Womenize! – Inspiring Stories is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Vania Castagnino Ugolotti, Event Coordinator at Sweden Game Arena, Co-Founder of FemDevs Perú & Creative Director of An Otter Team. She speaks about the South American games industry and international start-up accelerator programs. Read more about Vania in this interview:
Hi Vania! Do you feel like there is an upwards trend for more diverse game teams in South America?

Yes, I do see an increasing intention to have a more diverse game industry in South America. There is a constant effort from several Latin American associations to make this happen. One example is Women Game Jam, an organization created in Brazil, which sets up game jams especially for women where they can feel safe to create and network. The game jam occurs simultaneously in Perú, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia and also in additional countries like México. 

Another example of a South American initiative for diversity in gaming is Women in Games Colombia, and in Argentina, there is Woman in Games Argentina and Sheroes in Games, a wonderful project which focuses on teaching young girls to develop games. If you want to know a little bit more about women in the Latin-American games industry, you could check out the GDC talk “Women in Games in LATAM: Where Are We Standing?”.

In Perú, we have FemDevs Perú, of which I’m a co-founder. We also have workshops for young girls and teenagers among other activities like networking events. I find that the Peruvian games industry is a very friendly space that is eager to grow in a diverse way. We have an industry that has realized that diversity brings not only new, fresh ideas and stories to the table but also a better understanding of other markets, where the amount of players is increasing rapidly. At FemDevs Perú, we see a big disposition of the industry to be involved and collaborate with our association, all willing to learn and improve. 

We are always looking for more partners and sponsors as we are all volunteers so if that is you, you can contact us and we can work together!

Can you recommend any platforms, events or initiatives that support people in Peru, who are considering joining the industry?

I can definitely recommend keeping a close eye on IGDA Perú and FemDevs Perú. I would always recommend to people who are considering joining the industry to enroll in a game jam. If you identify as a woman, the Woman Game Jam is an excellent cozy space to learn and meet women in the industry. The Global Game Jam which always has Peruvian sites is also a great space to start.

If you are looking to see Peruvian games specifically, you can check out the Yunza Games Festival, which is an upcoming event organized by Somber Pixel, Hermanos Magia, and 7th Beat Games – three great Peruvian studios. And the Perú Games Showcase 2023 organized by the IGDA Perú.

Also, FemDevs Perú does streaming on Fridays, where we try different Peruvian games!

How are startups being supported at Sweden Game Arena?

Sweden Game Arena is an umbrella organization that contains among others the Sweden Game Start-Up. Here, the coaches will help you not only to develop your game idea but also develop your business. Teams that join are offered funds to travel to conferences where they can have better pitching opportunities and can find publishers or investors to fund their games.

We also organize The Sweden Game Pitch, where we gather publishers, investors and industry experts to listen to our team’s pitches and help them create new connections and opportunities. The last Sweden Game Pitch was in March in San Francisco during the GDC and next will happen in October in the frame of the Sweden Game Conference.

Sweden Game Arena may also help way before the aspiring game developers have already formed their startup; as the University of Skövde is also a part of Sweden Game Arena, we encourage  the students to apply to the Start-Up program and introduce them to related topics during an event called The Start-Up night.

Thanks for this interview, Vania!

Vania’s links: LinkedInSweden Game StartupIGDA Perú

Womenize! – Inspiring Stories Feature by Sophie Brugmann