Industry Partnership Research Part I

This week we are offering two posts on partnership research with the video game industry for libraries and public space.

1. Know the context of the industry
Montreal is a hub of the international industry and new studios continue to open each year . We owe a part of this vitality to former prime minister Bernard Landry who convinced Ubisoft to come and set up what would become North America’s largest video game studio. Since then, studios like Bioware, THQ, EA Montreal, Warners Brother and EIDOS Montreal have added to the playful creativity of the city. In this emergent context, libraries and the public space are in a good position to develop partnerships.

2. Analyze the needs of the industry
Despite the dynamism of the local industry, it is important to note that video game industry products are marketed globally. Although the game is created in Montreal, it will be on the shelves of the world which makes local sales negligible. Unlike the book chain that requires libraries to sell local books, partnerships can not be developed to increase sales.

In Montreal, the industry seeks a dual objective: recognition and appreciation of its creativity and local talent (which is too often misunderstood by the public) and the hiring of new employees. The vitality of the industry requires young employees who will fill the many vacancies that come from the rapid expansion of the industry in Montreal. The image of the company is therefore vital in the development of human resources.

3. Define your needs
In terms of libraries, the benefits of partnerships with industry are multiple. But above all, the library must integrate the video game chain in partnership with the industry. Just as we do with literary works, video games have to be seen as a meaningful medium. You have to be more than a video club by mediating, contextualizing and democratizing video games. The industry can help us by offering speakers to showcase local products (contextualisation), by demonstrating games in libraries (mediation), financing play areas (democratization), etc.

As partnerships, some interesting projects are taking place in Montreal’s libraries:

The 2011 National Gaming Day
In collaboration with the Montreal Libraries, Eidos Montreal ( Deus Ex: Human Revolutions) presents 6 conferences on video game design on Saturday, November 12th. The Montreal libraries have also teamed up with the board game publisher, Scorpion Masqué ( J’te gage que, Super Comics, etc.) for this day of the game in the library.

Allô-Prof Terminal
By partnering with the Allô Prof website, the Libraries of Montreal received the first interactive terminal for homework help. Young people can play educational games like FinLapin (tables of addition and multiplication) and many others.

These examples demonstrate that there is interest from both video game companies in Montreal and from libraries. Games, whether for education, sociability or pleasure, are becoming more and more important in public spaces. Industry and libraries have a role to play in social development through play.