For game companies, major events seem cut-and-dried: GDC, E3, consumer shows like GamesCom or PAX. But with all the major tech events that take place in the Bay Area, it can be very tempting to blow most, if not all, off. Events like the Crunchies, Launch Festival, and SXSW are mainly for nongaming tech firms, right? Wrong. Here are five reasons why major tech conferences are now more relevant for mobile gaming firms than ever:
1) Networking. They say that success isn’t about what you know, but whom you know. Yes, this is an obvious point. It is also still very, very true. This year’s Crunchies hosted the likes of Airbnb, Game Insight, Lyft, Oculus, Supercell, King.com, Wanelo, Tinder, QuizUp, Waze, Netflix, Yahoo Weather, Twitter, Amazon, Uber, Tesla, Jim Goetz, David Karp, Marissa Mayer, and Jeff Bezos. Launch Festival hosted Virtuix, Knightscope, Samsung, Kiip, GogoCoin, Microsoft Ventures, and Amazon. This year’s SXSW hosted Comixology, Dolby, Intel, iam8bit, Wargaming, Ninetendo, Xbox, Telltale Games, Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, Naughty Dog, Warner Brothers, Edward Snowden (virtual), Chelsea Clinton, Snoop Lion, Shaq, and Neil Young. It absolutely makes sense to break out the breath mints and practice up some small talk for a crowd like this
2) Media coverage. Representing Game Insight at the Crunchies, I met with more than 60 local and national press outlets, including TIME, USA Today, The New Yorker, TechCrunch, GigaOM, and VentureBeat. At Launch Festival I met with more than 20 local press outlets, including Bloomberg, Wikia, and Examiner. At SXSW, I met with FoxTV, Technorati, VentureBeat, Forbes, Adweek, PandoDaily, and TechCrunch. Like it or not, strong media coverage is an important part of running a successful mobile gaming company, particularly one that is looking to attain funding, considering entertaining buyout offers, preparing to IPO, or simply looking to strengthen its brand image.
3) Keeping up. Working in the tech sector—whether in mobile gaming, other types of mobile apps, or more general tech—is all about the next big thing. The next new story. The next undiscovered whiz kid who just came from out of nowhere. When you work in a space where all the attention is focused on whatever happens to be shiniest and newest, being present at an important event like this reinforces your company’s relevance in a landscape that is both constantly changing, and also constantly shifting its attention to people other than yourself. Attending an event like this also gives you a bird’s eye view of the tech, mobile, and gaming spaces and will help you identify and familiarize yourself with the biggest players and the latest trends.
4) Gaming has arrived. While major tech conferences are traditionally known for focusing on nongaming companies like Snapchat, Upworthy, and Fitbit, we’ve also started seeing gaming start to take precedence at these events, with the likes of Oculus, Supercell, and King.com in attendance at the Crunchies, with powerhouse Clash of Clans developer Supercell being nominated for Best International Startup, and Candy Crush Saga creator King.com walking away with the Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop award, and with SXSW playing host to Nintendo, Sony, Game Insight, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Activision, Naughty Dog, with powerhouse Ubisoft – Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Games of the year, and Super Marios 3D World, Excellence in Gameplay award.
5) Free booze and music. ‘Nuff said.
Alexis Valerio, the author of this post, is Senior PR Manager for Game Insight North America, one of the world’s leaders in the free-to-play mobile gaming space.