So… I’m back from the sunny climes of Birmingham UK. For those who don’t know much about Birmingham, here is an up to the minute guide:
But enough about Birmingham, what about the games show known as rezzed?
This was the first time I had ever attended a games show as an exhibitor. I’ve given talks before, but never had a booth and shown off games, either released or in development. My main concern has always been the shaky business case of paying thousands of pounds to hire a few square feet of space for two days. As an analytics boffin, I’m very wary of spending money without being able to quantify what I get for it. Anyway… I decided it was worth doing it properly or not at all, so we had a proper big 4 PC booth showing redshirt and democracy 3:
And despite our initial very English doom-and-gloom panic that we were the only strategy game in a sea of call of duty, and nobody would care, our booth was kinda swamped right from the start. It was *very* rare to find a moment of either of the two days where all 4 seats were not taken, sometimes with a small crowd around each player. Redshirt was a big attraction, and democracy 3 seemed to attract all kinds of gamers, young,old,male,female, which was very interesting.
As well as showing off the games, and getting to watch people play them, we also got to talk to a fair few people from the press, and of course hang out with a bunch of indies we know from previous events. I was busy enough that I only got to attend one of the developer sessions, which I guess is the downside of actually being an exhibitor. We had three people on our booth including me, and maybe we should have had more to free us up to actually walk around, or more importantly, sit down now and then!
We completely ran out of badges, and almost ran out of flyers for both games. People really like game show swag! So anyway… the big question is, was it worth it, and would I do it again? I think the answer is ‘probably yes’. These things are expensive. yes it’s cool that you meet real gamers who play your games, but the gamers are charged for entering the show, and you get charged for providing the games they come to see…seems a little cunning to me. I am in the wrong business clearly… I think if the costs of exhibiting were much higher I’d say it isn’t worth it, given the opportunity cost that the money could also buy a lot of advertising or artwork/promotion in other ways.
I think it’s probably very good to do shows when your game is approaching beta and close to release (as both ours are), but earlier in dev, or attending every show for an already released game? It’s a really tough call. Obviously it also depends on your company’s balance sheet! I saw some indies still fighting to get picked on greenlight, with their first game, and I wonder where they get the money together for an appearance at a games show. Still… there is no right answer for this stuff, everyone has their own strategy. Anyway…back to work…