne, the Swiss Game Center in Fribourg.

WHO WE ARE

The IGDA Switzerland Chapter is proud to have a diverse and nationwide team. We work to a flat management structure, where everybody has an equal say and equal opportunity. However our formal titles are as follows:

 

Board Members:

Martina Hugentobler (Zurich) @MaHugentobler

Qui Cung (Fribourg) @Qui_Cung

Chris Solarski (Winterthur) @SolarskiStudio


IGDA board members must have valid IGDA membership. In exchange for their contribution to the organisation, they are given support to attend international events as ambassadors of the Swiss Chapter and #swissgames.

Board Duties

Members of the board have the following primary responsibilities:

 

  • Organize nationwide microtalk events and workshops around topical themes with the support of Pro Helvetia and local sponsors

  • Encourage local developers to become IGDA members

  • Events should consist of local developers and international guests speaking remotely; especially encouraged are collaborations with with regional IGDA Chapters

  • Events should be recorded and distributed on Discord wherever possible, to increase the viewership beyond those who could physically attend

  • Reach out to local game-related events to secure discounts for the IGDA community in exchange for promotion

  • Organize an IGDA booth at local game-related events, where a cycling roster of games by IGDA members from around the world can be hosted

Chapter Goals

While the Swiss Game Developers Association (SGDA) champions #swissgames on a political level, IGDA Switzerland promotes and addresses the needs of individual game developers in their day-to-day practise. The following are initiatives that the Chapter is currently supporting, which are based on the IGDA’s global initiative and the needs of local developers:

 

  • Building a nationwide team of board members and volunteers—representing all corners of Switzerland

  • Promoting diversity and inclusivity in game development as well as actively challenging cases of sexism

  • Sustainability of #swissgames, including pitch training, business management and global marketing

  • Promoting #swissgames by broadening relations between local develoeprs and the international community

Chapter Elections

Fundamentally, Chapters exist for the good of the IGDA Membership and the local game development community. Therefore, Chapters are required to hold elections. Elections allow IGDA members to have a voice in their chapter’s leadership. Being elected (or re-elected) by your IGDA peers affirms that the community believes in your impact and leadership and in the Board’s direction of the Chapter.

Voting is scheduled to occur on the 25th May (or the nearest convenient date) each year. To ensure a fair election system, voting will be conducted via an online system to ensure that 100% of IGDA members have an opportunity to vote—irrespective of their location and their ability to pay for the high costs of travel in Switzerland. 

THE #SWISSGAMES INDUSTRY

The Swiss game development industry is comparatively small alongside the U.K. and France, for instance, which are home to some of the biggest studios like Rockstar and Ubisoft. This can partially be attributed to Switzerland's small size and its late start in the field. The semblance of an actual community is arguably 8 years old, dating back to 2010 and Pro Helvetia's Game Culture program, which was instrumental in coordinating all the individuals with Swiss connections working in and around games at home and abroad. Since then Switzerland has experienced tremendous success.


Anybody following @gameculture_ch on Twitter—Pro Helvetia's game news channel—will witness a constant stream of successes from prize winning indie games at the prestigious GDC Best in Play awards, to game-related technology being bought by the likes of Steven Spielberg, and Apple. It's why companies like Facebook, Disney, and Magic Leap recognise the excellence of Swiss research in visual computing and have set-up offices in Switzerland. For a small country we've managed to make a big impact on the international scene.


Around 80 startups in Switzerland are involved in the development of video games. The industry had an estimated turnover of 50 million Swiss francs in 2017. Studios are mainly concentrated in Zurich, Lausanne and Geneva. Notable game development studios and game-related technology providers include: GIANTS Software, Opticale, apelab, Stray Fawn Studio, EverdreamSoft, Playables, Disney Research, Artanim, Ink Kit Studio, and CtrlMovieGame development bachelor’s programs are run at University of Lausanne GameLab (UNIL GameLab), HEAD Media in Geneva, EPAC in Saxon, SAE Geneva and SAE Zurich, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK), the University of Luzern, and the Game Technology Center at ETH. However, a wider network of academics and game-related studies exists with a full list available on request. Organisations like Pro Helvetia, Alp ICT and swissnex continue to offer significant support to help the local game development community create a sustainable industry—offering business and publishing workshops, development grants, international promotion and national events like the Ludicious Zurich Game Festival, gameZfestival, and Zurich Game Show.


However, with some exceptions, video games are still seen as somewhat of a hobby industry by the Swiss press and government, which hinders the country's ability to build a strong infrastructure to complement the creative and technical talent that already exists. What's missing is a complete gaming ecosystem that includes a comprehensive network of game publishers, game-orientated collaboration spaces and pro-gaming investors and press. A home-grown game development ecosystem would mean that Swiss developers become less reliant on international business connections, while increasing their ability to attract the best talent from around the world.


The Swiss Game Developers Association (SGDA) is the Swiss gaming industry's political representative with a focus on facilitating pro-video game legislation and government funding. But it's an ongoing, concerted effort that demands the community works together—including the IGDA Switzerland Chapter, and grassroots meet-ups like Game Developers Suisse Romande, and Gamespace, to name just a few. In March 2018, the Swiss Federal Council acknowledged the game industries cultural value, promising new initiatives and funding opportunities. Swiss publisher, Ibex Games, has also been formed with the promise of addressing the specific needs of #swissgames developers.

BECOME AN IGDA MEMBER

Becoming an IGDA member, comes with local and international benefits, including:

 

  • The opportunity to leverage a global network over 150 IGDA Chapters and Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

  • Access to exclusive IGDA knowledge

  • Career help via the IGDA Career Center and events like the IGDA Mentor Café

  • Discounts that include 25% on Unity Plus and 10% on Unity Pro; 10-30% on passes to major industry events around the world such as Nordic Game, Casual Connect, GDC, and DICE, to name a few; and 10% on the GDC Vault

 

Click here to become a member. To join this Switzerland Chapter group you must be a registered IGDA member and signed into the site. Click "Sign In" in the upper right corner next to the search bar and login to continue. Then return to this page and click the "join" icon above the header image.

ABOUT THE IGDA

The IGDA is the world’s largest membership association for game developers. Our mission is to make game development a sustainable, fulfilling career for anyone with the desire and aptitude to pursue it. We have Chapters on six continents and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) led by developers around the world, all dedicated to supporting game developers at every stages of their career.

 

From aspirational game developer to veteran, hobbyist to expert, we work to help game developers worldwide by advocating for the interests of game developers, promoting constant improvement of the craft of game development, and, most importantly, connecting our members with their peers. We work to empower every game developer to impact their career and the industry, and Chapters and SIGs are some of the most important resources available to IGDA members and the game development community at large.

 

The IGDA is a non-profit membership organization, registered as a 501(c)6 entity in the United States. Learn more about the IGDA at www.igda.org/about.

IGDA Code of Ethics and Zero Tolerance Policy

The IGDA wishes to promote respect in the gaming community at large. Please inform us if something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, no matter how minor it seems. Harassment includes offensive verbal comments or attitudes related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, and religion. In particular, if there are ever any aspects of our events including our communication, artwork, performances, game selection, event partners which you feel are offensive or makes you uncomfortable.


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Simon Rozner joined the group Chapters: Europe: Switzerland.
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