Preparing For & Surviving Gaming Expos As An Indie Dev - Part Three: After
Follow Up Leads:
You probably made a LOT of friends during the event. Don’t let all those great conversations go to waste. Follow up your leads! I used a Trello board to take photos of all the business cards I’d collected (you will inevitably lose them, if you’re anything like me!) and tag people as press, influencer, industry, fellow game dev — you get the idea.
This let me jot down a few notes about what we’d talked about, know who to follow up and mark them so, and keep track of who I’d contacted and when. I can continue to add to this over time until eventually, I’ll have an entire digital record of the people I know and connections I have. These people will help you grow — they might be mentors, friends, support systems, potential future colleagues. Keep in touch!
During your time at your event you’ll receive a lot of feedback from players and industry. Make sure you write down everything you recall so you can compile it and provide it to anyone who was unable to attend. This is the biggest opportunity for playtesting you’ll have other than more expos, and you’re testing a hugely wide subset of the market. Make a list, a spreadsheet — whatever works for your team and work on the bugs, ideas, and issues you noticed or encountered.
Go back to your own goals and assess them. Go through them individually, then as a team, and present everything to make sure the event was worthwhile. The last thing you want is to spend the amount you did and not assess how you actually went, otherwise what was the point?
You might have met people who you may have no professional need to follow up — but it doesn’t matter. These events don’t just happen overnight. Thank your team, thank your volunteers, thank the organisers, thank the press. Anyone and everyone who was involved invested time, energy and effort. Value that and recognise that.
What Worked/What Didn’t:
This sort of comes under goals. Make note of the things that went wrong, the money that was spent unnecessarily — all these things will help when you do this again but you need to write it down so you don’t forget come next exhibition.
Below is an approximate breakdown of just how much we spent on PAX. We made a conscious decision to invest a large amount of money in this specific PAX to make as big an initial impact as we could. The spending will be inevitably very different for our next expo, depending on a number of different factors. We think it’s important to be transparent about just how much this can cost a studio, but depending on what’s available to you, you could cut a number of corners through the above steps and reduce your costs (booth size, materials, graphics, merch).
Booth Hire $1000~
Signage + Furniture (inc infills) $2000~
TV Hires (TV’s x 2) $1000~
PAX Tickets (Team + Investors) $1000~
Marketing Campaign $200~
Playtesting Pins $750~
Tote Bags $1200~
Match Boxes $250~
Key Rings $400~
Business Cards $800~
Health Kit $200~
Below you can see a video we made of our booth and the event.
Here are some other handy links.
Blank Booth Bible Template:
Customize your own booth bible to your studio and use it as a platform to organise yourself!
Indie Booth Creation Website:
An awesome resource to help you create checklists, assess what you need, and costs.
You Suck At Showcasing Your Game:
A great talk about how to and how not to show your game at events.
Indie Game PR: 5 Years of Painful Lessons
Another great talk that touches on expos and their impact + getting the most out of them.
Best of luck, and please by all means get in touch with me (@merryh) if you have any other questions! You don’t have to do a booth like us — make it yours, with whatever resources you have — the indie community will always be here to support you.