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The Gamescom survival guide as an indie game developer

We've been to the Gamescom 2017, this article describes our experiences during 2 days there, Do's and Don't when you are an indie game developer and why Gamescom is such an important event!

Hi!

This article comes originally from our DevBlog on Crazy Dreamz: MagiCats Edition. Don't hesitate to follow this link and look others ones.

What an epic journey at the Gamescom! So much adventures and stories to tell and we realized others could benefit of what we learnt. This article has been created to share with you the feedbacks of Crazy Dreamz at the Gamescom 2017.

Presentation of the Gamescom:

Well, to begin, even if 90% of you know what the GamesCom is, there may be still 10% who don’t. So, Gamescom is the biggest video game event in Europe and is based at Cologne, Germany. This year was the ninth edition. This event is the successor of the Games Convention of Leizig. Just arrived in Cologne and left the train station we had the chance to admire the wonderful cathedral, we had instantly a good impression of this city.  

 

Why did we go there?

We wondered: Should we go or not? It’s the biggest video game event in Europe, of course we have to! But…The thing is, we didn’t have a booth over there because we weren’t ready to show something. Actually, we created Dreamz Studios in September 2016 and the application to have a booth was in February, we were far from having what we currently have in our game. So, how did we organize our travel? We decided to go, ok… But tardily. Hotels were full and no cheap AirBnb was available, our last possibility was… Camping!

Well, sleep at 3 in one tent was not the best night I had (personnally :p) but that was fun and we had a good opportunity to discuss with others video games lovers. And of course that was way cheaper than what we found on the net.

Was it cheap?

To give you an order of what we paid (for 3 people, 2 days, 1 night): - Camping: 28€/pers - Train: 224€ for 3 (round trip). Consider to take the train as soon as possible (we took our at 5 am). - Tickets: 240€ [3 Trade Visitor (40€ each) * 2 days] - Flyers: 50€ Total => 542€ As we didn't have a booth we’ve done a guerilla marketing and our strategy was the following:

- Command 1000 flyers

- Create a sign with a funny text

- Command business cards. Little tips => If you are in a big event like Gamescom, the best place to give some flyers is next to elevators, with a true smile! :)

What we think about this journey

That was a good experience, and in this kind of event you realize you are not the only team who wants to make a good game. It’s a tough way to become visible. There are tons of good and originals games. And for most of them there is a market. The thing is, you have to meet the right person who will trust in your project and support you. So don’t hesitate to show your game to everyone and organize meeting with big publishers, who knows?? It’s pretty simple to enter in contact with journalists. All of them have a Twitter account, send them a private message and ask them if during the day they will be free to meet you. For example we met a person at Cologne who lives not far from us in Paris (15mins). After that, you just have to introduce them the game.

Goods:

- Go to the Gamescom in order to show your game. There are hundred of games which are released every day, you must have a game visible. Events like Gamescom is a great way to be visible by indie developers around the world. When you are an indie game you will firstly focus on indie forums to show your game. So there is a chance that it will become your entrance door in the market. Well that is more complicated on the players’ side but you have nothing to lose, everything to gain.

- Meet people! Talk to everyone! You have to be visible and no one will help you with that. We met indie Spanish developers around a beer by chance, that was interesting and funny! It’s a good place to stay in touch and refresh your relations.


Head of Marketing               CEO                 Producer

 

- Go Business! You will always have the possibility to get a cheaper ticket as a simple visitor. But going Business allows you to have some meetings with big companies (Nintendo / WB / Activision Blizzard etc… and some publishers). Control your destiny. We had a possibility to see Focus Home Interactive without meeting. Same for Warner Bros, we simply asked if it was possible to see the Producer of Lego World and they accepted.

Wrongs:

- Our sign was useful when we were in the visitor area! People were surprised and looked at it. But when you have to discuss with some big potential partners, that’s more complicated since you don’t appear in your most serious face.

- Our flyers, we thought that was a good idea because persons were taking it, but in fact, after all, when you look your traffic on Google Analytics you realize that the impact is minor. It’s way more better to meet other indie games, publishers or big companies. The problem is players are solicited during those events, they took our flyers by kindness, but they didn’t really care about it, most of the players know what they wanted to see so they didn’t give enough importance to our flyers. A solution could be to let a stack of flyers in a prominent place (a school for us could be great, or a booth of one of our partner).

- Even if the camping was cheap, they are not known for security, so we didn’t have the choice to carry our stuffs: Water, computer, flyers, batteries, others objects, in our bags. Trust me, it’s heavy! It’s exhausting to carry that during 2 days in a row. So, if you can book early, go for it (5-6 months before).
 


When you realize camping was a bad idea

 

Conclusion:

That was still worth it to go over there. You need to speak of your game and meet people. And it’s easier to do that when you know that a lot of interesting persons will be there. It's a really great way to see many games, hundred games! Theses games are beautiful, polished, and well designed. So, seeing this puts our ideas back in place and give us the motivation we need to finish our game!   If you want to find some partners, investors, mentors, you have to see as many people as you can. It’s up to you, those persons will not come to you themselves. The more you meet, the more you will have chance to meet new ones via the first encountered. Those persons could be the good ones, who knows? So, don't hesitate!  

Written by Alexandre Sarrazin, Head of Marketing at Dreamz Studio

By the way, if you want to follow our adventure and hear more about the game, you can follow us here:

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