To continue to grow as a company, and an individual, it's important to take advantage of events that can help grow your business, career, and more.
Working around the gaming industry is amazing. If you’re like me, then the opportunity is the result of a lifelong obsession mixed with some hard work. This industry allows us to grow and push boundaries year over year.
It’s exciting to watch the industry expand as more and more games are developed and released to eager gamers. However, with the constant and rapid growth of the industry it’s hard to stay current with everything going on. It’s a constant struggle for me to keep on top of all the new technology that is being developed. So, to keep on top of what is going on I attend professional events targeted at the games industry.
There are tons of events out there: ranging from local meetups to once a year conferences. So, how do you choose which ones to attend? Let’s take a look at what some of the top events bring to the table and why I feel that they are the most impactful and most valuable for you.
Ever wanted to know why League of Legends champions are designed the way they are? Or what it take to build a game that cross-plays on all platforms? “Making Games” conferences are places where you can meet and listen to other developers, of all sizes, talk about how they succeeded, or learned from failure. This opportunity allows you to learn their from their experiences without making their mistakes. Additionally, you can hit the expo floors and see all of the companies that offer products in the game industry. As a result, these are excellent places to make connections with developers from studios of all sizes.
Game Developers Conference (GDC)
Every March 30,000 game industry professionals come together to teach, learn and grow in San Francisco.
Penny Arcade Expo (PAX)
What started as a gaming conference for fans of Penny Arcade has grown into multiple conferences around the world each year.
Making Stuff For Games
These are conferences that have a large impact on people in the gaming industry, while not being specifically about games themselves. From streaming to music, the announcements and resources at these conferences directly impact how games are being developed and played. For example: If you are looking to get into the streaming market, attending conferences like Twitch Dev Day will help you get the technical know-how to get started or working at scale.
Events of this type provide learning opportunities and professional contacts that you may not have access to at gaming focused conferences. Additionally, attending events like SXSW or TwitchCon will allow you to get face to face time with your customers. From content creators who can tell you what they need, to fans who will give you the feedback you need to tweak systems, allowing them to better interact with their idols.
The signature event for streamers and streaming tech, with 50,000 attendees it rotates between cities on the West coast.
With Film, Music, and Tech, SXSW is three conferences in one. Over 400,000 people attend this massive conference in Austin, Texas each year.
Conferences that focus on the art of selling games are where the movers and shakers of the industry unveil new products, technology, partnerships. Behind the scenes they also use this time to strengthen relationships and work on future deals. It’s a special environment that can be super inspiring. It is a great opportunity to get a distilled view into the future of the industry.
Typically, these shows have a high amount of business development and publishing staff on hand from each company. Due to this, attendees have a higher chance of making deals, or establishing valuable contacts, than most other events. Publishing focused conferences are also great if you are looking to expand into new product spaces for your business. You get to see industry trends first hand and may get excellent ideas on how to expand.
An industry only event held in Los Angeles each June. It is the premier event on the gaming calendar for its announcements.
Where 350,000 European gaming journalists and enthusiasts converge upon Cologne every Autumn.
At all of these events you should be trying to talk to as many people as possible. The connections made at events will be valuable to your personal development and company growth. And this may be the only time your path crosses theirs, so take initiative.
How do you meet people?
Go to every booth and talk to the people from these companies. Don’t be biased. These events are full of other brilliant people. The small team with the lowkey booth may be waiting for you to unlock their full potential.
Lines are your friend. There are lines for everything at events, be it for a talk, to play a game or just swag. These are a great place to introduce yourself and talk to people. You don’t have to be IN the line to make the line useful.
Attend events after hours. A lot of great connections and business gets done at after hours events. People are also typically more relaxed at these events, allowing for more natural conversation.
Wear comfortable shoes, you will be walking and standing a lot
Don't get sick; eat, drink, and wash your hands (If you get sick, DON’T GO INSIDE)
Be professional and not a fan
Bring business cards
Take notes on who you meet and what they do
Send follow up emails after making a contact
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Listen as much as (or more than) you speak