How we are (not)attending events in 2022 – Survey results
Game Conference Guide Insights - June 2022
With summer showcases in the rear-view mirror, the industry is looking already at the upcoming sequel -> battlefield gamescom. But let’s get back to the first half of June for a moment.
I am sure you have already heard, the long lost E3 will return in a physical format in 2023 and will be organized again by ESA. And Summer Game Fest produced by Geoff Keighley seems to be gearing up to go head-to-head with E3 next summer by introducing a physical showcase and possible expanding the expo area accessible this year exclusively to media and influencers.
We have seen attempts to fill in a large void left by E3 2019, and with the double feature planned for 2023 it is hard to predict how big of a mess it will be in the end and how many announcements will be shared across multiple showcases. I am sure they won’t be crossing over with the dates nor broadcasting times, but I would love to see less fragmentation and more concentrated salvo of news and announcements spread around few days rather than weeks of “celebration of gaming”. And I am not alone. Good luck everyone involved and to us as well trying to digest every piece of news in summer 2023.
Friendly reminder, you can track all of the showcase events via a special summer link here. Already concluded showcases feature a direct link to the recording, so you can go back and re-watch them. For non-E3 related showcases search for “sumergamefest”, upcoming gamescom related events and activities are shown as default.
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Let’s talk numbers for a second
Now, let’s focus on the main topic: the results of the survey discerning how we are attending events in 2022. If you are an avid Game Conference Guide insights reader, first off massive thank you, second you might remember I did the first survey last year before the omicron wave froze all the plans to host a physical gatherings again. You can view the results from last year here.
As the conditions and restrictions changed, so did the submissions.
This time I managed to gather (only) 99 submissions from 33 countries covering all games industry disciplines, which is 35% less than last year. Please take the results with a pinch of salt. Even with less submissions and a bit different set of respondents, there is a huge hunger to meet and network face to face.
Almost 74% participants picked networking as a number one reason to attend an event in 2022. In multi answer questions this was followed by buying / selling (57%), scouting (32%), inspiration (26 %) and FOMO is felt by 9% (same as last year).
The lack of physical contact with leads, friends, and colleagues for almost three years shifted the priorities for all of us attending any in-person event. If we go deeper, 67% of participants (55% last year) identified as number one reason to attend an in-person event face to face meeting, 62% networking (70% last year) and 32% (34% in 2021) lunches and dinners.
On the other hand, social distancing and other precautions related to Covid-19 pandemic are still number one concern. 60% (74% last year) of all respondents are seeing these as a number one reason why not to attend in-person events. Other reasons being time spent while travelling (44% vs 26% in 2021), access to limited audience (32%) and budget restrains limiting the number of events visited per year.
Even with the improvement of the Covid-19 situation and most of the restrictions lifted in many countries, 43% said (vs 51% last year) they will be very selective this year when it comes to events, 40% said (vs 31% last year) they will go to first event possible with 8% (vs 11% in 2021) not attending at all. The rest was not decided.
There are plenty of events out there to choose from, 38% of respondents (vs 40% in 2021) said they are way too many of them, 16% (vs 11% in 2021) are saying there are not enough of them and 44% (vs 42% last year) are saying there are enough events to cover all their needs (showcase, sales, pitch, network). The rest wasn’t sure how to answer.
Among the new set of respondents, we can see they are keen to attend more events, 43% to be exact, which is 25% increase compared to the last year. More people want to exhibit, more people want to mingle face to face and the interest to drive the sales is higher than ever.
While in 2021 we have seen a different trend tied to the fatigue from attending virtual event, even though more than half (53%) of the respondents at that time recommended attending one. From the survey this year, 49% would recommend attending virtual event in 2022, while 30% (26% last year) would be against it and 21% doesn’t have an opinion.
Same as last year, when asked about the expectations from the events moving forward, two trends emerged and kept coming back: live networking (quality conversations face to face + serendipity, discussing the projects openly) followed by proper hygiene protocols. Two of the suggestions enhancing conversations during events that struck my attention were outdoor meetings and opportunities going beyond the meeting app and loud parties. Kudos to those who suggested these!
Among wishes and features that in-person events should be inspired from their virtual counterparts were Steam Showcases which was mentioned multiple times by developers and publishers. Adding virtual component to already established concept on-location was another suggestion with accessibility, capturing untapped talent territory, and spreading the network leading to the number one reason why to attend – networking.
With the new data set I wasn’t expecting to make any breakthrough findings. Many new participants are confirming the trends slowly moving into favour of in-person experiences and curated content, both on B2B and B2C side.
We do need events to meet, showcases to present and brag, knowledge exchange to being motivated and inspired. These goals can be achieved by attending events in-person or virtually. You just have to find the one that fits your needs. There are way too many of them out there (currently 216 in 2022 alone). Good thing is, Game Conference Guide is tracking as many relevant events as possible.
Non-E3 was the main driver for traffic
During the first 10 days of June, Game Conference Guide has seen on average more visitors than during the whole month. What an achievement! Summer events were the main driver, new users discovered the calendar, scheduled events for 2022 and even the interest for Deadlines has risen significantly. I was blown away while looking at the numbers and it seems I do have to adjust the targets for this year. So far 2022 is bringing more visits and sessions per month than expected.
If you are looking to present your brand, game, project, and you want to expose it to industry professionals and those attending events regularly, get in touch! Bookings for Partner of the Month programme are open for 2023.
Also, the Game Conference Guide 2.0 is being tested within a very closed group of friends who are returning great comments. The early feedback is suggesting the new version is on the right track to offer more when looking for your next event. I am not ready to unveil the new version yet, but I do hope I will be able to share how it is shaping up in the near future.
PARTNER OF THE MONTH
Galaktus is an agency with over ten years of experience in gaming and technology. We come from Poland, yet we operate internationally. We use our vast knowledge in PR and marketing in the technology industry. Still, we also cooperate with producers, publishers, and distributors of video games for many different platforms.
Our Quality Assurance department tests games to make sure that they are of the highest possible quality. Galaktus also organizes events and campaigns in European and American markets, allowing brands to promote themselves and increase sales. We have MSI, Gamedust, ZOTAC, Tracer, Trust, SteelSeries, Gaijin Entertainment, and many more among our clients.
Our team's expertise can also help brands build a strong community and engage influencers to reach more customers.
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Pavol Buday, curator @ GCG
[Game Conference Guide is tracking games industry & game developers’ events, trade shows, festivals, conferences and events around the world.]