Is offering something free putting people off?

Exploring why developers and professionals seem to be getting put off with things being "too good to be true"

Just recently I have been experiencing a weird problem - I say weird, in my opinion it is but that being said I could be missing something - independent developers not responding to nor signing up to an event where they are being offered free event space to show off their projects.

Now I understand some of the devs may not want to show their game because of where they are in the process or it might not be playable of possible. But about two three years ago I spoke to a good number of Indies at EGX's Rezzed event and a large proportion of them where in some way complaining that event costs where too high. 

I for the longest time have been attending events and even applying myself to become a host and voice for indie games for these events indie areas or stages which is my skill. Equally I have found that the cost of showing even a small collective can be high which is why I tip my hat at the tentacle collective and the transfuzer project.

Events like Rezzed, EGX, Play Expo and Insomnia have offered free space, but then these same devs have mentioned a disconnect and lack of support during and before these shows.

So I thought, surely there must be a way to help these developers, now as a solo independent guy myself I don't have the resources to run a fully fledged indie gaming event (thought this is my goal, or at least being involved in one)

Following on from that thought I reached out to small local comic cons and messaged them offering my helping the sourcing and managing of entertainment through the invitation of independent video games.

The agreement we made was an easy one, they give me space for at least 11 games and I will the tables. This was a beneficial agree in a large number of ways, some of these were as follows;

  • Free space for indies
  • Indies get exposure and feedback
  • Actually be able to sell game codes / early access codes.
  • The event has a much higher retention because people will stay for longer, spend more

I set to action and ran my very first event in September 2017 you can read more about that event here 

it was a real success and of the developers got something out of the event, while those that played gave glowing feedback and the event organiser was quick to secure next year's slot.

Which is when it happened

Suddenly no one wanted to sign up it was as if the indie community didn't seem to want show at this event. 

Reaching out and speaking to a number of event coordinators and indies I was seeing a common theme.

Free was too good to be true it seems or at least not worth it?

I took to Twitter to ask those that would likely sign up if they had any advice 

The reaction was very unexpected in some ways but equally understandable. Free space is only really worth it if the whole event, journey and those costs were or are worth it. This was an unexpected twist as I thought I was doing something needed. in the end I may not have any other choice but to charge a cost, even if it's to secure they will even turn up. it's been a really eye opener but one I needed to learn as I really want to help indies and that's all I care about.

Noaksey x 

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