Video Game Conventions And Conferences: A Guide

Last week’s blog post went over our top five video game conventions that YouTube gaming content creators, who are from North America, should be attending. But what about conferences? We do have a top five list of the best video game conferences, but before we get into it, we feel it is important for our partners to understand the difference between video game conventions, and video game conferences.

We’ll be going over the difference in the attendees and how you should approach a convention, versus how you should approach a conference, from a professional standpoint. Don’t be the YouTuber who sticks out like a sore thumb because you don’t know the difference between convention and conference etiquette.


Video Game Conventions: Be A Fan

We’ll start with what we covered last week, video game conventions. These are the fanfests of all the assorted nerddoms, where you can all celebrate being fans together. It is completely normal to be covered from head to toe in swag and speaking with game developers, because video game conventions are a casual environment. Video game conventions are for the fans, not the suits, so there’s less professionalism here.


Video Game Conventions And Conferences: A Guide
Cosplay is completely acceptable at conventions.


However, less professional does not mean they are slackers. Remember that the game developers who attend conventions are there to sell a product to the fan; they have interviews tightly scheduled, panels to attend, and other connections to make, just like you. Do not make them wait, or you will never get another interview.

You can also generally schedule interviews and demos on the floor at conventions. Just walk up to the booth and see if they can pencil you in during an open time. Conventions are not as strict about speakers and interviews, so the game developers tend to schedule their own.


Video Game Conferences: Be A Connoisseur

However, at video game conferences, there is a definitive air of professionalism. Game developers and other integral parts of the video game industry attend conferences to maturely speak about the state of the games industry, and how it will mature over the coming years. You will notice that everyone at conferences is clean and presentable…something we unfortunately cannot always say about the conventions.


Video Game Conventions And Conferences: A Guide
Yeah, it’s casual, but no one in this pic looks disheveled, that’s for sure.


Interviews and hands-on demos will need to be scheduled beforehand, and through their marketing or public relations department. You will not be able to bounce from booth to booth and see who has an open schedule at a conference; their schedules are already full to the brim.


At a conference, you are not a fan, you are a connoisseur.


You will also notice lots of game developers, interview ready and looking for employment, especially at GDC. This should draw attention to how seriously game developers, producers, directors, and the like, take these conferences. These conferences are a chance to immerse themselves in the creative world of gaming. Learn how to encourage that font of creativity, and you can have them singing all sorts of exclusive songs.


Seriously, Though, Don’t Sweat It

Overall, there’s not a huge difference between the basic concepts of video game conventions and video game conferences. They’re both very large gatherings of people looking to celebrate what they love. Honestly, the only difference is how to dress and behave in order to be taken seriously.

At a video game convention, you can wear nerd-themed graphic t-shirts, yell references all day long, and generally be celebratory in your fanhood. At a video game conference, you need to look your best, dress sharp, and keep the fanboy/girling to a minimum since it’s a different setting.


Video Game Conventions And Conferences: A Guide
Channel your inner Don Draper, at least for the business drinking part.


I also want to make a special note to those of you who can enjoy the freedom of liquor at these conferences. Getting visibly drunk at a convention is usually a laugh, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand. Getting visibly drunk at a conference is seen as unprofessional, so do not drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy the drink and company. If you cannot do this, then it’s soda for you.

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Video game conventions and video game conferences are two completely different social settings, and where I see YouTubers mess up is when they treat the professional environment of a conference as a convention. Just know the situation you’re walking into, and you can be well-prepared for anything.

Next week we’ll be going over our top 5 video game conferences to attend, so you’ll be able to see how the two worlds are completely different. See you next week, TGN Partners!