October 14, 2013

Northern Game Summit 2013 & how to pitch a game

Full house!

Northern Game Summit was held second time last week, and we thought this would be a perfect time to share our experiences.

Kajaani is quite a remote place to hold a gaming conference at, but NGS was still very populated event. (And the only one to date that has started with karaoke!?) All in all the event was pretty excellent, we had a chance to meet lots of new people and keep in touch with old friends. The lectures we're interesting too, even after some technical difficulties.

Afterparty was a big part of the event as usual. The organizers came up with an interesting combination as the stands you would expect to see in most gaming events we're actually part of the party. Worked very nicely!

Ever played Alan Wake on 300" screen?

This time we took part in the pitching contest, which was probably the most important single event throughout the summit. While the pitching didn't go as well as it could have with proper preparation, it was well worth the trouble. Pitching an idea in front of real business people is an excellent way to get some free EXP, something we definitely recommend to any game developer. Since it's possible to learn from anyone, not only from the best, check out this short list of what we gathered:

-Prepare early. This provides you a chance to go through your presentation multiple times and in different mindsets, and gives you more time to...

-Practice. This one should be obvious, but it might still be just a little bit too easy to trick yourself into believing you know your idea/project well enough to present it spontaneously. Do this in front of someone not familiar with you as well, if you have a chance. There a second layer to practice as well: In addition to practicing every single pitch, you should practice pitching in general as often as possible.

-Gather your team, or at least consider doing so. Preparing a game pitch is something you can do alone, but it's almost always better if you can prepare it with your team or even a couple of friends. This helps you to cover multiple points of view, get more feedback and root out some hitches that might have gone unnoticed.

-Back it up. Do some research that prepares you for difficult questions about your target audience, competition, sales estimates, even tech. Including those things in your pitch in a simple format gives a feeling that you know what you're doing, as long as they are facts.

-Make it look good. Having some cool concept art can definitely help you get the point across. Mockups or bullshots are better, and if you have a chance to include a short section of gameplay video, you're all set!

In the process of preparing for a pitch one time too little.

PS. We haven't completely forgotten about Interplanetary either. The development effort is back on track and running smoothly now that we have settled in our new premises. More on that later!

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