How to manage a busy Games Conference season.
This article is intended to give a bit more insight on how we decide what conferences we are going to attend over what always proves to be a busy event season. But I'm also really interested to see how other people prioritise where they go.
Like most companies, Skillsearch has an annual budget set aside for conferences. This is a generous budget, but it doesn't allow us to attend everything. In fact, if you did attend every event you could spend 3 months living out of a suitcase! So, we must decide which conferences we should go to each year.
In my opinion, this comes down to several key factors;
- Price (Tickets and Travel)
- Previous Success
Let's break these key factors down…
- NetworkingThis is one of the main reasons for attending conferences. For us, it's all about who do we get to meet up with – whether that be fresh faces or old friends.On the run up to events, we will be asking everyone we know if they are attending and taking the time out of the day to reach out to people that are listed as speakers or exhibitors, that we may have never met before.
- SpeakersYou want to go to a conference that will educate and interest you. The list of speakers is normally published several months before the event takes place.
- LocationObviously, local conferences will always be attractive, but there is also a draw in going further afield. We recently attended Reboot in Dubrovnik, which was one of the best-organised conferences I have had the pleasure to go to. The location attracted people from places that we wouldn't have had the opportunity to work within the past!
- PriceTicket prices can obviously vary dramatically from free expo tickets to events costing hundreds of pounds. Therefore, gauging the balance between the value gained from attending, and the cost of getting yourself in can be tricky!Nonetheless, there are always options that mean you can keep the budget as low as possible, or even free! There are opportunities to volunteer at conferences, which will mean that you can get free passes, or if you are lucky enough to be a speaker you might even be provided with free ticketsIf you are a member of UKIE or TIGA it's always worth speaking to them prior to booking tickets as they will often be able to get members discounts.
- Previous SuccessIt's simple – if it's tried and tested and has been great previously, we will continue to go!
- PartiesWhenever I tell my wife about conferences, she thinks that they are all an excuse to throw one big party... Obviously, that's not the case, as they are incredibly useful for the reasons mentioned. The best conference party, of course, is Play@Develop, which we will be hosting again this year on Wednesday 12th July.
Follow @Skillsearch for updates and announcements on all our upcioming events and those which we'll be attending.
This year you will find us at the following events;
Reboot, Develop, GDC, Trojan Horse is a Unicorn, VR World Congress, LUUG, VFX Festival, ICEE, Rezzed, EGX, Develop VR, VRX Europe and ICE (plus more to be confirmed).
A useful source of a list of conferences is; http://www.gamesindustry.biz/network/events?year=2017
I would love to hear how other people decide which conference to go to so please get in touch!