-The initiative, backed by the Provincial Council of Álava, the Basque Government and Euneiz University, will bring to the Basque capital almost a dozen of the world’s leading experts in this industry which already generates, in Spain alone, an annual turnover of more than 1.1 billion euros

-Over the next two months the participating teams will develop their projects with themes as diverse as health, sports, Basque myths and legends, card games and football

The third edition of the Vitoria-Gasteiz F2P Campus has begun today in the capital of the Basque Country. This initiative, promoted by the Provincial Council of Álava, the Basque Government and Euneiz University, is the first after the pandemic hiatus, with five teams selected from applicants from all over the world who, over the next two months, will work on the creation of new free-to-play videogames. The Deputy General of Álava, Ramiro González; the Basque Government’s Minister for Culture and Linguistic Policy, Bigen Zupiria; the President of Euneiz, Jordi Roche; and the Director of the F2P Campus, Raúl Herrero, have welcomed the teams from the USA, Canada and Barcelona. This year’s selection once again highlights the significant international progression of this event in the industry, as with just three editions it has managed to attract the attention of professionals from various countries and continents. The F2P Campus also has the support of the Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council, the Vital Foundation and the Euskaltel Foundation, in addition to the collaboration of Basquegame and Game BCN and the management support of BIC Araba.

From today, all the teams will be setting up their work areas in the space reserved in the new facilities that Euneiz University is opening this year in Salburua’s Vital Building. From here they will accelerate their respective projects with the advice and support of almost a dozen leading experts in the field, who will visit the campus between now and September 18, the date scheduled for the campus’ completion. Among these gurus of the industry are names such as:

– Javier Barnes: Product Manager at King, one of the most recognized companies in this field, with extensive experience in companies such as Gameloft and Social Point. He is a specialist in game economics and free-to-play monetization.

-Min Woo Ryu: He comes from South Korea and currently works at Ten Birds Corp. With years of experience including companies such as Nexon and Devsister. His area of expertise in videogames is concept creation and development management. 

-Fran Bravo: This Venezuelan is Product and Live Operations Manager at Zeptolab, another leading company. He has an extensive international career in the videogame industry that includes major videogame developers such as Gameloft and DeNA. 

-Guillaume Verlinden: Of French origin, he has been Vice President of Product at Social Point and Tilting Point, and has worked for other major studios in the industry. 

Mathias Royer: This Frenchman is General Manager of the Barcelona studio of the international company, Tilting Point. He will focus on the experience of managing a product and how we can get players to come and play our game. 

-Manel Sort: He created from scratch, in Barcelona, the largest studio of the multinational King, which has grown to have more than 800 employees. His experience goes back many years to Digital Chocolate. He is now the founder of G4AL Entertainment, where he is leading the blockchain revolution in videogames. 

Other experts who have already become well acquainted with the campus will also return to Vitoria-Gasteiz, such as:

Joony Koo:  Also Korean and with a long career including, notably, a stint at Com2uS. He is one of the pioneers in the development of free-to-play games. He is also a pioneer and expert in the use of blockchain and NFTs in videogames. Now he focuses on Web 3.0 and the creation of virtual communities.

-Eugene Yailenko: He is Creative Director at Zeptolab and is an expert in, and brilliant designer of, free-to-play game mechanics. He will focus on how to achieve a fun and economically viable game design. 

-Isabel Tallos: Founder of the successful independent studio Everguild who works with the well-known brand Warhammer 40,000. She has been a world-renowned photographer, but her passion for videogames led her to set up her own studio in which she works as Art Director. 

-Andrés Tallos: Founder, together with Isabel, of Everguild, where he is CEO and where he applies the great vision and knowledge accumulated in his long experience. It is worth highlighting his past work as Director of Business Strategy for Japanese giant, GREE. 

-Alba Iniesta: She is Product Manager and UX Game Designer at Scopley. She is an expert in game design and usability. Alba will tell us how to design a game from the usability point of view. 

International teams

During these next two months, Vitoria-Gasteiz will become the nerve center of free-to-play videogames. This year, important new features such as blockchain technology, NFTs and the play-to-earn business model and digital art will be added to the traditional content of the first two editions. All of them are topics closely linked to free-to-play, since they are key to the evolution of this videogame model.

The five chosen teams will carry out all their work and training here between now and September 18 and will have access to the adjacent facilities of Bakh, Baskonia’s sports city, for meals and leisure activities. All of them will be staying in the nearby Jardines de Aristi apartments. 

These are the teams participating in the third edition of the F2P Campus:

-Giggling Piglets: Canadian team coming to the Basque capital with three of its members, although the team is more numerous. They are presenting a side-scroller game.

-Project Legends: They are from Barcelona. Four members are coming, although the team has nine in total. They are presenting a nice game that combines cards and football. They have the peculiarity of being recent graduates but with great potential.

-Venko Games: They are also from Barcelona and two of their members are coming. It is an experienced team that has already released a few games. Their project gives a new perspective to text adventure games. Their stories are based on legends and myths from different places and they are beginning with those from the Basque Country.

-Happy Hedgehog Studio: They are from the United States and the two members of this small studio, who already have a game out, are coming. 

-Glossbirds: From the United States and Great Britain. Four experienced members are coming. Their idea is very different. A game that promotes doing sports in a fun way and turning healthy habits into games.

They all have two busy months of work ahead of them before presenting their progress at the final Demo Day of the campus that will be held in September. For this, they will have the full support of the technical team of the F2P Campus, led by Director Raúl Herrero, and the sage advice of the experts who will come to Vitoria-Gasteiz. All these experts will also offer open talks so that anyone interested in videogames can learn from some of the best specialists in the world. The Games Academy will also have specialized workshops designed for young people and those who are thinking of having a career change, like those held at the end of June in Amurrio which were a great success with the public. 

The financial potential of videogames

Videogames are an emerging industry that grows exponentially every year in terms of business and wealth generation capacity in territories where it is established.  According to the latest studies, the 435 studios located in Spain turned over more than 1.1 billion euros in 2020, 20% more than the previous year, and employed more than 7,500 people. The growth forecasts for the coming years are spectacular since they estimate that turnover will double in less than four years, reaching almost 2.3 billion euros, and the number of jobs will increase to over 11,000. The Basque Country accounted for 3.2% of this total in 2020, with Catalonia and Madrid dominating the market. The F2P Campus aims to help boost this industry in the region and attract new talent, such as the Catalan studio Evil Zeppelin, which, after taking part in the second edition of the campus in Álava, has established its headquarters in Vitoria-Gasteiz.