CEO at Super Crowd Entertainment Wolf Lang talked about making an online game conference and discussed the consequences of the pandemic for the industry.
My name is Wolf Lang and I’m CEO of Super Crowd Entertainment, which was founded in 2018. Originally I’m an Indie Game Developer and founded the game studio THREAKS with my partners in 2011. Apart from Hamburg Games Conference, I think our most recognized event is the Indie Arena Booth, which is the biggest shared developer booth in the world.
Last year, when the pandemic hit we created, with Indie Arena Booth Online, the first Multiplayer Online Showcase at Gamescom 2021, and won the Heart of Gamescom award. After Gamescom, we further developed our online event framework for our own community convention, MAG. With the addition of a meta-game design and gamification elements, we were able to bring up the average visitor time to 2 hours! With Hamburg Games Conference we wanted to prove that our “Secret Online Event Formula” also works great for B2B events, so we introduced native video calls to our platform. In the next weeks, we have a big announcement to make which will take our framework to the next level.
Super Crowd Company
Working as a Game Developer at THREAKS, we saw how it was always really hard for indies to get attention at games shows, and also booth space was basically not affordable. With the Indie Arena Booth at Gamescom, it was affordable for the first time to exhibit and be part of the biggest entertainment show in the world. Each year the concept grew with more and more developers attending. In 2019 we even won Best of Booth of Gamescom among 1000+ exhibiting companies. This success was only possible when we started doing the Indie Arena Booth full-time with our newly founded company, Super Crowd Entertainment in 2018. We joined forces with the former boss of Gamescom, Boris Lehfeld, and the German Streamer pioneers from PietSmiet. This combination also led to having our own convention in Erfurt, the MAG Community Convention.
Consequences of the Pandemic
It was the third year of Super Crowd and our three main events, Indie Arena Booth, MAG, and Hamburg Games Conference, had very successful shows. Therefore by March 2020 we had our books fully planned and were hoping it would be a smooth ride. Then by mid-April, it became apparent that Gamescom would be canceled (as a physical event), so our plans for the Indie Mega Booth and our inspirations from overseas, went into hibernation. I was really worried and sad for a week, worrying that everything would fall apart, but then we got back on our feet and asked ourselves what we could do. So we set up a game jam at the end of April 2020 with a lot of trusted developer friends to come up with a new product. In my vision, it would have been a single-player experience, but one of our best coders Henning Steinbock was able to apply online multiplayer capabilities into the first Indie Arena Booth Online Demo, and the rest is history.
The biggest challenge has been developing and pitching events that haven’t been done like this before. Most of our ideas are developed on the fly, and we don’t have the documentation yet to show the partners and clients how cool they will be in practice – for example, the native video calls in our game world. Luckily we work with partners that trust our expertise and our passion to deliver outstanding events that we would also attend ourselves. We know there is a big hype on online events at the moment, and we benefit from it a lot, but there are so many positive aspects to online events that we know they won’t be going away any time soon. What Super Crowd is actually most excited about is developing awesome hybrid conventions that would combine on and offline design mechanics to give consumers and industry professionals from around the world a chance to enjoy some outstanding events.