The show must go on. Even with the world still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns still in place, the games industry is fuelled by knowledge exchange and information sharing.
There's no need to forgo those all-important meetings and networking sessions along with the gym, pub and social outings that lockdown dictates. All that 'biziness' is very doable from the comfort of your home, office or yacht.
It was just a year ago when we all despaired at the fact that we were no longer able to meet in person, but now I grimace when people moan about digital conferences - these are wonderful experiences! Can you imagine living through all this turmoil 20 years ago? In many ways, game makers and industry leaders are perfectly placed now to take advantage of new modes of learning and liaising.
We’re keen to get back to hosting live events in 2021 too. It’s wonderful to raise a glass with our industry friends. And we appreciate that ‘Zoom fatigue’ is a very real thing – check out our tips to overcome it – but we know digital conferences have been a lifeline during this difficult time. And they’ve opened up fantastic new avenues. As we prepare for a 2021 full of opportunity, here are the five reasons you should have faith in the virtual conference scene:
1) Truly international speakers and delegates
We’ve been able to source experts from every continent to take part in Pocket Gamer Connects Digital events. And attendees from over 70 countries have joined each digital meeting platform – compared to about 45 countries at a physical event. We calculated that over 90 countries logged on to our event platforms across last year in total. We’ve been able to introduce you to the best industry people, regardless of where they’re based, unlimited by the need to travel.
2) Digital events are a boon for smaller studios
If you’re an indie developer, conventions and festivals are essential. Pitching competitions and expo areas with booths are great ways to promote your game and receive feedback. It’s how you showcase your projects to would-be investors and publishers. Networking is how you meet the industry and sell your talent.
But independent game makers are usually on a tight budget, meaning that the events they attend are usually the ones right on their doorstep. Getting as far as GDC or E3 is just a dream to many first-time creators.
Online events can be incredibly productive. You don’t need to miss a week of work; you can fit seminars around your day-to-day tasks
So the rise of digital conferences over the last year has enabled those indies to connect like never before. By way of illustration, we had over 150 developers from the Middle East join Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #4 in November - a number unlikely to travel further afield to say, Helsinki or Seattle. And from Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #5 onwards, we’ve introduced product showcases in the MeetToMatch platform, so it’s easier than ever to demonstrate your projects to partners.
3) Cost-effective networking
Even if you’re from a big company and a seasoned traveller to boot, connecting from home has spreadsheet advantages. There’s no need to book flights, find an Airbnb close to a conference centre or budget for hotel breakfasts and Ubers.
We love to visit new places as much as the next business traveller, and of course, we’re horrified at the effects of Covid on society, but there’s no denying that our expense accounts slept peacefully in 2020 thanks to the shift to online events. A digital conference is a great way to meet business contacts from around the world, without having to put your accountant on alert.
4) It’s a more effective use of time
We’re all trying to squeeze as much as possible out of our days. Good news, then, that online events can be incredibly productive. You don’t need to miss a week of work; you can fit seminars or panels around your day-to-day tasks. The match-making meeting platform can supplement your daily work calls instead of competing with them. A live event gives you focus, but a digital event brings breadth to your working day.
5) People are ready to do business
Ultimately, business is booming and the games industry is ready to connect, so you should be a part of it; lockdown be darned. Although the sad effects of the pandemic are still being felt - and our heart goes out to all those affected - games are one medium that’s thrived in the last 12 months, so there’s money to be spent.
Our own recent questionnaire returned the good news that investors who typically attend our Investor Connector event have an investment pool of almost $200m – evidence enough that the mobile games industry is attracting attention and ripe for business to be done digitally.
Naturally, we believe that great opportunities are to be found over a coffee and a handshake - and we miss those real-world encounters as much as anyone - but that's a luxury in these times of Covid lockdowns.
We can't wait until we all get together in the same place again, but one thing that the pandemic has taught us is that digital conferences have a ton of advantages. From the ease of access whatever your budget and wherever you are in the world, your business can boom at a digital conference.
Don't believe us?
Find out for yourself with Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #5 next month. Get your ticket by midnight THIS THURSDAY Jan 28th and save up to $210 on the full price.
And if you qualify as an indie dev, then the bargain just got even better because we’re also allocating a limited number of free passes solely for small indie developers, so apply online while there's time.