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Best Practices for PAX - Defining Goals

Red Fox Insights, with the help of 18 game studios and publishers from around the world, has devised a set of Best Practices for PAX, including defining meaningful goals.

Jake Parmley, Blogger

April 12, 2016

3 Min Read

Defining Goals for PAX

Preparing for game events is far from easy. Red Fox Insights' goal is to share the experiences of game studios & publishers who have gone before, so you can avoid their misteps, and learn from their success.

Goals should inform all the actions leading to, during and following up the event. Understanding the strengths of the event will help exhibitors meet goals ofexposure and player feedback.

Penny Arcade's VP of Sales, Mike Fehlauer describes what PAX is all about:

“Any company that comes and exhibits at the show, is going out to meet their end users...That really differentiates the show from other shows which have more of a press focus and it’s something we’ve cherished and protected. When you come to a show like PAX as an exhibitor, you’re trying to meet these committed, lifestyle gamers who are so connected.”


60% of the teams we spoke with cited exposure as the major reason for attending. This includes player and press exposure, but primarily influencer exposure.  Influencer exposure comes in the form of streamers and content creators - for example people with Twitch or YouTube channels.

Generating exposure through influencers is a goal largely met through preparation and execution. The industry’s focus on game streaming and sharing has made it one of the defining trends of the industry. Check out Twitch’s 2015 Retrospective for proof. In 2015, users spent 459,366 years watching content on Twitch. For exhibitors at game events, partnering with influencers means exposing your game to new unexplored audiences.  

To connect with streamers, the studios we spoke with suggested bringing access codes for the game, removing barriers of entry. Allowing streamers to jump in and try the game out. Also, while connecting with these influencers, be mindful of the games they stream most, and the audience they stream to. If you've got the next best FPS, but are speaking to a streamer that focuses exclusively on MOBA's - maybe that influencer isn't the right fit, which is perfectly fine. In any case, as Sophia from Fishing Cactus mentions, “If your game is available, have codes for it.”


Playtests and Feedback

Todd Daniel from Shiny Box Interactive  "If you're looking for a way to talk to actual players, there is no better more affordable way than PAX." Todd continues to discuss in how they prepare for and act on the vast amounts feedback.  

Relative to where a game’s at in it’s release cycle helps determine the approach needed to maximize effectiveness of feedback and meet feedback goals. Evan Smith of Pixel Dash, showcasing Road Redemption was mindful of the feedback process. Him and his team have taken steps to ensure they are ready for waves of comments. He encourages creators to “be focused on what feedback we’re trying to incorporate, because you do get a huge range of feedback. It’s hard to address every single thing, so be focused.”

Taking Note!

Record feedback from playtests by physically recording information from players and discussion, and taking mental notes as you observe play sessions. Malik, fromSpearhead Games “it’s super important to gather actual feedback from players...sometimes observing gives you more intel than what people say.”

These are some ways developers and publishers have defined goals for events like PAX, and the strategies they've employed to meet them. Check out the free white paper report and video webinar with loads of tips and tricks for PAX, including preperation, engaging fans on the show floor and more. 

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