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Vlambeer’s Rami Ismail Organizes Virtual Gaming Conference Gamedev.world

Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail and voice actress Sarah Elmaleh are organizing a global game developers conference called Gamedev.world, Ismail announced on Twitter Thursday.

The conference takes place Jun. 21-23 and it will feature over 30 speakers from around the world. There will be talks and interactive Q&As, according to the official website, and developers will have a chance to “gain a global perspective on the art and business of game creation.”

All of the talks will be close-captioned and translated live in eight languages — Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Language is “the biggest invisible border in our industry,” Ismail told GamesBeat in a recent interview. During his #1ReasontoBe panel at GDC last year, one of his speakers had a heavy French accent. Many people attending the talk complained afterwards that the speaker was very hard to understand.

“That just made me very sad,” Ismail told GamesBeat. “He flew over from Madagascar, 10 hours north to Europe and 10 hours west to the United States, and the feedback is that he’s hard to understand? That can’t be the reality. This kid is doing amazing work making a Madagascar-inspired racing game, and then the feedback is he’s hard to understand. Why can’t he speak in his own language?”

When asked on Twitter why other languages, like German, aren’t part of the roster, Ismail said the event’s organizers “weighed budget against reach, selected the seven languages in the world that would maximize the developers we could reach, and added Japanese because games industry.”

While the feedback from the #1ReasontoBe panel was apparently an inspiration for the Gamedev.world conference, visa issues played a part in its creation as well. At least four of the panel’s speakers had to cancel because they couldn’t travel to the United States, Ismail said on Twitter in March. “Now looking for a backup speaker for my backup speaker, and arranged a backup speaker for my final speaker without a confirmed visa, too,” he said. “Is this really [what] organizing a panel in ‘the country of opportunity’ should be like? Really?” Since Gamedev.world is a virtual conference, it bypasses many of the usual issues associated with physical events.

Variety recently named Ismail one of the most influential people in video games in 2018 for his efforts to help fellow game developers, whether it’s through his free Presskit module, his event panels, or his personal blog.

Gamedev.world will be totally free and available to watch on a number of livestreaming platforms. The event’s speakers and sponsors will be announced over the next few weeks.

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