We visited Gamescom this year, made some mistakes and were lucky enough to accidentally run into a friend (veteran in the industry) to give us some direction on what to do. Now we want to share what we’ve learned and what we did wrong, so you can be prepared for the next years edition.
What is Gamescom
Gamescom is the world’s largest event for computer and video games, which takes place in Cologne, Germany right after GDC Europe. This year it attracted 345,000 visitors from 97 countries, including 30,500 trade visitors and 877 companies. The area of Gamescom encompassed 193,000 square metres. In addition Gamescom is one of the most affordable exhibitions.
The business area was located in halls 2, 3 and 4. There were 3 types of exhibitors – Developers, Publishers and Service Providers. The developers we spoke with were looking for new business opportunities and were showcasing their games. The Publishers were booked with meetings with developers, press and probably service providers. Keep in mind that there are all kinds of publishers – from the big names like EA, Activision, Nordic, Konami, Nintendo, through indie friendly publishers like HeadUp Games and Team17. All of them had big booths with reception and private meeting points.
The entertainment area was located in halls 5 to 10. All the big players were there – Sony, Xbox, Crytek, EA. There were demos for Battlefield 1, Fifa 2017, The Climb, Robinson: The Journey and many others. We tested Oculus Rift + Oculus Touch & Project Morpheous on the Crytek booth. Sea of thieves really stole the show in our opinion. The waiting lines were bearable when there were only other Trading Visitors in the area, but easily extend to few hours once the visitors arrive. We don’t recommend going into the entertainment area after 10:00.
Gamescom Tips for Indie Developers
Know why you want to go to Gamescom
That’s the best tip we can give you. We were there to look for publisher for Greed For Gravity. In addition we were looking for getting new business contacts and in the look for a new channel for finding work. What is your reason to attend Gamescom?
Book meetings early
Usually Trade Visitor’s schedule is full months before the exhibition. Schedule your meetings at least a month before. Don’t mind if you get rejected or don’t receive an answer.
There are more than one way to get to a contact
What we’ve learned is that the most obvious method to reach somebody (by email) has around 10% success rate. However, the industry is small. Everybody knows everybody. Once you start asking around you might find a way to get introduced in person.
Being introduced in person makes a huge difference
People at Gamescom are usually booked for the whole exhibition and wouldn’t bother to book “yet another meeting”. However if somebody introduces you, he/she serves as a validator that you won’t waste their time. Gamescom parties are a great place to be introduced to somebody.
Meet as many people as possible
People change jobs all the time. The contacts that you make today might not be of great use today, but could get you long way in the future. In addition, it’s always fun to talk with people from the industry even if it’s just about sharing stories.
How much does it cost
We participated as Trading Visitors. This gives you right of access of both business and entertainment area. You can also enter an hour earlier, which is a huge advantage, because you can test around 2 demos for that time (there are still queues though).
Gamescom Trading Visitors ticket cost
Gamescom party ticket cost
It sounds absurd, right? The price for the party ticket is nearly the price for the whole exhibition. However, everybody goes there and it’s a great place to meet your target contacts on less formal ground.
It really depends on where you are located, how early you can book your tickets and are you OK to transfer from somewhere. In our case we flew from Sofia to Dortmund instead of Cologne and then took the train through Duseldorf.
Cost of accommodation
Cologne is not a cheap city, but if you book early you can find an Airbnb for as low as €50 per night.
In conclusion, if you book early, don’t go to fancy restaurants and make your own food, Gamescom would cost you around €400 (without travel expenses). However we recommend using the Gamescom cafeteria – you never know who you might bump into.
Gamescom 2017 will take place in Cologne from Tuesday, 22 August to Saturday, 26 August. Hope to see you there!