I'm bowing out of this. I am also none of those things but I've never done so well.
You are english. If I could go back in time and be born english instead, I would do it. And enjoy the difference.
I'm ignoring this whole USA non/USA thing, but I will talk about conferences.
I agree with Applewood that it isn't required for success to attend trade shows. I also agree with Jake it can be a huge game changer. They tend to be places where you can cement a deal or garner a few new contacts that end up being worth huge sums of money. I can think of 3 cases where a single conversation lead to gains of 5-10,000+ (per title involved). Now again, if you've got one title... ok, maybe not a huge deal. If you have 5 titles... well, that's a heck of a gain for a week of work (plus all the other benefits).
I don't know if there are other people like me out there, but when I go to a show I go representing my clients - all of them - so in some regard you don't HAVE to go to the show as long as you have someone there repping you.
But long story short about conferences are they tend to be what you make them. If you go to one with no plan other than walking around and seeing what happens you aren't likely to get much, though probably something. If you go with a few very specific objectives in mind and schedule as many side meetings to those objectives as possible then you end up typically walking away with something more tangible... though again, they're a gamble. On the upside the whole thing is a business writeoff. Coming from outside the US the difference is the cost of the plane ticket really... and some extra travel time. All in all that is a fairly small cost increase compared to the potential gains.
A quick example was one client went to GDC entirely to secure XBLA and PSN. Did they succeed? I believe the answer is no and yes respectively. That said, even the failure with XBLA may result in future success, as now they have a more powerful image in the Microsoft team's mind and continued efforts may yield results, whereas dismissing an email from 'one of many' developers is far easier. And before we hit the subject of "if its a good quality game then they wouldn't have to..." - the game in question is amazing, flat out amazing.
Anyway, to me that is the big benefit of a trade show and again, you don't have to go personally and you shouldn't go unless you have a specific objective. For me it is a no brainer because I represent so many great developers that I am certain to find press, distribution, and new client opportunities everywhere I look. I don't think I have ever had a net loss on a show.... well, maybe MWC, but that was more a vacation since I had a free ticket to attend and wanted to go to Barcelona (and MWC is basically not gaming at all. I did meet the Android Marketplace team though... that could have some serious side benefits).
I was going to make a childish comment akin to "hooray, fighting!", but this thread just reminded me I should have talked to Google this year at GDC. I went in assuming I had nothing to say to them, but now I'm feeling dumb. Opportunity lost. Ah well, next year.
I was born in the UK and moved my whole family to Vancouver in 2008 because I thought it was a good opportunity to be closer to many game industry related people/events. Moving continent is not easy, and it's expensive here, but it's also cool. I agree with Roman in that there are many non-English speakers at conferences and in Vancouver (it's very multi-cultural here) and they seem to do fine with the press and also do talks at conferences etc. The game dev community is very accepting because they know that many of the best games are made by non-English speakers e.g. Minecraft.
I didn't have any of my own games that I wanted to show off to press this year (Eets Munchies, a project I'm helping with, was being shown off by Jamie Cheng to tons of press) but I did bump into quite a lot of press and also went to a press mixer where indies where showing off their games, so it would have been easy to show one of my games off if I'd wanted to. My "first-time-GDC" friend made an effort to meet press and did very well at it, after all the press are there to write stories about games. He's launching on Steam in a couple of weeks so the coverage should help build awareness + he is getting great preview scores. The game is Waveform.Note that on the press front he's still talking about "a friend of mine" though. There's an implied admission here that "just turning up" isn't enough anyway.
Actually for some reason I failed to bump into Joe this GDC, so he wasn't as ubiquitous as normal.
Marketing/PR, game visibility and access to finance I would say.
It can be easy enough to make games, selling them is a whole other kettle of fish.
Last edited by RichHW; 03-17-2012 at 10:45 AM.
I just had a look at your site, and I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. The reason you're having trouble with Marketing, PR and game visibility because your games aren't really newsworthy, or even "tell my friend over a pint" worthy. Why would a journalist (or anyone) want to spend time talking about yet another arcade snooker/pool/bowling/darts sim? If you can describe your game with the word "arcade" then you're pretty much doomed to failure. "Arcade" usually means no real story, no interesting theme, and the bare minimum of game play - that stuff simply doesn't sell anymore.Originally Posted by RichHW
I had the exact same problem a few years ago myself, my games were not bad quality wise, but they simply weren't capturing the imagination of modern gamers. Make a game people actually want to talk about and marketing/PR will become 100x easier.
I'd be tempted (and I did in the past) to also say marketing, etc. Not to say that it's not difficult but now with some perspective I'm not sure I even learned a single thing about that considering I now feel I didn't went all the way through with what I had to do before getting to that step.
That said though these games are every bit as valid as other games if done right.
My point being, especially on iOS, marketing is tough unless you are lucky or really know what you are doing.
Everything is hard if you don't know what you're doing Anyway - Jake, that is because I wasn't at GDC this year! HAHA, I am still on my trip traveling around Europe trying to find new and interesting business opportunities (and generally having a very good time).
I'll be back for Casual Connect Seattle, because ... http://seattle.casualconnect.org/about.html (I'm at the bottom)
@Terin: OK Mr Program Advisor, I'll see you there!
I advise only the programs, who rarely listen, since they are inanimate. Sometimes I think they listen. Most of the time I think they're mocking me.
Wait, what was this thread about again?
I think I remember someone mentioning a separate building from their house to use as an office and I happened on an article about this:
The pod (it's actually named archipod) is prefabricated, comes with power outlets, data ports, natural lighting and ventilation. Standard model costs around $34,000 plus delivery. (Monetary unit was not mentioned in the article but I assume it's in USD). The company who made it is based in the UK.
there are many game devs, like there are many artists, many musicians etc etc. but it's a good thing. In the past, if you was a creative guy, the only way to express yourself was working in a big studio, or being rich yourself.
Today, it's different and technology let's you create and produce with few money in hands. Of course this means more competition.