gamescom Congress: Innovation with Games
On Wednesday 22nd August, The Marketing Catalysts founder and CEO AC Coppens took to the stage at gamescom Congress in Cologne to moderate a series of talks at the cutting edge of games, media and technology. As Europe’s leading conference for disruptive and interdisciplinary applications of games, the event brought together a number of high-profile speakers, industry experts and researchers working across emerging technologies and sectors undergoing rapid digitalization. AC served as stage host for the track ‘Innovation with Games’, one of the most diverse conference tracks at the Congress, covering AI, gamified healthcare, blockchain and cybersecurity.
Magic Leap’s Aleissia Laidacker and Brian Schwab opened the track to share the highly secretive, billion-dollar AR startup’s work on artificial intelligence and its drastic impact on interaction in games, and with technology more broadly. A panel with representatives from Germany’s top children’s broadcasters further explored the future of interaction from the perspective of games and media’s youngest and most vulnerable viewers.
After lunch, the Games and Health Block in collaboration with the Federation of German Industries’ Digital Health initiative kicked off with a keynote from pharmacist and entrepreneur Dr. Ursula Kramer. Founder and President of HealthOn, an online platform and organisation dedicated to increasing the transparency and quality of digital health apps in Germany, Dr. Kramer shared a big-picture view of the growing role of games in the digital healthcare market.Ulrich Schulze-Althoff, Director of Kaasa Health, followed this with a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to bring a health game to the market and meet strict regulatory standards. Moritz Queisner, a researcher working with Charité Berlin’s Future Lab, gave a 360° view of VR and MR in surgical practice, and digital media expert Maria Scham shared insights into children’s health game HemoHeroes developed by leading global pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
AC then moderated a panel discussion that brought Dr. Ursula Kramer and Ulrich Schulze-Althoff into conversation Nicole Schlautmann, Director of the Department for Rare Diseases at Pfizer. Under the title ‘Games und Health: Menschlich, bewegend, erfolgversprechend’, the panel discussion deepened insights from the block’s talks through critical angles of discussion, from ethical concerns around patient privacy and safety in health games, to the status quo of both clinical and market research, the funding and development landscape, as well as the potential impact of new technologies on the horizon.
After a short break, the track’s final, future-oriented block was opened with a talk by Micky Maher, Head of Revenue at Axiom Zen. Axiom Zen is the innovation studio responsible for Cryptokitties, the infamous, world-first blockchain game that allows users to breed, collect and trade digital cats. Whereas Maher’s talk highlighted the revolutionary significance of blockchain for the gaming, the following talk with Imperva’s Ben Herzberg considered the critical importance of another technological shift for the games industry — the growing threat of cybersecurity attacks. Finally, design and UX researcher Fabian Hemmert concluded the track with a fascinating talk on the future of games powered by experimental human-computer interaction design principles that make use of a growing range of interfaces, from voice control to VR and motion sensors.
Many thanks to Booster Space, the creators behind gamescom Congress — we were thrilled to play a part in this thought-provoking event!