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First time exhibiting at GDC: Post Mortem

This year was the first time we showcased at GDC, here is a post-mortem. Broken monitors, missing USB ports, and lots of standing around

Last week got ourselves a booth at GDC. A 10x10 feet (3x3 m) spot right next to the IGF Pavilion. 

The logic was that we'd attract the people interested in the IGF to come around to our booth and checkout the games we were showing - BitBrawlers, JetGetters, and SpeedRunners

Layout & Equipment

We decided to get 3 monitors, with the biggest one for SpeedRunners since it's our flagship title right now. We wanted to place that monitor on the edge of the booth, so the monitors would be spread out. 

A/V equipment took forever to arrive and we spend most of Tuesday hanging out at the booth, waiting for it. It arrived at 5:30pm, took forever to setup, before realizing one of the smaller monitors doesn't work, and the biggest monitors' mount doesn't match. 

I verified that the smaller monitors have a USB socket, so we'd upload the footage from JetGetters to loop via a USB stick. 

Next morning we arrive to see the monitors setup. The smaller monitors are different. No USB Slot. Fine, setup a laptop and hid it under the table.

What we didn't know is that our layout -- apparently -- doesn't comply with Moscone Center's regulations. For small booths, they don't allow you to touch the edges of it with your monitors. You need to have a bigger booth for them to allow that. We wanted to spread the monitors so you could see them from afar, and now had to clutter the 3 of them together. Not very ideal. 

Location

The location went both right and wrong. On one hand, it was hard to attract people from the IGF to play at our booth, since we were in the university area. Albeit being right next to the IGF, but one row over. You can see in the video where our booth was. 

Meanwhile we had the option to go for a GDC Play booth, which would be cheaper. Last year GDC Play was in a remote hall with very little foot traffic. This year though they changed it last minute to be in the middle of the Career Pavilion. It looked a lot like the IndieMEGABOOTH from PAX Prime, with lots of people hanging out and playing games. 

Summary

Next year we will either go for GDC Play - rent a couple of booths there, one per game -- or have a booth facing the IGF Pavilion. Since GDC is so widespread with different areas of focus, it is important to be in the center of what you're trying to show -- indie games. Here the center was the IGF Pavilion and GDC Play. 

In a couple of weeks - April 11-13 - we are exhibiting at PAX East in Boston with a large 30x30 booth. We'll be sandwiched between Blizzard and Square Enix, so that'll be interesting. We're hoping to show our full library of games and create a little lounge where the press can sit down and talk. I'll report back on how that goes. 

 

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