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6 Mar 2015

Preparing For Next Year’s GDC

All this week, we have been discussing how to make the most out of GDC, and with today being Friday, it’s time for the big event to wind down and for everyone to go their separate ways to return home. We hope you had success at GDC 2015, but if it didn’t go as well as you wish it would have, there are things you can do to ensure that next year will be more of a success. Below are the things you can do starting today to prepare for next year’s GDC. If you wish? You can take these tips to your next gaming convention (even E3) and put them into practice early!

Book everything early

The moment you know the date and location of GDC 2016 (which will almost certainly be in San Francisco during March), book everything ahead of time. This means if possible, book your airline tickets early (if you are flying), purchase your ticket, book your hotel – do everything extra early. Not only will this save you a lot monetarily for next year, but it will also save you a lot of potential headache.

Work on having your own booth

Seriously, that’s an awesome goal to have! Instead of going as another attendee next year, why not showcase your upcoming indie game with a booth? We’ve mentioned setting up a booth at a trade show before, so we’re not going to go into the details too much right now, but know that planning ahead is key. That means bringing an assortment of items that you would never think you would need until the big day: pens, surge protectors – little things like that. Moreover…

Have an awesome demo to show off next year

You also need to have an awesome demo to showcase at the next GDC. If possible, be sure that everyone can play your indie game without having to rely on Wi-Fi or mobile data. I don’t know about you, but every time I got to a conference like GDC, the Wi-Fi and 4G is absolutely atrocious. Be sure that your demo never has to download data once, allowing you to have a flawless demo that everyone can play right away.

Also, be sure that the device running your demo is working at its best. The last thing you want to happen is for it to stop working, and making the entire trip a waste. Plan ahead is key, so be sure that before you make the trip to GDC 2016, everything is working properly.

Perfect your pitch

Practice pitching your indie game on friends and family. Whenever someone walks up to you and asks you to tell them about your indie game, you do not want to be stammering and stuttering throughout the pitch. Sell them on what you are offering! Learn to describe your indie game as optimally with as few words of possible. Reference one of our past articles detailing how to master an elevator pitch for your indie game to guide you through this.

Schedule meetups early

Finally, schedule meetups with peers early. Those people that you met at GDC this year? Meet with them again next year by scheduling a meetup a few months in advance. It’s the best way to ensure that you get meet even more people next year than last year, and will allow you to set yourself up for success early at GDC 2016!

We’ve just scratched the surface on preparing for next year’s GDC, so we want to turn the conversation over to you guys. Do you have any questions about planning ahead for next year’s GDC? Let us know in the comments below!

2 Responses

  1. Great article man,

    We’re planning on going to GDC 2016 to show off our indie game. The game will be ready for release at the time of GDC but we haven’t decided if we will release it before or after. As a small team of 3 where would you think we belong, in the GDC play part or one of the other exhibit areas? This is our first time going down and we have a product we believe in and very proud of, we want to position ourselves to have the most exposure as possible.

    Cheers,
    Adam

    1. Dusty

      Thanks for the kind words Adam. Regarding the launch, I would wait until GDC is over to release your game. The reason being is because if you release it a few weeks before GDC, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle; release it even earlier, and it’s kind of old news by then. GDC would give you a chance to tease the game, hype it up, hand out free promo codes and speak with the media to line up potential reviews, etc.

      As for where you want to be at GDC, the most important thing to consider is foot traffic. Set up your booth in a spot where there’s going to be a lot of people walking around all day, every day – and with it being GDC, that isn’t too hard to find (plus, if you register early, I assume you will have an easier time reserving a proper spot on the floor). I’ve never been to GDC but I have been to E3, and what I can tell you is that you don’t want to set up your booth in an area that’s out of the way for most people. I remember this one time I had to interview an indie dev, and his team’s booth was so far from the main floor that it took forever to find them. To no surprise, they hadn’t had a lot of visitors that week.

      The best advice I can give you is to get in touch with a few devs that regularly go to GDC and ask them which areas have the best foot traffic. They’ll point you in the right direction, and from there it’s all about reserving the space in time and setting up a booth that’s going to draw a lot of attention. If applicable, try to get a mascot for your booth – everybody loves posing with them and it’s the perfect segway to pitch your game!

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