By Laura Bularca, Founder of Heart. Papers. Border. and Project Coordinator at Sweden Game Arena
In late September, I went with my team to Gamescom in Cologne to showcase our game Heart. Papers. Border; an optimistic strategy game about travelling, freedom and changing the world.
As a team of just two people who invested our spare time and savings to make this game happen, attending GamesCom would never have been possible by ourselves. Luckily we are members of Sweden Game Arena, which means we get a lot of opportunities to showcase our game pretty much all over the world for free.
As a Sweden Game Arena member, we can display our trailer, we can use our graphics in the booth design, we are listed in promotional materials and we are mentioned in extensive social media campaigns, just to give a few examples.
For indie game developers, attending events is important; not necessarily as a way to ensure commercial success but to build a healthy business network and to find opportunities. In the case of this particular GamesCom, our interest was to make the press aware of Heart. Papers. Border.
Not only did several journalists play the game and contact us afterwards but we also had other important people try out the game, publishers and investors included. We do not seek these kind of deals but a solid network is extremely valuable since one never knows how the video games industry will evolve.
Tips from one indie developer to another
Regardless of the price, showcasing a game at an event is not an easy task. Having an elevator pitch you believe in is extremely important as you get a lot of occasion to answer the question: So what do you do? At trade shows, everyone has an agenda and searches for something. So a catchy elevator pitch can stir interest and open up doors.
Of course, being able to act as soon as interest has been raised is also crucial. Business cards might be an ancient concept but they are still important. They are also a promotional material, not often used as such. In the case of Heart. Papers. Border., our business cards express the graphic style for which the game was praised. We know everyone who has one of our business cards will immediately remember the game when they see it.
A light but powerful laptop is also a great asset. It’s great to not only talk but also show, and an easy to carry computer is useful to promote the game in- and outside the trade show, such as at lunch or even at parties.
Last but not least, talking a lot and repeating the same things about a game can be very stressful. But it is important to remember that even though it sounds like you’re repeating yourself over and over again, the people you talk to hear about the game for the first time. So keep your enthusiasm – it is contagious!
GamesCom certainly helped us level up our pitching skills, increased our network and brought us press interest. This is what we received – and continue to receive – as an indie game studio who is a member of Sweden Game Arena.