Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomemarketingAn indie developer's guide to industry events, trade shows, and exhibitions

An indie developer's guide to industry events, trade shows, and exhibitions

Presented by Xsolla Funding

Crafting video games is an intricate process that extends beyond assembling a product and launching it into marketplaces. Once you meet initial success or sales goals, a new pathway for growth opens up to capitalize on. This is when you can analyze a few performance indicators: Do you need more expertise in certain areas? Maybe you’d like to build your network of industry professionals. Would you benefit from more media recognition? The answer to all of these is simple: games industry events.

From networking and communicating with other developers and publishers to raising funding or gaining new knowledge and experience, industry events are an easily accessible, relatively inexpensive opportunity to grow your gaming business. They can also be the key to surmounting future challenges or securing vital funding.

In this guide, we’ll share an overview of valuable events for indie developers to attend, how to choose the right ones for your needs, and how to get the most out of each event to catalyze your gaming business’ growth.

Understand the industry events available

TYPES OF EVENTS

To choose the most valuable event for your goals, you’ll need to navigate the diverse landscape of industry conferences and trade shows effectively and understand what they might offer: whether it’s new connections, game funding opportunities, or new skills and tools to enhance your operations.

B2B Events: Connect and collaborate with key players in the gaming industry, including developers, publishers, and investors. These events provide partnership-building opportunities, making them ideal if you’re trying to build your industry network rather than acquire more sales or funding.B2C Events: Engage directly with your audience. These events offer a platform to showcase your product to the press and the vibrant gaming community. If you have a game demo, trailer, or just a significant development update to share, B2C events are the perfect place to generate excitement and gain valuable feedback.

EVENT FORMATS

Based on the scale of attendees, industry events can also be local or global. They can also be divided into three basic formats: offline, online, and hybrid.

Offline events are traditional, in-person events at a specific location. These events typically offer more one-on-one interaction and relationship development than online or hybrid events.

Online events are held entirely online and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection and access to the event. These are typically larger, more accessible, and offer more attendees to connect with digitally.

Hybrid events combine elements of offline and online events. These events may be held in a physical location but offer online streaming and other virtual components, which are useful for attending speaking sessions while capitalizing on one-on-one interactions.

POPULAR EVENTS

When choosing a game development event to attend, it is important to consider your goals and needs. If you’re looking to network with other developers and industry professionals, then a B2B event may be a good choice. On the other hand, if you’re looking to showcase your game to the public, a B2C event might better achieve your goals.

While local events offer smaller gatherings of industry professionals in a more intimate setting, global events are for broadening ties amongst the worldwide game development and gaming community. For example, there’s a variety of popular events for Eastern European developers, like Digital Dragons in Poland or Baltic Dev Days in Germany. For Asian Developers, Gamescom Asia in Singapore, G2E Asia in Hong Kong, or MeetToMatch in Tokyo are the perfect events to attend.

Some large-scale industry events that might be valuable to attend:

GDEX is a major B2B event held in the US. It’s a great place for game developers to network with publishers, investors, and other industry professionals.On the other hand, PAX East, is a major B2C event – also held in the US. It’s a great event for indie developers who want to showcase their games to the public.Gamescom is a major hybrid event in Germany with B2B and B2C elements. It is a great place for game developers to showcase their games to the public and network with publishers, investors, and other industry professionals.

Choose the right event for your business growth

With so many industry events, it can take time to narrow the list down to the ones that will provide the most value to you.

CONSIDER YOUR GOALS

What do you want to achieve by attending the event? Are you looking to network or showcase your game? Maybe you want to learn about the latest trends, find funding opportunities, or get inspired. Your answers to these questions and your overall goals can help shape your event list.

Find publishers and investors. The representatives of huge publishers often attend indie events looking for hidden gems and promising talents, and even if you want to stay independent from any publisher, you can visit a game development event and announce a fundraising campaign.Networking. Building a stronger network is one of the most valuable things you can get from an industry event. From meeting potential partners to finding new team members or personnel candidates, networking can bolster your list with useful contacts across a wide range of categories, like people from the press, popular influencers or streamers, or even software experts. Events like DevGAMM are known for attracting attendees from a wide range of specialties.Showcase your game. Events can be the stage for the most important product in your business: your games. With a wide range of attendees, it can be a great place to introduce, promote, or highlight materials like playable demos, trailers, or visual materials and concepts. However, presenting a fully playable build for the press, potential investors, and publishers, the best way to showcase your game.

External factors can also impact your choice of event.Think about your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your game? If you’re targeting casual gamers, you might want to choose an event that is more focused on the public, such as PAX East. If you’re targeting hardcore gamers, you might want to choose an event that is more focused on the industry, such as GDC.Consider the timing. When is your game scheduled to be released? If you’re close to release, you might want to choose an event that is happening soon. This will give you a chance to get feedback on your game and make any necessary changes before it’s released.Read reviews. There are many websites that review game industry events. Reading reviews can help you get a feel for the atmosphere of the event, the quality of the speakers, and the overall value of the experience.Your budget. Games industry events can be expensive, so it’s important to factor in the cost of travel, accommodation, and registration.Your schedule. The amount of time spent preparing, promoting, and traveling for events can add up and coincide with your day-to-day business operations, so it’s important to make sure you have enough time and personnel to get the most from attending an event.

CONSIDER YOUR CAPABILITIES

Understanding the abilities and materials your team is equipped with can also help you make a strategic decision for events that maximize your exposure and networking potential in the video game industry.Make sure your game is ready. Save your time and money if you’re not ready to show it off.Figure out what you want to get out of the event. Are you looking for a publisher? Networking opportunities? Just to learn more about the industry?Set a budget and stick to it. There are a lot of costs associated with attending an event, so make sure you’re prepared. • Consider the planning. Events can fill up quickly and be time-consuming, especially with a booth at which you showcase your brand, game, and business.Discover learning opportunities. There are often talks and workshops at industry events. These can be a great way to learn new skills and improve your game.

Make the most of your event experience When your company’s materials are ready to show off, it’s time to head to a trade show, convention, or event and start making waves in the industry. Once you get there, however, it makes sense to take a moment to plan out and maximize your time there. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your events:Make a list of potential events. With so many types of game industry events all over the world, your list of goals will help you determine the events that are most relevant and beneficial to you. Are you showcasing your game? Interested in showcasing your game demo or vertical slice? If you know what you’re looking for, you can find the conference that is the best fit for you.Here are a few great resources to start your research:If you want a comprehensive list of conferences, including dates, locations, and speakers, visit GameIndustry.biz.If you’re looking for a resource that’s useful for growing your gaming business, 80 Level has a list of game development conferences that are specifically geared toward indie developers.Plan your trip. Once you’ve made a list of conferences you want to attend, it’s time to start planning your travel, accommodations, and conference schedule. Make sure to factor in time for networking, attending speaking sessions, and, of course, presenting your game.Refine your pitch deck. Make sure your presentation effectively demonstrates the concept, visuals, gameplay, marketing strategy, the overall experience of your game, and the vision and goals of your business. To learn more, check out our guide on how to make a perfect pitch.Prepare your marketing materials. Big or small, your booth is the hub and gathering place for attendees at the event to meet you, learn about your game and your business, and understand the look and feel of your game.Network with others. Trade shows and conferences are great opportunities to network with other developers, publishers, and investors. This can help you learn new things, get feedback on your game, and even find collaborators.

Ready to show your game to the world? Xsolla can help.

Attending a video game industry trade show or conference can take your game and business success to the next level. From opening the door to new partnerships to accelerating the growth of your game, the right event can be a runway for getting your name out there. Keep in mind these key takeaways to find success at every event you attend:Do your research. Before you attend any industry trade show, convention, or event, it’s important to understand what you want to get out of it, whether connecting with publishers or investors, promoting your upcoming game, or learning more about the industry and networking.Get prepped. Your game, marketing approach, and brand are your calling card, so make sure all your materials are polished and ready to show off. This includes having a playable demo, a trailer, information about your studio, brochures and giveaways, and more.Establish connections. Meeting other developers, publishers, and professionals can teach you new things, provide feedback on your game, and even help you find new collaborators.

With support for developers as they create games, support for successful game launches, and even support for studios as they establish themselves in the competitive gaming industry, Xsolla Funding has built its tools and services around your needs when setting your business up for success.

Xsolla Funding Club (XFC) is a game-changing platform that offers ways for developers, publishers, and investors to connect, create valuable collaborations, and establish investment prospects. These relationships can turn into partnerships, and attending the right industry event can help you make them stronger. Apply to Xsolla Funding Club to get your name in front of qualified investors.

While XFC can help you build new partnerships, Xsolla Accelerator can start turning your game’s vision into reality. A program designed to assist developers with up to $100,000 in early funding, Accelerator can guide you in building a successful business through educational sessions and mentorship from industry experts.

Ready to transform your idea into a successful gaming business? Check out https://xsolla.com/funding#accelerator to learn how you can accelerate your game’s development and launch.

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