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21 May 2015

Should Your Team Attend E3 2015? Not Without A Plan

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There is less than a month to go until North America’s biggest video game convention, E3, invades Los Angeles yet again. An event that is always jam-packed with breaking news, debuts, countless booths, and lots of walking, it’s an event that could benefit your indie studio greatly (if you play your cards right). If you are thinking about whether or not your team should attend E3 2015 in order to promote your indie studio and your library of games, keep reading – hopefully, you will come to an informed conclusion by the end of this post.

First: is it economically feasible?

Look, it’d be awesome if every one of you guys could go to E3 2015. There’s lots of networking opportunities (more on that in a moment) and a chance to show off your game to tens of thousands of people, but if it’s going to break the bank, it may not be in your best interest. After all, if you live on the other side of the world, you’re just beginning, and it could cost thousands to attend, you may want to rethink your strategy. Check out our post on attending game conferences on a budget to see if your team can make it happen.

If you can’t make it happen? Don’t sweat it: there’s always next year and plenty of other conferences you can attend (probably even in your neck of the woods).

I can attend, but what will I get out of it?

If you’re going to E3 2015 hoping to strike up the deal of a lifetime, prepare to be disappointed; I’m not saying it isn’t going to happen, but it probably isn’t. If you are attending in hopes that you will learn something new, meet new indie developers, publishers, and other people in the industry to network with, or want to get a few new eyeballs on your indie game, then you are attending for the right reasons.

Be realistic

You get as much out of E3 as you put into it – and the more realistic you can be about what you are going to get out of it, the better. For example, you’re probably not going to be able to meet Gabe Newell (believe me, I’ve tried), but why aim for the top anyway? There’s plenty of Valve employees walking around the convention that are more than happy to speak with you, listen to what you have to say, and network with you later down the road (I know from experience).

What I’m trying to say is this: while many of the biggest names in the industry are going to be all under one roof, that doesn’t mean you have free access to speak with them (you probably won’t even see them). If you want to reach out to someone at Sony and ask about developing a game for the PS4, don’t seek out CEO Andrew House because you’re not going to find him: instead, find a Sony employee, ask them about it, and they will point you in the right direction.

Be prepared

Whether you bring a team or you attend E3 2015 alone, you need a plan of action before you attend. Setting up a booth to demo your indie game? Then you need to be absolutely prepared to ensure the demo goes off without a hitch. Prefer to network with potential publishers and other like-minded indie developers? Have a plan of action to successfully network. The morale of today’s post is to not wing anything and know exactly why you want to attend before signing up as an exhibitor or an attendee.

Too many people will attend E3 2015 for its namesake in hopes that something magical will automatically happen to further their career: if you don’t have a plan, you’re wasting your time.

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