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Game commerce company Xsolla has been a good sponsor for various game events, including those held by GamesBeat. But it is going deeper in its partnership with Devcom this year.
Devcom, the game developer conference that accompanies the giant Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany, has signed a year-long strategic partnership with Xsolla, which offers services such as global payments for games. And the two companies hope it will lead to good things for game developers and creators in emerging countries.
Xsolla has been a frequent sponsor of Devcom, which will take place as an online-only event in August, for a long time. Now it will help provide strategy and logistics for the event. And it will provide the payment system for Devcom events.
“We all deal with the same kind of problems. And I’m really convinced that we can, no one of us can solve this in our little ivory tower on our own,” said Stephan Reichart, head of Devcom, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We need people that have daily business operations to tell us what they need. And we can see how we can help them to bring them there, and how to support them.”
The partnership includes the integration of Xsolla’s payment system and infrastructure as Devcom’s leading solution for all upcoming events, including the Devcom Developer Conference, the Art & Animation Summit, and upcoming Master Classes.
How it came together
“We met about a year ago and did some things together on Twitch, and the more we did together, the more we understood that we have the same position in so many things when it comes to partnerships and long-term partnerships and also in analyzing our industry,” said Reichart. “Over the last three to four months, every time when Chris was part of our games, industry insiders events, we always connected on so many levels.”
Devcom created its Call of Change summit, while Xsolla created a Game Carnival event. Both were aimed at improving diversity and helping the industry at a time when the pandemic was taking its toll.
“We need to take care of helping the industry to have healthy growth,” Reichart said.
So they talked more about going beyond a classic sponsorship but to use Xsolla’s tools with Devcom.
“The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to not just do a brand partnership, as it’s quite typical for the event industry, but connect us on many other levels,” Reichart said. “Chris is joining our strategic advisory board and so we are setting up the strategic advisory board will use this to think not only about what is going to happen in three months or six months, but to think about what is going to happen in five years from now. And how do we get there?”
More than a sponsorship
Xsolla will also be featured as the main partner for all forthcoming events, participate in Devcom channels with informative industry content and have a permanent seat on the Devcom strategic advisory board.
This allows Xsolla to bring its expertise to the table so Devcom can continue to bring relevant, meaningful content to its audiences. Xsolla can extract a lot of understanding of the game business because it works with so many companies across the industry, Hewish said.
Devcom and Xsolla have successfully collaborated in the past and anticipate this expanded partnership will lead to other similar long-term collaborations between event/content formats and globally-operating companies in the games industry. The two businesses each bring a large network of industry professionals and knowledge together and will be an example of how long-term partnerships can benefit the community as a whole.
Reichart said that the pandemic has brought drastic changes for many conference organizers in the games industry. In April last year, Devcom decided to offer year-round, weekly content rather than a digital alternative to the main annual conference.
Reichart believes that service providers like Xsolla can help the industry adapt to big changes in technology coming in the next few years.
“We’ve had a long relationship with Devcon, and they want to support the indie community all throughout Europe,” said Chris Hewish, president of Xsolla, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We have products we have to sell. But we don’t like to be out there selling, like hard selling. We’d rather get out there and show through examples or show how you can achieve some success.”
He added, “We have products that can help you. We just want the games industry to be successful, and we want to democratize gaming. We work with enterprise partners, but why not bring all of those tools to everybody, so that any developer of any size can be successful. And that sort of alignment is what really felt good about partnering up and trying to do something that was more than just a sponsorship.”
That meant that Devcom had to make a transformation from being an event organizer to becoming a content publisher. With Xsolla, Devcom now has a partner who not only sees itself as a sponsor of events, but also supports Devcom with know-how, tools, and joint strategic activities throughout the year.
Hewish said the groundbreaking modern partnership shows there is room for more than just event-related sponsorships. This partnership extends beyond a brand sponsorship to include Xsolla’s tools and industry expertise and network.
Now, using Xsolla’s system, Devcom can help address regions in different parts of the world, enabling developers in emerging regions to attend Devcom events in Europe. Devcom also has a network of 800 indie game teams that it is in touch with. This part of the partnership can help Xsolla with generating leads, Hewish said.
“We could now sell tickets to countries to developers that are simply not able to spend 299 euros for conference tickets,” Reichart said. “So we can prove that these tools that Xsolla is offering are really helpful for us as a vendor.”
“The time for one-time partnerships are over,” Reichart said. “Only then can we identify people who should talk to each other. We need to do more than just brand partnering and log visibility. We need to see how we can help the parts of the industry that need help.”
Devcom is the official Gamescom developer conference, founded in 2017, with more than 3,000 attendees in 2020. This year, the online-only event will take place from August 23 to August 27.
In 2021, Devcom also launched new formats and summits, such as the Call for Change Summit, the Tech & Tool Summit, and the Devcom Master Classes.
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