Articles Tagged with: Aalborg spilfestival 2017
Plai, a new kind of Steam

Plai is an innovative new PC game platform, aimed at those who value their time and money when it comes to buying PC games.

The system is based on the “rent-to-own” idea and will offer you the possibility to avoid paying for games you rarely play or outright never see again after buying them. With the Plai platform you pay by the hour while playing, until you reach the retail price. At that point the game has been paid off.

The project is ambitious and enters a market with few but strong competitors, such as Steam, GoG and Origin, but the team is positive that industry is ready for a change for the better. Still in development, Plai participated at Game Scope 2016 as exhibitors all four days and got good feedback from our visitors, other exhibitors and the investors. We are now looking forward to welcoming Plai to Game Scope 2017 and prepared an interview with them for Expo visitors and developers.

We had  Plai office visit together with PR crew volunteers to have a nice cup of coffee and talk a bit. 

Plai illustration

Tell us about yourself!

Frank: My name is Frank, and I am the CEO at Plai. I mainly play the business role, as I have lots of experience in entrepreneurship. I have been gaming for several years.

Tobias: My name is Tobias, and I have the CTO role in the company, which means I am the tech lead and also the person responsible for product development.

Peter: I am Peter, and my daily routine here is being a software developer. I am maintaining the product with Tobias, crunching code and being awesome.

Why did you decide to start Plai. You said you were frustrated with current situation with games?

Frank: Since I am older than these guys, I used to play totally different games than they do now. I didn’t play games for some years because I spent my time working and raising up my kids. They are a bit older now though, which means I have some spare time to get back to gaming.

For someone like me, there are clear issues with the gaming industry today, and that’s what we’re attempting to fix with Plai. I either had to spend my limited time reading reviews about a game, or take a gamble and buy a game without knowing if it was anything for me.

Tobias: There are so many games now. It can be difficult to navigate the marketplace and discover games that you’ll enjoy, if you don’t put in the time. Being able to spread out your gaming budget and try games for yourself without putting down lots money gives you more flexibility while still supporting all the game developers that provide you entertainment.

Peter: My angle on this is – I am a hardcore gamer. I have lot of games, but I hardly ever play like 90% of them. I don’t play these games, but I paid the full price for them. And it is frustrating, when you go and realize how much money you have thrown out.

What is the difference between Plai and Steam?

Tobias: Steam is a huge entity, and many see it as synonymous with PC gaming, us included. All of us at Plai have Steam accounts, and have had for a long time. Plai is our way of offering an alternative to what Steam does, for people who prefer to consume their games in another way than what the mainstream platforms offer.

Frank: The spirit of Plai is flexibility and simplicity. You can go directly into the shop, find the game you want, start playing it, and only pay for the time you have played. When you have played enough to reach the retail price of the game, you have paid it off. You can then play it freely, as you’re used to with other platforms.

Is it both benefitial to customers and the developers, that people just don’t refund them on instant?

Tobias: Refunds are obviously an essential part of taking care of your customers. We feel, however, that Pay-as-you-Play is a much more sustainable way of doing “try-before-you-buy” than doing full refunds. The game developers will get paid, and you didn’t spend all your money on a game that wasn’t your cup of tea.

When we attended E3 in Los Angeles this year, we had the opportunity to talk to lots of publishers and game developers who were on board with Pay-as-you-Play. They’ll be able to expose their games to a whole new group of gamers who would love to play them, but aren’t willing to buy them at retail price.

We were following your journey to E3. What was your general impression of E3?

Peter: It was huge for us to go to E3. We talked to lots of people, and were amazed at the size and spectacle of the show. Although the “old timers” told us that compared to previous years, this show wasn’t that big. But for us it was.

I can magine the lines to try out the games and products…

Frank: Yes, we would have loved to try some of the games, but we had meetings, so we weren’t prepared to spend 3 hours in the queue to play for 20 minutes. Also, this was the first year when the show was totally open to the public, so the lines were even longer than previous years.

Have you got any interesting deals or insights on E3?

Frank: We went there with no expectations. We had some meetings with publishers, and they were actually pretty excited about Plai. We got some pretty neat deals with some medium to large sized publishers. Nothing is signed yet, but they were all happy to do business with us. We were really surprised at how little effort it took to get the publishers on board.

Have you met some people who are there purely for business, that don’t make games, but just sell them?

Peter: All the people we met at E3 are very passionate about gaming, and that’s what makes this industry so awesome! We didn’t meet anybody that didn’t seem interested in gaming and only interested in doing business.

You were at Game Scope last year, was it to try out the waters?

Peter: We went there with a proof-of-concept version of the platform, so we could ask people for feedback, and gauge the interest level. We got a lot of valuable honest feedback. We learned a lot about who would benefit from using Plai, and how we can make improve their gaming experience.

Are you excited to visit GameScope once again?

Frank: Of course we are excited to go to Game Scope again! It was the first event we ever attended with Plai, and from what I can see, you have expanded the show a lot! We are looking forward to meeting people from the Danish gaming industry.

One of PR Crew volunteers, Pavel, had very good questions to Plai so we decided to include them in this post.

I am one of the guys whose budget is usually somewhere around 0. So imagine I am playing a game, and I defeated a difficult boss, and my credit on Plai reached 0, and my last save was half an hour ago. What happens?

Tobias: You keep going. Right now we are experimenting with different approaches, but at the moment, your credit balance will just go negative, and then you will have to top it up.

Peter: If your credit goes negative, you’ll have to top it up to start the game again once you close it, but we never take control away from the player.

What stops me from having the PC just being on all the time?

Peter: Your balance will keep going negative. As it is now, when you sign up, you pair your account with your credit card, same as if you would pay your phone bill.

How is it pricing model is going to be? Some games take long time to finish, but they aren’t more enjoyable than other – shorter games?

Peter: For now, it is up to the publishers and developers to decide what the hourly rate for each game should be, but the more information we get about how people use the system, the better guidelines we can set, and help developers decide an optimal price point.

So for now you are letting the free market to decide?

Tobias: For now – yes. We want game prices that are good for both consumers and the publishers alike.

Thank you for your answers! Be sure to check out Plai booth at Game Scope 2017!

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Intro text and questions prepared for interview by Gergana Dimitrova

Interviewer Valerija Trane

Illustration by Slavomir Baca

Let Frederik Becker tour you through Aalborg

Okay… I’m here to chew bubblegum and provide YOU with a guide of all the wonders of Aalborg (or at least the gaming related, nerdy-type stuff), AND I’m all out of bubblegum! (You know it’s going to be good when it starts with a quote from a movie).

But no more funny-business, let’s get down to the nitty gritty… Because foretold in legends, spoken of in myths, long sought but never found, is the coming of something more. Something great. Something Game Scope.

“Game Scope is an event that gathers developers and gamers all together in what is Denmark’s biggest Games Festival”—see that’s already an excellent start, isn’t it? And to add to it, it’s completely free! So, you are coming? Good! Here are some of the things you can do while visiting! So, with no further ado, let me present, a gamer’s guide to Aalborg!

Let’s begin with the Utzon Center. The Utzon Center is a place known for conveying of present-day architectural trends mixed with the technology of today. So, if you love creativity, why not come visit and be inspired? Another place to visit is Planetstien ( Borgmester Jørgensens Vej 13) , where you’re able to walk among the planets? Planetstien presents a scale model of our solar system.

Dice ‘N Drinks is our next stop where you’re able to enjoy a sip of beer, the, or chocolate along with your bests of friends, while also playing some of your favourite board games! They have everything from Classic Jenga to Dungeons and Dragons. But if Dice ‘N Drinks is booked, why not visit Aalborg Brætspilscafé instead? Same principles, same cosy “hygge” as any Dane would say it! However, if table top games aren’t really your thing, why not visit In-The-Matrix? In-The-Matrix is an internet café where you can play an array of great games by yourself or in the company of others!

By now everyone would be starving, right? And I’ve got something special on the menu! Magikarps and lots of them! Aalborg Street Food – The Lighthouse is a restaurant with tasty food, AND it’s next to a Magikarp spawn. The place was so amazing that people actually made bead art of a Magikarp and glued to a wall. The cleverer would perhaps also have noticed that Aalborg is a pretty big city. And if you’re like me, your mind would already have gone: “POKÉMON” by the second I told you that! And you’re right! In very close proximity to all the locations I’ve mentioned, are loads of Pokéstops and Gyms.

But hold your Pokéballs for a few more paragraphs!
Now you’ve had fun, played some games, gotten drinks… Soon your stay might be at its end. You might wonder, “why!”, “how!”, and that’s normal. But you don’t want to forget it all, you don’t want it to end! Right? You want something to remind you of your great visit. Why not swing by Læsehesten?

Læstehesten is only a short walk from Dice ‘N Drinks and Aalborg Brætspilscafé, and there you’re able to buy—wait for it—PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, NDs, 3Ds, and more of your favourite games. Further, they also have older games for the older consoles, some rare and some which you wouldn’t normally stumble upon… So, go be amazed!
But Læsehesten hasn’t only got games! “Wait it has more?” YES!—wait for it—they also have movies, DVDs and Blu-rays, comics, novels, toys, music, LPs and CDs… You can thank me later.
Well, I want to end with something amazing. Geeks Gone Wild. Even the name sounds cool enough to be awesome—and trust me, it’s only going to become more awesome! GGW  ( Willy Brandts Vej 31)  is a “computer club” in their own words. However, something that only started as a mutual interest in “net parties” and games, a mere club, became the biggsest LAN-party in North Jutland. They’ve now taken over Gigantium, and they have an event the 12th of January.

There. You won’t get a better ending to any guide about games than the biggest gaming event in North Jutland.
Now go catch Pokémons and play games!

eSports – a growing entertainment channel

Young people at the age of 12-35, men and women, boys and girls, are becoming more and more interested in eSports and gaming.

With more than 600,000 Danes watching eSports, the platform has grown to become one of the main channels for entertainment today.

In the digital world that we live in, and with the new ways of being social, it is only natural that a platform such as eSports has taken a hold amongst young men and women.

Since it offers the opportunity for people to combine their interests in games with the social interaction among a large group of people with shared interests, eSports has created an enormous and global community.

The trend started back in the 90’s where the offline events and LAN parties was where they met to form a social bond. But with today’s technology, the world has become smaller as people are defying the geographical boundaries and are increasingly finding their social group online.

This evolution of gaming has led to a serious growth in the number of gamers, viewers and investments from companies especially.

Just like one former generation idolized Rock & Roll and Elvis and the next one loved football and Messi, this generation has grown up in a digital world where they can even interact with the role models that they have in eSports.

Sponsoring eSports is therefore a way for companies to not merely have people see their logo, but to become supporters of an idol or an experience that their target group is extremely passionate about.

With opportunities both offline and online, eSport marketing provides a non-invasive yet direct channel to a target group that is extremely loyal to the companies who succeed in branding themselves in eSports.

This young target group has a filter that detects and eliminates the noise from any traditional marketing such as TV-ads, pop-ups etc.

Through the interactive marketing in eSports the younger generations barrier to advertising is broken through and companies can create relations with their target group.

At Saturday 19th of August in Skråen foyer Go Esport is holding a talk about how to earn money in eSport 

Written by Mikkel Golding Faaborg from Go-eSport

Photo with controller by Olichel Adamovich

Photo with crowd by Jakob Wells

Bedtime Digital games: amazing office with amazing minds

Bedtime Digital Games are one of the most known and respected game developers in Denmark. Their student project grew into well-known game Back to Bed 3 years ago, was translated into 9 languages, was top downloaded game amongst different platforms and has unique art style reminiscent of paintings of Dali.

Now the studio is at the stage of finalizing production on their game Figment – a beautiful surrealistic experience with music and game sounds that are an essential part of the gameplay. Visitors of Game Scope Expo 2017 will be able to experience it themselves before the game goes out on Steam and other platforms.

To accommodate all staff Bedtime Digital Games switched locations a few times in the last few years, though all offices were located in Aalborg.

Bedtime Digital Games gave a fair share of interviews and got asked all sorts of questions so instead of asking more questions we decided on an office tour and just to have a chit chat with lovely Emelie Mavel and later on Jonas Byrresen.

Right now they are located in one of the old houses at Ved Stranden where they are renting a quite charming loft space. To get there you will have to take stairs up and that is a quite a workout already. At the entrance to the office, before opening the door, there are a lot of shoes and coat stand for visitors and members of the studio which already gave an impression like we were entering flat rather than the office. Inside we were greeted by producer of Bedtime Digital Games Emilie and she showed us around.

The office is right under the roof and has two levels of open working space. Later on, we were told that currently there are two teams working on two projects, one of which is Figment and another one will be announced quite soon. Each team occupies their own level and then if a person is transferred to another team, they move to the level their team is on. Entrance is located on the second level and right next to it is small and cozy meeting room where Bedtime Digital Games has meetings with visitors. Behind the open working space, there is a small project meeting room with the impressive white board covered in colorful sticky notes that seem to be easiest and most useful way of buzzing ideas and plans.

Stairs to the first level have some Back to Bed artwork on the walls, as a reminder of the first successful project. Figment level has more people than the other projects and people are working hard on polishing the game. At this point, the game is at bug tracking and fixing stage, so everyone is focused and very busy. Some desks on both floors are empty, but not as much as you would expect during Danish vacation season. No one is held there against their will, studio members are very against people overworking themselves because that not only negatively influences studio culture, but in the end, there is very little gain from it.

Here is where we met lead Game Designer & Co-Founder Jonas Byrrensen who joined us on our little office tour and was a very engaging in conversation. While having a nice chit chat we were shown a big blue sofa with consoles where on Fridays studio members play games not only for entertainment but also for research purposes. It does look like once a game developer – always a game developer.

Another notable part of this level is the dining area which is a big long table for all members to sit together at and enjoy a meal. A little fireplace close to has trophies and awards for Figment and Back to Bed on it. There is no wall of fame or place dedicated to trophies. Some awards are on the fireplace mentioned before, some on the window behind Jonas desk.

I couldn’t help but still ask Jonas few questions by the end of the visit before letting him and Emilie get back to work on their projects.

Do you have design manual or document for your games with unique style?

Jonas: We have a game design manual. But it is not as extended as it could be, I have all games details and development details in my head, so it is easy for me from the get go to give the reasoning behind some decisions or tell why a thing was done in that particular way. New interns and people who join project later seem to pick up the overall game direction by themselves. We are going to make extended design manual, it just seems there no need for it now.

A studio like yours are invited to different conventions, why did you decide to go to the yet not so well known Game Scope last year?

Jonas: I really like the idea of the convention that is about gaming culture in general. We already have big conventions like E3 that are about games only. Actually, me and Thomas ( editor’s note: Thomas Lykke Larsen – Game Scope project manager ) were the ones who came up with Game Scope festival idea. When he decided to go with this idea to Business Aalborg he invited me to the meeting as a game developer who would be pretty much interested in a festival like Game Scope.

You’ve been at different conventions around the world and I bet you answered this question many times, but let me ask again. What advice do you give to young game devs?

Jonas: Don’t work too much on your project. I mean Back to Bed was our student project. I would go back to change a lot of things and rework it. Situations like these are tricky, you can end up working on your game so long that instead of improving it, you are going to make something that is completely different from what you intended in the beginning.

I better let you back to work work. Thank you for your time, Emilie and Jonas!

We spent some time taking photos and talking a bit more before leaving, which was quite hard since the place and people were very hyggelige and seeing their work was quite mesmerizing.

Figment is going to be available at Game Scope 2017 expo grounds, the development team will be busy improving the game before release on Steam and Nintendo Switch, but they will find a time to attend our festival, which we do appreciate a lot!

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Text and interview by Valerija Trane

Mind Bulb: using Game Scope as testing playground

It’s been almost 10 years now since ‘Flights of Fancington’, the all-time best soap opera show, went off the air and yet to this day the war still rages on amongst the fanbase over the most important question of the century: Which character was the fanciest?  

Mind Bulb continue to work on their game SOPARA. In this game, you get to play as the elite of Fancy Town and fight your friends in the style of the grandest of soap operas. We sat down for a cup of coffee and a small interview with creators of the game Anders L. Christensen and Mads Reedtz.

Before we start on asking about SOAPRA, I want to ask you, how you met each other?

Mads: We met each other quite a few years ago in high school.
Anders: We had similar friends and as they started to move away to different places for studies and schools. Mads and I were only one left in Aalborg.

Quite expected question for people like you, but what was the first tabletop you fell in love with?

Mads: For me, that game would always be Munchkin.
Anders: * very conflicted what to choose* Munchkin is sorta to go answer, but I will simply choose other game, just because. That game for me would be Pandemic. It’s wonderfully designed and I can create a big list of great things in this game.

Why did you decide to create a tabletop game in the first place?

Anders: Because we are too incompetent to make a video game *chuckles*.
Mads: Well it was an old dream of mine since I was a kid to design computer games, but as I grew older I realized that is not going to be my niche. But I had a very mechanically geared mind to create games rules and concepts, so tabletop came out as a natural choice.

So Ander’s story comes from being incompetent and Mads from wanting to make games as a kid?

Anders: No! For me it comes a bit from an academic place, I learned to make games and got accepted for the semester in DADIU ( The National Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment ). What really fascinated me about tabletop games that mechanics tell the story.

You came up with this really interesting concept of the tabletop SOAPRA. Was it a result of trying to make different board games or it was a solid idea from day one?

Mads: SOAPRA was born on my internship at Dragon’s Lair. It is a great place to get inspired, board games everywhere and a lot of nerd gear. I thought I want to make a game where you play another player as much as you play the game. I couldn’t tell why it had to be set up in soap opera, but Looking back it seems like an obvious choice. What frame of reference will people in the 20th century have where you always to be mean to each other and lie to each other.

How you introduced an idea to Anders?


Anders: I am not sure if it was same day or a day after
Mads: As a Mind Bulb Games, before we even had this name, we developed quite a few games and had roleplaying game in the works. Since all projects looked big and ambitious, we decided to go with something of smaller scale and chose to work on SOAPRA. It has a target audience and development process seemed to be faster than it actually came out to be later.

What came first: SOAPRA or Mind Bulb (studio name)?

Anders, Mads : Mind Bulb!

Why you chose British family instead of going with stereotypical Spanish/ Italian family from soap operas?

Mads: I honestly think it’s my fault. When I think of excessive wealth, I don’t think about someone smart like Bill Gates, I think of some old pompous British family. And in my head it just seemed to fit the idea more.

What can you say about Game Scope experience last year?

Anders: We didn’t expect people to receive our game so well and all Game Scope staff was really nice and accommodating, the crew just did it’s best. It was overwhelming since we had first play test of updated edition 2 days prior Game Scope. The experience was phenomenal. Even though we presented a prototype, no one looked down at us. And we got a lot of feedback which will go on the edition you available to test out at the Game Scope Expo 2017.

Are you going to prepare in advance this year?

Mads, Anders: Definitely! We want to have play test a month before the event. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for that.

Thank you for your answers!

Be sure to follow Mind Bulb’s game SOAPRA  Facebook page to receive updates about the game’s development.

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Text and interview by Valerija Trane