Why you should go to GDC and other conferences

fistbump
image by mrtopp

The three main conferences I go to each year are GDC (San Francisco), Casual Connect (Seattle), PAX Dev + PAX (Seattle).

Someone on a forum I frequent asked what the benefits are, and so I thought I’d list what I specifically find useful about them. Your mileage may vary:

Press/Publishers/Distributors

- Meeting press so you can build personal relationship (Friend of mine gets taken to dinner by well-known press. They always write up his news.)
- Showing game demos to press (Another friend of mine came to GDC the first time this year and got tons of press mentions including a GameSpot video.)
- Meeting new publishers/distributors.
- Strengthening relationships with existing publishers/distributors so they remember you when you ask them to feature your games.
- Initiating or making deals.
- Getting your brand out there. (I wear a Grey Alien Games T-shirt and obviously have lots of business cards)

Other Devs

- Interesting educational/motivational talks with useful takeaways.
- Helps keep your finger on the pulse with regards to what’s happening in the industry as a whole and within your niche.
- Discussing business/marketing strategies and sales figures with other indies who are willing to share.
- Meeting new indies (and people you’ve only spoken to online) and strengthening relationships with indies. Apart from the fact that hanging with indies is enjoyable to me, sometimes it can result in future alliances, or key bits of useful info, or introductions to people etc.
- Checking out the IGF games in one place and meeting the devs. Plus getting a feel for what sort of game wins awards.

Misc Cool Stuff

- Getting motivated to get on with your work when you get back.
- Helping you to decide on new directions to take your business in and give you new ideas about what to do with your old IP.
- A break from your normal routine, and in my case, better weather than at home too!
- Being in another country/city.
- Parties, free food/booze, music.
- Hanging with Notch (or insert game dev celebrity of your choice)

Jake n Notch

There’s probably more but that’s a good start.

What reasons have I missed that you go to conferences for?

4 Responses to “Why you should go to GDC and other conferences”

  1. GBGames Says:

    That’s why I’ll be going to ISVCon/SIC. B-) In fact, any conferences I can attend easily, I try to make it to even if they aren’t quite a perfect match for what I do. For instance, someone told me about ProductCamp, and I went, and it was a very educational experience.

  2. Vincent Says:

    Really interesting, I hope I can go to GDC next year and have the chance to meet other developers like you.

  3. MrPhil Says:

    Inspiration. To me that is actually the most valuable part. Hearing other people’s ideas and thoughts changes your perception of the world. Now you see the world in a new way, this is inspirational and key to new and innovative ideas.

    PS Nice to finally meet you in person Jake!

  4. Grey Alien Games Says:

    Hi MyPhil, yeah it was great to meet you finally! Also agreed that inspiration is why I go. Seeing great games and listening to devs is inspirational and motivational.