GDC Diary (Part 3)

Friday March 9th – Camaraderie with a Convict, a Conductor and a Flight Controller

What, the last day of the conference already? But it felt like we’d only just arrived in San Francisco! We had no time to waste. There were more cool presentations to go to.

Today’s talks covered how games get reviewed, marketing for indies, and for us the most interesting presentation of the day, “Awesome Video Game Data”.

The Awesome Video Game Data talk was given by Geoffrey Zatkin of video game research firm EEDAR. We were already familiar with this company as we’d seen presentations from them at the Game Connect Asia Pacific conferences in Australia over the last couple of years. These guys have teams of analysts constantly reviewing video game data from which they extrapolate key industry statistics. These aren’t just interesting facts and figures though. This stuff can help you plan your business strategy. They never fail to impress us with their in-depth knowledge of this huge industry. Here’s some of the awesome data we were presented with:

  • The average review score for third party games on the Wii is less than 65. That makes us feel great about our current Metacritic score of 81 for escapeVektor: Chapter 1.
  • A game with a low review score and high marketing budget will generally sell more units than a game with a high review score and low marketing budget. This just shows the importance of marketing your game. Review scores also count though as you can see from the chart below.
  • Half of the 87,000 iPhone apps launched since the beginning of this year have not sold more than 10 copies. Scary!

By late afternoon the presentations were over and some of the halls were already being cleared for the next conference. The Moscone Center doesn’t waste time between conferences and the removal of stands, banners and other conference paraphernalia runs like a well oiled machine. But like a rusty cog, we were hindering the process. We hadn’t finished our meetings yet!

Our final press meeting of the week was with John Polson from who wanted to see escapeVektor on the Nintendo 3DS and our latest version of Spirit Hunters Inc. John is also a correspondent for Gamasutra. There are plenty of journalists who write for more than one games site and meeting them feels like we are covering more than one site at a time. They could quite easily contact us in future from one of their other sites for an interview. Of course, we still love the journos dedicated to one site too!

Just as the main reception hall was starting to be cleared, we met up with Brendan Keogh, a games journalist from Melbourne who was looking for iOS developers to autograph a screenshot of their game. Nic signed a screenshot of Pop for Brendan’s collection. It’s a great idea and one we’re sure will be copied by others. Just remember, Brendan thought of it first! We wonder how many autographs he’ll be able to collect?

We also met up with Rebecca Fernandez from upcoming Aussie indie studio Convict Interactive who are working on their new game Triangle Man. The studio recently raised $1,000 from their Pozible crowdfunding campaign to help move the project forward, reaching their goal in less than 48 hours. They are still looking for contributions to make their game even better so why not check out their Pozible page.

Breakfast at a local diner

Since it was the end of the conference it was definitely time for a beer. And where better to have a few thirst quenchers than the popular Thirsty Bear bar, only a block away from the Moscone Center. Throughout the week this venue is packed with devs and journalists alike, chilling out after a hard day’s conference-going. Among the people we met there were Tom Killen of The Voxel Agents, makers of the popular Train Conductor games and Sam Mayo from Firemint (Flight Control, Real Racing & Spy Mouse). It seems that the Australian dev community had found their way to the bar that night and were enjoying a post conference beverage or two. Never ones to miss an opportunity to speak to the press, we also made some new journo friends who are now on our PR list.

There was one common theme across everyone’s reflections of the last few days – we couldn’t believe it was all over so quickly. It seemed everyone we met had an awesome time and it’s easy to see why, being in the middle of all that games industry creativity and camaraderie. Until next year San Francisco!

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