Nequinox head to XDS, Vancouver

In 2021, I attended the 9th year of XDS, a purely online event. I was so impressed with the online portal and the people I met that for 2022 it was a total no-brainer to head to Canada and meet with some of the most talented games studios in the world.

I’m fortunate to have an old friend in Vancouver who picked a weary Matt up from the airport (a 10-hour flight) but also took the time to show me some of the extraordinary scenery in the Vancouver area. You’ll see pictures of Squamish (around an hour from Vancouver), the beach, and some of the harbourfront. If you ever get to XDS, I’d thoroughly recommend a day of acclimatising and seeing some of the sights.

Preparing for the conference

XDS (External Developers Summit) celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022, and although a relative noob to the event, it was a straightforward event to prepare for. The matchmaking section of the app is good. At sign-up, attendees are invited to say what they’re looking for, so when others search for what they’re interested in, the results are essentially already qualified. There’s a pretty neat calendar function on the app too, where your appointments appear, and you can book time for the keynotes, which I was keen to do after catching just one keynote at Develop Conference in Brighton in July.

At the event

Spread across a registration session and three full days (and nights), XDS focuses on External Development. An event for those that need extra capacity and specific skillsets and the people that can provide a wide array of disciplines in video game development. There are plenty of networking opportunities and taking those meetings booked through the app, and I was determined to get a good fix of insights and inspiration from the Tedtalk-style keynotes. For me, the highlights were Sam Carlisle [Microsoft], Carla Rylance [Behaviour Interactive] and Nigel Franks [Snowed in Studios]. I’d urge anyone in the games industry to check their talks out when they become available.

The social side

With 47 countries and 800 attendees represented, you could have been forgiven for thinking it could have been very corporate and somewhat cold. That certainly wasn’t my experience. I was lucky to know a few folks at the event, but there was a genuine warmth from the people I spoke to in the coffee queue and those I met more formally.

I couldn’t make the awards ceremony on the final evening but did make the midweek social, where again I was struck by people’s warmth and friendliness, even meeting someone who grew up in the same area of Birmingham as I did.

Honestly, I think this is what you get from people who work in games. Passionate, warm and friendly people who want the world to play more. We’ll definitely be heading back for XDS2023, although we’ll be quick to snap up the tickets (this year was a sell-out!).


Matt Knott

Development Director

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