2020 has been the year in which the entire world has had to learn to abandon the physical and embrace the digital.
Our Business Development Director, Vlad Alexandru, shares his experience on what it looks like to virtually attend major Game development industry events.
- What are the main industry events you took part in or are planning to take part in since the beginning of March, when the lockdown measures started? What do these events look like?
At the beginning of the year we had planned to take part in 8 events in 2020, the main ones being GDC, Nordic Game, XDS Summit and Gamescom. These are huge events that attract thousands of attendees yearly, not to mention the potential millions it can reach via streaming.
We were planning to make a much bigger “splash” this year by having a very visible presence at these events, so we are especially sad that we can no longer do it. Not live anyway!
- What did the GDC, Nordic Game, XDS look like before the pandemic and what were the major changes in the agenda during the actual event?
All these events gather thousands of people and give them a front row seat to great lectures, interesting panels and Q&As, fun Awards shows and many other activities to keep those few event days as engaging as possible. While a lot of these can be moved to an online platform and can still be just as great, it’s not really what you’re looking for as a business developer.
The single biggest change, for me, is the social component, or lack of, rather. Being at one of these events means being surrounded by thousands of interesting people to connect with, hundreds of potential business leads and partners – all just a handshake away! And the best thing? You can just walk up to them and start a conversation. No need for a formal invitation.
All that has now been replaced by online meeting systems, that each event set up in their own way. Dev.Play, for instance, offered individual webpages where we could stream our own content, XDS offered the option of a 3D booth, a virtual space to showcase our assets, while GDC created a virtual map that mimicked an event floor.
We also had the opportunity to experience the role of speakers in a fully virtual context, at XDS. We spoke about our long-time collaboration with Wargaming, and we found that, despite the new format, the engagement was just as good.
- For all the events in the new era of lockdown and social distancing – Can you describe your expectations before and after lockdown, after taking part in events like the GDC, XDS and Nordic Game?
Experience has taught me that the biggest expectation you can have from events like these is meeting people – or even better: people meeting and hopefully remembering YOU.
Before the lockdown we were planning to have an impactful attendance at these events. Attract attention and bring partners to us by showcasing the amazing stuff AMC creates in a visible, visually stunning space. We were also planning to display some of our beautiful Romanian culture by joining a few of the events as part of a country booth alongside the Romanian Game Developers Association.
Now? Now my biggest hope is to be able to maintain my primary objective of meeting people and people meeting me. The online meeting systems have been very helpful for all of them and I was able to set up quite a few meetings with developers, big and small – but nowhere near the same numbers you would expect from a live event.
- What were your objectives before (as much as you can disclose)? Did the shift in the shape of these events mean a turnaround for your objectives, or are they still the same? What could you still achieve, and what are the main advantages and disadvantages of this new form?
My main objective was making a number of new connections, while a secondary objective was turning a percentage of these connections into new partners. AMC is a very agile company so we were able to adapt our objectives to face the new reality, with a minimal impact on our overall strategic goals.
I believe that we can still achieve a good portion of the original objectives through online methods, for a few reasons: developers who want to meet new partners and develop new opportunities will continue to do so remotely. It’s just a matter of finding and reaching them, which is where the meeting systems come into play and show their usefulness.
- What would be some advice/hints/tips & tricks you would like to share with a business developer in the game industry in order to take the best out of virtual international events like the ones you have taken part in?
Hopefully without sounding negative, I would say that first and foremost we need to manage our expectations. The world has changed, and so have we. We need to adapt to the new reality, not just in our daily practices but also in our mindset: the way we structure our strategy and the way we set and measure our goals.
Look closely at the attendees available for online meetings, then look at your calendar for that period. How many can you physically meet? How many attendees are there looking for services or products you provide?
Do your research and make sure you set realistic goals. Don’t expect to come home with a couple of hundred leads like before.
So rather than focusing on the numbers, try to make the most of the few “leads” that are available and make those conversations meaningful.
Before sending a meeting invite, ask yourself: Can I help them? Can they help me? Is this the right person to talk to?
Our last event of the year will be the second edition of Nordic Games, NG20+ on Nov 25-27, where we’re honored to have been invited to speak.
If you’d like to meet us there live, or any other time, reach out to Vlad at firstname.lastname@example.org.