If you read my Post-Mortem about PAX East you’ll know that it was less than successful for us. The amount of press, pre-orders and social media we got was lacking considering the cost of exhibiting (at least for now, as we’re still in Alpha). So I was actually really looking forward to seeing how the TooManyGames Expo would compare. TMG is not even remotely the same scale as PAX, but I think in some ways that is a benefit for a small indie game at this stage.
Cost – The booths for indie games were free – or you could upgrade to a bigger booth for $50. I opted for the bigger one since $50 seemed like nothing compared to PAX. Because the convention was held in the suburbs of Philly (and not in downtown Boston) the hotel rates were very reasonable and parking was never a problem. Besides blowing some cash on games for myself it was very affordable.
Media – After getting little attention from media people at PAX I decided to be much more pro-active for TMG. For a couple weeks leading up to the event I searched You-Tube,Twitter and Facebook for anyone who said they were going to TMG. I contacted everyone that had at least a few hundred followers (and some that had 300k+) and invited them to come see our game. I didn’t hear back from many people before the event. But, all weekend long I met most of the people I reached out to, which led to some video/audio interviews on the spot, as well as some write-ups.
- Featured in SomeCallMeJohnny’s TMG video
- Audio interview and write-up from Caffeine Crew.
- Video interview with CrispyNoodle
Feedback – We usually get great feedback when we show the game but at TMG we also got some well thought out constructive criticism. Thanks to all the people we met over the weekend I was able to work out a couple bugs and introduce a few changes to the combat mechanics (which I’ll be showing in the next blog post).
I didn’t get to meet the Angry Video Game Nerd.
Because of the low cost I was sure we’d have no problem breaking even with new pre-order (with poster) sales. But, just like PAX, I found it very difficult to convince people to pre-order on the spot. It partially has to do with my personality – I feel bad trying convince someone to give me money. Another issue is that some people who stop by, talk and play the demo aren’t PC gamers and obviously won’t pre-order. But again I realise that events like this aren’t about making money but rather increasing awareness, networking, and getting feedback.
The most important lesson I learned during this event was how easy it was a get a response from media people (who were all super nice people). I’m going to apply this strategy in the future and see what kind of an impact it can have for bigger events.
I’m also going to continue looking to attend small/mid sized conventions over the big ones, until we’re ready to launch. Even though this event only had a couple thousand people in attendance I still got to interact with about the same amount of people as PAX.
And the final takeaway from TooManyGames 2014: