Video Game Conferences - the Business Side of Events

S2 EP15: Video Game Conferences – the Business Side of Events

LARA: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Open World, your videocast, podcast, wherever you’re listening to, about video games, localization, and memes. Today’s topic is about conferences. I’m here with Ale and Meli, and we’re going to be talking about the importance of video game conferences in general, not only for localization. Or, if you want to get into the industry, and you are an accountant, and you want to get into the industry, maybe a video game conference is what you need, right? Do you guys know video game conferences apart from Gamescom?

ALEXIS: Yes, we have matching t-shirts.

MELISA: If you didn’t notice.

LARA: Yes, or if you’re listening to this and not watching us, we have matching shirts.

MELISA: Yeah, Gamescom was a great conference. In general, I think video game conferences are really fun because some of them have that B2B section for businesses, and then you have the B2C section, which is usually just really fun. All the new games are…

ALEXIS: Just to experience what you get from the other side of the joystick.

LARA: Yeah, I love them both. I knew video game conferences from the B2C side because I am a consumer. It means “business to consumer”, because I consume video games. I love that part. I think that’s so much fun. It can get a little bit tiring after being on the B2B side.

MELISA: It’s intense.

LARA: And it’s crowded, yeah. It tends to get a little bit crowded. But I love the B2B part too, because that’s where the magic happens. Personally, I believe there are many opportunities in the B2B side of conferences for everyone that wants to get into the video game industry, because you can go networking, you can meet new people, maybe you meet your favorite person in the video game industry in person and you’re like, “Oh my God!”

ALEXIS: It happened to us at the BIG Festival when we met the creator of Diablo, remember?

LARA: We met the creator of Diablo and we were like fangirling. So, we wanted to make this episode for you if you are doubting yourself, if you want to go to a video game conference, to the B2B side, and you don’t feel prepared, you don’t feel ready, we got you. We aren’t, but we have some amazing tips for you that might help because every conference is different. We have Gamescom, we have the Tokyo Game Show.

ALEXIS: Yeah, in different parts of the world, there are different conferences. You have E3 in LA, GDC.

MELISA: GDC, G-Star in Korea.

ALEXIS: Tokyo Game Show in Japan.

MELISA: Yeah, some of the biggest conferences to which you can go. But also I think it is nice, when you go to these conferences, to leave a little time to go to the B2C. So important.

LARA: Yeah, absolutely. So, what is the best advice for each of you? What is the best advice you could give to someone? Please name one because I know we’re going to start naming a lot.

ALEXIS: For the conferences. I have an example.

LARA: An advice, talking from your point of view, from your experience, to everyone that’s listening, because, as you may know, we are translators, we are localizers, and we work for a localization company. Our B2B side of the event is actually going to get and meet new clients, and meet new people, and get connections and networking because that’s how you get the job going. If maybe you’re a programmer and you want to get into the video game industry, this might relate to you as well because it doesn’t matter which side of the industry you are. If you’re an accountant, if you’re a programmer, if you’re into design and visuals, I don’t know, if you’re into localization too. These tips might help you to organize yourself and to be more prepared for these B2B conferences that can be really exhausting.

ALEXIS: I would say, first tip: know what your goal is in that conference. For instance, you’re attending a video game convention and you are a lawyer, or an accountant, like you said. Try to narrow down what type of contacts you want to create, you want to network with, in that conference. If you’re a publisher and you’re looking for services, most conferences have a list of attendees, and you can use filters. I think what I’m trying to say is I’m advising against bulk contacting with a single message.

LARA: No, that doesn’t work.

ALEXIS: That’s not useful. Know why you’re going to that conference and make your networking happen around that.

MELISA: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I think for me it would be… I’m very related to that and what you just said, to prepare all that pre-conference work that you should do, because if you’re going somewhere and you’re making an investment, booking the tickets, everything, you shouldn’t just appear there.

LARA: Like, “Hi, I just spawned here!”

ALEXIS: “Hi, this conference is cool!”

MELISA: It’s possible that you’re going to meet very interesting people. But you can make the most out of it if you prepare. And then you do your research with the attendee list and really select the people you want to meet. Some of these conferences have a platform where you can send meeting requests.

LARA: Absolutely.

MELISA: All of the work that goes before that.

ALEXIS: It makes your job easier.

LARA: Yeah, I’m going to say something that might sound a little bit creepy, but you have to do your research. You have to investigate the people that you’re going to meet with. Because, as Meli mentioned, on these platforms, you can see who is attending. You can see who is your potential buyer or the potential person that you’re going to speak to. And I think it’s so important that you do your research because maybe that’s a point of contact within the company that you want to reach, but maybe it’s not in charge of what you really need. So, try to do your research so you don’t end up pestering that person.

MELISA: It takes time, but also it will save you a lot of time.

LARA: Absolutely.

ALEXIS: That happens, and also you’re mindful of people’s time as well. I mean, for instance, you’re looking for… you’re a translator and you’re looking to enter, to find localization companies, right? And you see on the attendee list that no one is from the HR team or the Careers Department, or whatever. Maybe contact them and say, “Hey, can you give my contact to someone who I would like to talk to?”

LARA: Yeah, that’s the magic of networking, because it happened to us a lot, a lot of times, that we get to meet you, we get to meet a lot of translators that want to work with us, and yeah, it’s the only thing that we can do, because it is not part of our jobs to actually recruit people. So, the best that we can do is recommend you to the department that is in charge of recruiting people, but maybe it will be a waste of energy for you to try to get us to like you. We already like you!

ALEXIS: To contact everyone, regardless of their role, just because… I’m going to take my job as an example. I want to work with a company, with a triple-A publisher company. And everyone that’s attending the conference is not people from the department that I would like to contact. So, it’s like, “Does it make sense for me to contact them, request a meeting, look around for them?” What I’m trying to say is: optimize your efforts in the conference so that you can make it a lot easier.

MELISA: I think, still, another tip, is there are a lot of networking events, things happening around the conference. Sometimes I’m not part of the conference. You should always go see if there are things happening, you know, drinks, breakfast. There are a lot of things happening and to make the most out of it, it’s definitely a great opportunity to meet people. It’s going to happen that you’re introduced to someone that is not maybe the right person, but still, that contact is very valuable. That person can be…

LARA: …the link for the other person, yeah.

MELISA: And I think a great thing about networking is that you get to meet people and then see it from a selfless point of view where they refer you. And maybe you meet someone you can refer to someone else. Maybe you meet someone and it’s nothing related to what you do or your industry, but you know someone else who might help them and you’re like, “You know what? Let me put you in contact with this person, this might be helpful.” And I think everything that you give, comes back. So, it’s a nice way of looking at it.

ALEXIS: I think that when you say networking, it almost sounds like it’s cold, right? The term. But it’s actually the entire opposite. I mean, you connect with people on a level that goes beyond just an email on a professional level. You connect on a personal level.

MELISA: What can I get from you? What can you get from me?

ALEXIS: I can help you in this way, you can help me that way. Let’s connect, I know someone that can help you.

LARA: Absolutely, and I want to go back to what you mentioned, Meli, about the new networking events outside the B2B event, because that happens a lot of the time. Maybe you have breakfast, maybe you have drinks, maybe you have lunch. My tip here will be: plan a schedule, make yourself an agenda so you don’t look like a headless chicken running everywhere. So, you know where you have to be, you know what you have to do, and you have your day planned to work as you want to. I think, for me, that’s… I need organization in my life.

ALEXIS: You go with a team so that everyone knows what the other person is doing.

LARA: Absolutely, absolutely. I want to go back to this scheduling thing, guys, because, how are days during a conference? Because sometimes people see pictures of you at the conference, like you’re having a great time and everything, but how is really a day at a conference?

ALEXIS: I think that it depends on if you have a booth or if you’re just attending. But I like what you said. That’s great advice, to know what you’re doing that day.

MELISA: Having that schedule planned. Makes it a lot easier.

ALEXIS: Be mindful of other people’s time and of what you can or can’t do. What does a day look like? I mean, you have your schedule, you know what to do. I would advise, again, another tip, to leave some room between meetings.

LARA: Oh my God, yeah.

ALEXIS: Because having four back-to-back meetings before you even have lunch, it can take a toll on you when you hit 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.

LARA: Yeah, absolutely.

ALEXIS: If you did your scheduling right, I’m guessing that your days are going to be busy.

MELISA: Yes, they are very intense. That’s definitely how I would describe them. There’s a lot going on. And it can be overwhelming. So, I think that all of the, you know, preparing, researching, and planning ahead. Even if you’re already watching this, and I hope it’s helpful, it’s all work that would make it a little easier when you’re there and so you’re not like, “Oh no, where do I go, what do I do?”

LARA: Yeah, absolutely.

ALEXIS: Another thing that I would recommend is to have, if you’re presenting a service or if you’re presenting a game, or if you have something that the person that’s meeting you, you would like them to know prepare a deck or some sort of pitch, even an elevator pitch, something short and sweet that, if you have an impromptu meeting, you meet someone on an aisle or even on a different booth that you’re visiting, for them to know really quickly without taking too much of their or your own time.

MELISA: “What do you do? What do you offer?”

LARA: You realize when you’re… that’s my opinion, right, but when you go to a conference and you leave your desk job, where you might be working for six, eight, or four hours, to actually be ready to be standing or walking for more than 12 hours. So, to me, another great advice is: get comfortable, wear comfortable shoes, comfortable clothes, be ready to have your hygiene products close by because you’re going to be there for 12 hours and not going to be able to go back to your hotel. Just make sure that you’re taking care of yourself because with all this excitement, all of these things happening at the same time, you had great meetings, you had bad meetings: your body is going with you everywhere. So, be sure to, yeah, be sure to have…

MELISA: Maybe you’re not feeling it in the day, but then at the end of the day, and then you can feel it the next morning. I don’t know if I can come to this thing.

LARA: Yeah, make sure that you’re drinking enough water. That’s so important, too. Make sure you take breaks between meetings, like you said.

ALEXIS: And have a good breakfast.

LARA: Yeah, that you are eating properly, and you’re not only eating fast food and everything because…

MELISA: And also people to take notes, it’s so important.

LARA: Yeah, I wanted to go to that because your brain, as a part of your body that you have to take care of, is going to get so exhausted at a moment and you’re not going to be able to remember everything that you heard in a meeting.

MELISA: Yeah, the most notes that you can take is going to be a lot easier for after because at every meeting… maybe at that moment you’ll be like, “I’ll remember, I’ll contact this person to tell them this.” And then, at the end of the day, you have all these contacts and you’re like…

LARA: “Oh my God, who was he?”

ALEXIS: You have to remember.

MELISA: Yeah, you’re like, “Oh, no, what is that?”

ALEXIS: “Who was this guy?”

MELISA: “It would be so good if I had taken notes of it.” I mean, it happens.

LARA: And that takes me, absolutely, that takes me to the other part of B2B conferences, because everything is great when you are at the conference, when you are at the networking events, when you are chill, when you are relaxed, having a few drinks with some partners, and you get to meet them, and you get to have a really great time because you know they all work in the video game industry, they all know what it’s like. But there is an after part of B2B conferences. That is the most important because we are talking about follow-ups. Following up after you meet someone is so important, and you have to make yourself memorable. So, when you do the follow-up email, they will remember you.

MELISA: For sure, and if you don’t put in all the work, you planned ahead, you gave everything and then you went to the conference, you followed your schedule. If you don’t do all of the work that goes afterward… So, it’s definitely the most important part.

ALEXIS: And for that, the notes that you took help a lot. And also make that follow-up customized, I would say. If you talk to someone about something, talk about it in your email. Don’t send the same message. A standard message to everyone.

LARA: For me it’s also… remember the meetings that maybe were not that good, and maybe you met someone and actually it was a mismatch. Because it can happen: it was a mismatch. They don’t need your services. You don’t need their services. But it was great contacting them and having each other’s card for future references, because if I have someone that might want to work with you, I can give them your card. But be mindful of taking those notes too, because at the end of the day, when you are doing your follow-up and you find yourself with a name and you don’t have notes, you only have a card, and you send them, like, “Yeah, I’m sending you a generic email, I’m trying to sell you this.” The person is going to be like, “Yeah, no, but we talked about this. Don’t you remember?” And that’s when it can get tricky, because it might look like you did not do your research properly, and you are kind of going back again with the same topic and the person is clearly not interested or is not going to be able to help you at the moment. So, be mindful of taking notes in those meetings that go so well and also on the networking opportunities and the meetings that maybe are a mismatch because it’s important to have those contacts and to remember what they do, how we can help each other.

ALEXIS: Totally, I agree.

MELISA: For sure, that can definitely help in the future, because a lot of people that you meet at the conferences, you will meet them again, maybe the following year, if you attend. It’s also just really nice and enjoyable, because you sometimes make friends, sometimes you see them again the following year, and you catch up, and it’s part of… it just makes it easier when you see a friendly face when you’re there, someone that you already know.

LARA: Absolutely. And another piece of advice I want to give: sometimes there are networking events that happen after the days of the event. You have parties, you have dinner parties. Remember to sleep, please. It sounds so silly, I know, but sometimes you can get so caught up with everything. Take care of your voice because you’re going to be singing, you’re going to be talking a lot with a lot of people. Maybe you go to a party, you’re going to be singing with the dude you want to do business with. Take care of your voice.

ALEXIS: That sounds familiar.

LARA: Take care of your voice, take care of yourself. I think that’s one of the best pieces of advice for this. And yeah, preparing for a conference is always tiring, but it’s always so much fun.

MELISA: And rewarding. I mean, sometimes you find yourself in a position you wouldn’t have thought of, or meeting someone you never imagined. So, it’s great.

LARA: Yeah, absolutely. So, I hope we helped you guys out when preparing for a conference. Also, remember to enjoy. I think that’s the biggest part of all.

MELISA: And a great part of our industry.

LARA: Yeah. If you love video games and you have the chance to attend these events, you’re going to have a great time.

MELISA: Everyone who also loves video games, you’ll be surrounded by those people.

LARA: It’s always so much fun, yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us today. If you have another tip and you want to share it with us, please leave a comment down below because we are going to be reading them.

ALEXIS: Or if you have more questions.

LARA: If you have more questions, if you want to reach out to each other, we have a Discord server for you to join, so please be mindful of that too. Thank you so much for joining us. This was another episode of Open World. Bye-bye.

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