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Preview: Game Connection

A selection of industry execs on why they're heading to Lyon this month

Game Connection is well-known for its 'speed-dating' meetings system, and has cemented a place on the calendar not just in its original location of Lyon, France - but also now alongside other key events, such as GDC and E3.

This year the Lyon edition is expanding to include a project pitching session and other elements - but the meetings element remains the key focus, and here we find out from a number of industry executives why they'll be there this month.

Q Why do you use Game Connection as a meeting platform?

For us, having sat on the developer side of the fence at Game Connection, we know how seriously the event is taken - the amount of effort and focus the meetings have and the fact that GDC follows a few short months later, meaning that follow-up conversations can have real drive and purpose.

It also helps that it's perhaps the best-organised and most efficient way of conducting a tonne of really useful meetings in such a short time. We've not attended a better event, pure and simply.

Martyn Brown, business development director and co-founder, Team 17

We use Game Connection because it's a dedicated business development event. You meet with developers in a really efficient way - quick-fire thirty minute meetings without any distractions.

The online meeting system that automatically generates schedules is a massive time-saver and allows you to learn a lot about a company before the actual meeting, helping to avoid wasted meetings. I've been coming to the event since 2004 so I know that it delivers.

Caspar Gray, acquisitions manager, Square Enix Europe

I like using Game Connection as a meeting platform. It's a great way to meet a large number of developers that I may not normally have the opportunity to meet with as they may not have a contact within Microsoft Game Studios.

This is especially relevant to indie developers - Xbox Live Arcade and Live on Windows Phone are constantly looking to partner with smaller indie developers in addition to our more established partners, so this is a good venue for that to happen.

Cherie Lutz, senior business development manager, Microsoft Game Studios

Q What are you looking for from potential clients this year, specifically?

We don't attend Game Connection to find something in particular. We're there to scout out great titles to publish or discover an amazing talented team for future work for hire, for example.

But Game Connection is also an opportunity for us to stay in touch with all our partners and to keep our eyes on the trends in independent development.

Sébastien Tasserie, business development manager (Europe/Asia-Pacific), Ubisoft

We are looking for projects for all platforms, from mobile smart phones to downloadable console to console and handheld retail products. We have a strong focus on an acquisitions initiative where Konami is looking to distribute or co-publish fully or partially funded games in addition to the traditional acquisition of developer IP.

Careen Yapp, VP of acquisitions and franchise development, Konami

As a platform holder we always looking for games that are a bit different; we want to see ideas and concepts that stand out from the crowd and can, as such, bring a new dimension to the platform. We have a large internal development network so we don't really have the work for hire requirements a multi-platform publisher may have.

For me personally it's all about focus. Whatever the size and scope of the game I want to see a pitch that clearly nails what the game is all about, what makes it stand out and what will make people want to play it.

Pete Smith, XDev Studio Europe, SCEE

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Phil Elliott

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