From Manchester to Montreal

This November, our Development Director, Matt Knott, headed to the Montreal International Games Summit (MIGS) an annual event held in the vibrant city of Montreal for games industry professionals.
Here’s his account of his week in Montreal…

Whilst I’d never been to MIGS before, my expectations were high. More than 1000 delegates open to meeting on the meettomatch app, and over 500 organisations listed, including globally recognised games developers and publishers, all coming together in a city renowned for being a hotbed of game development.

The event didn’t disappoint.

The opening cocktail reception lacked erm… cocktails (note to the organiser… that was a bit disappointing). There was an opportunity to try local delicacy, Poutine, a stodgy mix of fries, gravy and curds which is worth a try. It’s a very tasty, homely meal. I was advised by the local contingent that it tasted even better around 2 in the morning.

MIGS stretches across an entire top floor of the Bonsecours Market and includes a conference space with insightful talks from studios like Behaviour Interactive, Keywords and many more. A vibrant Indie area hosted some fun emerging games from studios in the region and further afield (Europe was well represented). The expo of gaming tech and external game development companies was intimate and friendly.

One of the highlights of the event was the networking opportunities, I met dozens of people (thankfully, who spoke very good English) whose warmth and friendliness created a sense of community. For those who didn’t get to the oversubscribed XDS this year, MIGS provided an excellent opportunity to meet in person, it has an entirely different vibe but is still a significant platform to talk business. I’d congratulate the organisers as this is not easy to create.

Montreal is a vibrant city (even when freezing cold – see snowy picture) with a bustling downtown and the old port area where MIGS is based has some fabulous venues and secret speakeasies. There was plenty of aprés-expo with new friendships being formed over a meal or even over a game of Dice!

I was lucky to be able to call upon some kind locals and arrange some studio tours as well, studios with global reach and smash hit games. I’m always curious about the spaces where great art is created and how those environments aid their success. They really live their game brands.

As the curtain fell on MIGS 2023, I left with a renewed sense of hope for the industry. 2023 has been a tough year for people, but from the conversations I’ve had, 2024 promises to be more stable, a year of gradual recovery from 2023 and emerging game platforms and technology.

Au revoir Montréal. À l’année prochaine

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