Comment & Opinion

How to make the most of Gamescom's business area

How to make the most of Gamescom's business area

Tom Borovskis and Nikita Korzhavin are Business Development Directors at Nekki.

Just some weeks ago, the Gamescom 2017 took place and we were among the exhibitors. Many colleagues from other companies asked how expensive everything was, how difficult and whether it was worth it. We kept on answering questions for two weeks – until this report was born.

For Nekki, exhibiting at Gamescom 2017 was the first time in the history of the company. And to be honest the idea occurred to us quite late, so we had to take a number of important decisions in a rather short time and organization of our schedule at the event happened rather ad-hoc.

Usually you should start preparation for Gamescom six months before the start; we didn’t get in touch with the organizers until approximately two and a half months in advance.

Consequently, only a very small number of free sites was left. But still everyone was happy with it. At that point I would like to especially thank the organizers of the medialounge for their great flexibility and individual solutions.

At Gamescom we wanted to present our main project, Shadow Fight 3, which will be released worldwide on November 16th 2017. The business area was the only format that seemed suitable to us, as we had two main goals – to get in touch with the press and bloggers and to hold a series of meetings with Chinese publishers. The business area was just perfect for these tasks.

Booth selection

This year, Gamescom had extended the business area to a total of four halls. This is not only due to new countries that presented their products at the Koelnmesse exhibition center, but also due to the space requirements of some companies. So, for example, if our booth occupied a little more than 15 square meters of the medialounge area, then Electronic Arts had a whole hall just for business visitors.

So what is the benefit of the business area? In fact, it is like a three-day marathon for business development, but without the madness that is happening in the entertainment area.

Publishers, developers, marketing, advertising, merchandising producers, the press – if you want, you can solve any issue and establish the most important contacts that may decide about your success for many years to come.

Moreover, you do not only collect contacts during the regular opening hours of the exhibition, but also at various parties organized by individual companies and by Gamescom itself.

But back to our booth. We did not just book an open booth, accessible to all visitors of the business area, but as part of the medialounge booth, we ventured even deeper. This is a closed area with a separate reception, staff, free bar and kitchen, as well as individual rooms, one of which we had rented.

Nekki's neighbours at the media lounge

Before the trip, to solve all organizational questions, we scheduled a Skype meeting together with the representatives of medialounge GmbH, which allowed us to quickly prepare the necessary material for decorating the room and learn about the technical features of the booth.

The set-up and tear down was all handled by the organizers on site. We only needed to send the decorations and determine how to arrange the furniture: a table, six chairs, two small sofas, another small table and a TV.

The Internet connection is worth some extra thought. Our Shadow Fight 3 builds needed a fairly stable connection, and the organizers promised that all medialounge participants would have a total bandwidth of 15 Mb/s. They assured us that there have never been any problems, that everything will be ok.

Nevertheless, out of general interest we asked whether there was a possibility for an allocated channel. And of course there was. The installation of a router in our room would cost 1.500 euros for three days. Hmm ... well, you said that everyone will have good access via your channel, so thank you, we won’t need an extra solution.

In the end, as it was impossible to even check mails in our room via wi-fi on the first day, the organizers promptly brought us a personal router. For free! So do not rush to pay extra for additional services.

Basically, everything can be solved on site. The professionality of the organizers in combination with your competent questions prior to the event and the contacts you meet during the event will give you the desired results.

No extra meetings

We arrived in Cologne a day before the first business day, took all the equipment to the medialounge booth (everything can be left there without worrying about safety), set up video and builds (the Internet was still working well), and figured out how to organize our work space, because we had planned meetings with both the press and publishers in parallel.

You can of course arrive any day you like and just get to the booth a couple of hours before the first guest, but it’s clearly worthwhile to be there a day earlier.

This gives you the chance to check out everything in a calm atmosphere, learn, walk through the pavilion and get in touch with the organizers on site. They won’t be just hurrying around the medialounge booth from one exhibitor to another and will be glad to chat with you about everything.

A very special feature of the medialounge booth is its own reception, which works according to the schedule that you made before the event.

The schedule is divided into half-hour slots from 10 am to 6 pm. You assign the slots yourself, as required, and insert the information about your guests and the time of their stay in the lounge. When a guest arrives, the reception will welcome them and tell you about their arrival. Then the guest is either brought to your room or you may also choose to meet them at the entrance.

The famous German blogger Propa

If someone wanted to meet you outside the timetable (for example, dear-to-our-heart colleagues from India to purchase traffic), they collect their business card at the reception, hand it to you for approval, and if you do not want to talk to them or you simply do not have the time, then the people at the reception will take care of it (I trust that they chose the right words and no one took offense).

We really tried not to just send people away, but to leave our business cards at the reception so that partners could reach out to us with their issues by mail after the event.

This organization of the process allowed us to focus precisely on the meetings that we had planned in advance. In fact, we had a very busy meeting program, virtually a continuous sequence without interruptions, so the support from the reception was very important.

The team

Who should go to the fair? It all, of course, depends on your aims, opportunities and the size of the booth. In our team there were four experts who were ready to backup each other on almost any issue.

But the minimum cast is as follows: a game designer or a producer who can explain all the features of the game, a technician and a businessman for all other issues.

Our team still had an additional advantage with an office in Germany. This made the whole process of organizing Nekki’s participation in Gamescom a lot easier and considerably contributed to the great success. It also enabled the contact with representatives of the German-speaking press, which was, for obvious reasons, quite heavily represented.

Nekki’s Gamescom team (from left): Nikita, Tom, Polina, Andrew

What to show

We had two aims – to get the press interested in the Shadow Fight 3 project and to show the game’s possibilities to Chinese publishers.

During the first hours, to be honest, not everything went really smooth, as it was not entirely clear what would work best to demonstrate everything. What should we demonstrate to whom and in what order?

But finally we worked out the following format: first we included our cinematic (4.9 million views – I definitely recommend to watch it!), then launched a short version of the main gameplay, and for dessert we had a special PvP build (this mode will NOT be available soon in the game) that demonstrated all the variability of the action.

It is worth mentioning that even though we have a mobile game, almost all of our guests preferred to play via the gamepads on the TV where we could also run the builds. This allowed us to play with the guests and meet in a relaxed atmosphere.

After the meeting, we gave out a small gift package with merchandising material and a flash drive including the recorded gameplay of the guest. So some kind of souvenir should be prepared.

PocketGamer's own Harry Slater visiting the Nekki booth

The result

Perhaps you scrolled down to this section right away, since the most interesting thing is how much it costs to exhibit at Gamescom and how much profit you can make.

Well, I can say that when we started with the preparations, available booths in the business area ranged from 12 to 15 thousand euros. Plus, you need to add the costs for organizing the trip of the team (and the longer you hesitate, the more expensive it gets), additional services and furniture at the booth, merchandising, and other related costs.

We had about 25 meetings with the press, bloggers and publishers. Since all meetings with journalists were organized on a free-of-charge basis (how to do it is another story for a future article), our estimate is that all articles and videos made up for the costs of the booth, but the benefit of new business contacts may be unlimited.

I'm sure many colleagues have their own opinion about the business area of Gamescom and, perhaps, other information about prices and profit or another approach to the organization of all processes. Nevertheless, I hope that our experience may be useful for one reader or the other. If you need more information about exhibiting at Gamescom, just message us!

Contact info:
Nikita Korzhavin
Business Development Director - Russia & CIS
n.korzhavin@corp.nekki.ru
skype: korzhnik13

Tom Borovskis
Business Development Director – Western Europe
t.borovskis@corp.nekki.ru
skype: tom_borovskis

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