Game Booth Costs & Tips

I just need to lay down my ideas quickly down, because there have been some awesome articles written on the subject and I want to chip in with a few things.

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1. Booth Costs

Each event varies in terms of booth costs. Some developers suggest to estimate some USD 4000 per event. But here’s what a little bit of research brings up:

  • Develop: Brighton  £395/sqm well detailed here
  • GamesCom: 143 Euro/ sqm. They even have a booth cost calculator!
  • Indie Megabooth/ Pax Prime/ EGX: USD 500 – USD 20000 depending on things

I know currency’s a pitch. But Google is great at conversions 😉

As a rule of thumb, the minimum you should consider is a 2×2 (Meters! Almost forgot to mention. European here). So you can end up with very inexpensive booths, but as mentioned in the articles I linked above, this cost is just one of many, if you plan to exhibit.

Pro Tip: Many conferences end up offering exclusive deals for indies and/ or for specially designated indie spaces. 

Warning: Many conferences do not list their prices, so you just have to contact the organizer. If they don’t respond back, if they are rude, or if they are terribly late, this can prepare you for the quality you can expect from the given event. Definitely something to consider in your evaluation of the costs.

NO EXCUSE TIP: There are a lot of things you cannot control at an event. But your team, your game build and your preparation for the event is NOT one of them. Add the dates of the gamedev events you want to participate in early in your plan! Here’s a good list. Make sure you have your build ready and tested, your materials designed and printed, your PowerPoint pitches polished, your goodies done, your business cards already on your desk Way Before The Event. No Excuse.

2. Free Booths

Yup, there are a considerable number of them out there, and some are quite exclusive, too. You get them by submitting your game in various places. The earlier you submit, the higher your chances to be accepted. Here are some examples:

  • Casual Connect currently accepts submissions for their event in Amsterdam, in February 2016.
  • Pocket Gamer is notorious for their prizes. You can submit your stuff for The Very Big Indie Pitch now. Oups you can’t. It’s closed – did you submit? 🙂
  • IndieCade submissions are currently also closed. But 2016 is close by. You should watch this page.

Pro Tip: Casual Connect is quite an exclusive, invite only conference. Besides the booth and the competition for quite substantial and many prizes, the organizers also offer food and lodging to all admitted gamedevs.

Pro Tip: Pocket Gamer offers USD 8000 – 12000 in ADVERTISING. Steel Media is a pretty big thing. With the “indiepocalypse” looming by, what you win is invaluable marketing.

Pro Tip: Submission rules can be excellent guidelines for preparing ANY pitch.

3. Don’t underestimate your local scene

The desire to have fun, curiosity, a lust for adventure are all universal feelings. Everyone wants to feel good, even if they might not show it. So have your neighbours in your mind. Go to whatever local events you can, especially those that draw a lot of visitors (like food festivals). Or just ask your closest, busiest mall, your local library, your nearest market, if you may show your game. People are especially curious about game development, now that it’s everywhere in the news, and they have an extra incentive to help you as their very own local game developer. If you show some initiative, you might get surprisingly many advantages. And often for free.