Last month I was invited by the Dutch Trade Commissioner to participate in a Media Tour to the Netherlands in support of Dutch Gaming Industry. I accepted the invite and this is the second blog post about my experience in the Netherlands. My first post is here.
Day Two had the media bus heading to Rotterdam to drop in on game development studio Codeglue and serious gaming company Ranj. Codeglue recently won the Dutch Game Award - Best Visual Design for their THQ published Xbox Live Arcade Rocket Riot.
Ranj showcased their three most popular serious games for the media contingent with Hollywood-style trailers for project management game Sharkworld, health industry game The Great Flu, and recruiting simulation Houthoff Buruma - The Game.
After lunch we boarded the bus and headed back to our hotel in Utrecht before walking to the epicentre of gaming in Holland - the Dutch Game Garden. First-time visitors to Holland (and particularly Utrecht as it's a University town with 30,000+ students) will be blown away by the popularity and efficiency of bicycles.
In addition to always being aware of your proximity to the nearest canal, pedestrian tourists have to be careful when crossing streets AND walking on sidewalks. Similar to the new sensation of looking the opposite way first when entering a crosswalk in the UK, visitors to Holland need to be constantly on the lookout for bicycle traffic that outnumbers everything else. You have to see it to believe it.
The Dutch gaming community has a level of government support unseen in Canada's gaming centres of Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Unlike the tax incentives the Canadian provinces dangle in front of the Ubisofts of the world, Dutch authorities are truly interested helping grow the gaming space. And the Dutch Game Garden (DGG) is a prime example.
The DGG is primarily a game company incubator that helps young entrepreneurs establish new game development studios and game related businesses. By promoting collaboration between companies, knowledge institutions and government, the DGG has solidifed Utrecht's position as most important gaming hub in the Netherlands.
Our media group had the opportunity to meet with two DGG incubator companies - Monobanda and Ronimo Games. Monobanda won both the Amsterdam Creativity Award and is responsible for GameSeeds - an innovative card game designed to lead brainstorming sessions on character and game design. Ronimo Games has captured the International spotlight with its WiiWare title Swords and Soldiers.
That's it for Day Two in Holland. Stay tuned for information on an opportunity that could take you to Holland soon and enjoy the Oranje beating Spain in the World Cup Final. Hup Holland Hup!