Keynote Speaker

"Trends and Challenges in Digital Games and
Entertainment Evolution

By Professor Boyan Bontchev, Department of
Software Engineering, Sofia University, Bulgaria

Boyan Bontchev 


Modern ICT development promises great changes towards true innovations in the area of digital games, entertainment technologies and gamification approaches. Expected changes are based on the steadily growing market of digital games worldwide and, on the other side, on their increasing social and cultural impact and significance. In last years, digital game and downloadable content sales are growing with more than one third yearly in both the USA and European Union. Increasingly large share of this percentage is made up by the digital content market, which has almost doubled in last five years. Besides the flourishing game industry and the market of digital games and downloadable entertaining content – both ever growing even in crisis times, digital gaming appears to be an important social phenomenon, especially for Europe. Time spent for gaming in the UK, France and Germany is much more than the time people play games in the USA. Thus, entertainment games remain naturally successful over the years because of providing an addictive technological medium that generates funny, enjoyable experiences and ensures efficient and long lasting interaction between people. On the other hand, serious games help efficiently in building knowledge, problem-solving and soft skills, creativity and conceptual thinking and are widely applied in education, health, safety and management. However, though their social and cultural impact, serious games generate rather lower turn-over compared to that one generated by recreational game market. Although serious games demonstrate unequivocal evidence of effectiveness, they require relatively high production costs and offer lower perceived quality compared to the contemporary entertainment games.

The keynote speech discusses modern trends and challenges in recent development of digital both entertainment and serious games. It goes through expectations for steady growth of the global entertainment video game market with respect to the latest generations of handheld and home consoles from one side and remarkable growth of mobile devices in recent years. The success of online computer games and handheld gaming will be outlined, together with new phenomena such as cloud gaming and mobile gaming. Social gaming will be discussed regarding its role as a means of attracting new players of console games. Modern excitement on virtual and augmented reality will be outlined in terms of experimenting with new technologies like VR goggles bringing enhanced interactive user experiences. Other new technologies and approaches such as sensor interfaces, parameterized interactive objects, and embodied conversational agents interacting using both language and non-verbal face-to-face behaviours will be outlined in regard of realisation of efficient adaptation and realistic visualization and animation.



Boyan Bontchev has obtained MSc degree in Computer Engineering in 1988 at Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and PhD degree in Parallel Processing at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) in 1993. During his PhD study, he has specialized in RWTH, Aachen and University of Vienna. Between 1993 and 1999, Dr. Bontchev has been researcher at BAS in the area of dataflow models and architectures and, at the same time, has followed a career of software engineer and consultant within the OBLOG project initiated by CERN. He has acted as project manager at many private entities in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria. In 2000-2001 he managed design and development team of the Shiver massively multiplayer online role-playing game. In the fall of 2001 he founded Bonea Ltd. and run as managing director of this company focused on developing mobile board games and Web applications. Since 2003 he is Associate Professor at Dep. of Software Engineering at Sofia University. There, he was promoted to Full Professor in 2012 and to Director of the Faculty Centre of Distance Learning since 2013.

Prof. Bontchev has participated in many research and industrial projects, both national and in the scope of EC FP5/6/7. He was technical lead of the Bulgarian team developing a serious business game within the PRIME (Providing Real Integration in Multi-disciplinary Environments) project and, as well, project coordinator of the ADOPTA project dealing with adaptive e-learning platforms for edutainment and game based learning. He was evaluator at Research Executive Agency at EC for the FP7 PEOPLE program. Dr. Bontchev is author of about 100 scientific publications and runs as invited speaker at European conferences and PhD schools. Since July 2014 he runs as Marie Curie fellow developing adaptive video games for learning entrepreneurship at Brainstorm Multimedia in Valencia, Spain.