February 9, 2014 11:00 PM | Lena LeRay
With only a month remaining until BitSummit MMXIV, more information has been released about what we can expect from the event this year. We already knew that BitSummit was expanding this year to a bigger location that could handle the addition of two public days. Now we have evidence that in addition to upholding last year's goal of increasing global awareness of Japanese indies, BitSummit aims to help young Japanese people get into the industry.
Full details about BitSummit's schedule have yet to be released, but we now have times and some general information about what will happen on each day. Friday, March 7 is the media day, open from 10 AM to 7 PM, with a cocktail party during the last two hours. Saturday, March 8 is the first public day, which is generally open from noon to 7 PM, but will also have two other events concurrently underway at the Miyako Messe venue, Job Jam Kyoto 2014 and Kyoto Game Conference 2014 Game Studies on the Edge. Sunday, March 9 is the second public day, open from 10 AM to 7 PM, and will include a presentation ceremony for the new BitSummit Awards. There will be guest speakers and performers on all three days.
Organized by the Kyoto Indie Games Seminar Committee (Japanese link), Job Jam Kyoto 2014 will be a job fair run in the morning from 9:30 to noon. About 15 game-related companies, as yet unannounced, will be present and attendance is open to current college graduates and those who will be graduating this year or next.
Although it is written nowhere that only Japanese students and graduates can attend Job Jam Kyoto 2014, a general lack of information in English from any of the event's organizers and sponsors coupled with the way eligibility for participation is described implies that only attendees of Japanese post-secondary education institutions are welcome. This makes sense; if Japanese companies are looking for new hires, they probably need people fluent in Japanese. Furthermore, Japanese companies typically look to hire people straight out of college after they graduate in March so they can start working immediately when the new fiscal year begins in April. Graduates who fail to get hired right out of college are often disadvantaged when it comes to finding new jobs in Japan, and with hiring rates at their lowest point in recorded history that makes a job fair like this one an important opportunity for Japanese college students.
Kyoto Game Conference 2014: Game Studies on the Edge will be a two-session game conference with guest speakers from around the world giving presentations. The first session's talks will be on topics related to International Video Game Preservation and Community Building, while the second session will be about Redefining the "Ludic" Element in Video Games. More information can be found in Japanese with English translations of titles at the Ritsumeikan Center for Game Studies web site.
The BitSummit Awards are another new thing this year. There will be an overall "Grand Prix" award as well as awards for categories such as design, visuals, and audio, though there has been no announcement regarding judges or an official list of awards so far. Lastly, there will be both media and player choice awards to be voted upon over the course of BitSummit.
The guest speakers and performers announced thus far are:
BitSummit's major sponsors have also been announced. Notably missing is Valve, which was one of the big sponsors last year to promote Steam. The most interesting addition to the sponsor list this year is the prefecture of Kyoto. This will be the fifth indie game event Kyoto has sponsored.
[via 4gamer (Japanese link)]