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PropheticEdge

Opinions on going to E3 for networking opportunities?

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I kind of poked around but haven't been able to drum up enough information on this to make an informed decision yet.

First, I'll explain what I want. I'm a software engineer with a college degree who has been looking for some time to break into the video game industry. I've been doing extensive work and studying after graduation and I believe, finally, my skills and knowledge are getting close to being competitive for an entry level job.

In about a month, I'm beginning an extensive trip to check out three major cities for video game development, LA, Seattle and San Francisco. I'm planning on staying in each city for a while to get a feel for them and attempt to do some networking, perhaps join the IGDA and attempt to meet people in the cities I visit. Presently I live in Atlanta, which is fairly sparse for video game development.

I noticed that E3 will be happening while I'm out in LA, and I was curious about it. Historically, E3 has been a huuuuuuuge deal, but in the past few years it seems to have gone through rocky times. Plus, I've always been under the impression that E3 is more of a press conference than a developer conference, so I'm not sure I'm the intended audience. I really wanted to go to GDC this year, but sadly it wasn't in the cards.

Would E3 be useful, as a prospective developer, to meet people, network, and hopefully foster future job opportunities?

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E3 is not as useful as GDC for breaking in. And how are you planning to get in, anyway? To get into GDC you buy a ticket. To get into E3 you have to prove that you're in the industry.

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On the E3 registration page it says that you can get an "Expo Pass" for $400, while industry passes are free for verifiable industry professionals. The expo pass is described as being available to individuals "not directly employed in the industry but are professionally affiliated with it", which implies to me I do not have to be on a developer's payroll to get one.

I've been poking around trying to see if there's an effective difference between the two, as in if an expo pass would limit what portions of the convention I could attend, but so far haven't seen anything to indicate any limitations.

How "not as useful" are we talking about? Is this a "milk chololate's better than dark choloate" sort of comparison or a "milk chocolate is better than being thrown into a pit of scorpions" sort of comparison?

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Everybody at E3 is busy trying to further their company's products. It can be very difficult to get an impromptu meeting with anyone who could advise you or hire you. Everybody's feet are sore, their throats are worn out from having to shout over all the noise, and their eyeballs hurt from looking at all the booth babes.
But yeah, you can talk to folks and exchange cards.

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In about a month, I'm beginning an extensive trip to check out three major cities for video game development, LA, Seattle and San Francisco...


Don't forget Austin.

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Everybody at E3 is busy trying to further their company's products. It can be very difficult to get an impromptu meeting with anyone who could advise you or hire you. Everybody's feet are sore, their throats are worn out from having to shout over all the noise, and their eyeballs hurt from looking at all the booth babes.
But yeah, you can talk to folks and exchange cards.


Hmmmmm. In that case, I may not go to it. $400 is a chunk of change, and if it's a fairly futile endeavor than I might rather save my money.


[quote name='PropheticEdge' timestamp='1303003479' post='4799330']
In about a month, I'm beginning an extensive trip to check out three major cities for video game development, LA, Seattle and San Francisco...


Don't forget Austin.
[/quote]

I've thought about Austin, but I'm not so sure I'd want to live there. I'll definitely check it out if I pass through, it does have a healthy number of studios.

Does http://www.gamedevmap.com give a fairly reasonable breakdown of video game development studio concentrations in the US and Canada? That, various news articles, and word of have have largely been what I base my opinions of industry concentration off of. There's a solid chance this trip is going to end up with me settling permanently in one of the cities I travel to, and I'd hate if I missed an absolute gem of a city with great professional prospects out of ignorance.

In other news, I learned that not only will PAX occur while I was planning on being in Seattle, but they're also hosting a special mini-developer conference in the days prior to PAX proper. Terribly good news and I'm definitely planning on being there!

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Does http://www.gamedevmap.com give a fairly reasonable breakdown of video game development studio concentrations in the US and Canada?

That's its reason for existence. Also see gameindustrymap.com

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[quote name='PropheticEdge' timestamp='1303094848' post='4799718']
Does http://www.gamedevmap.com give a fairly reasonable breakdown of video game development studio concentrations in the US and Canada?

That's its reason for existence. Also see gameindustrymap.com
[/quote]

Thanks for the link!

While we're here, I'd like to probe you guys for some more advice.

As I mentioned, this whole trip is for me to hopefully move somewhere out on the west coast. I've visited a few cities there and rather like them, and believe that it would be a good move professionally for me. However, I know it's not easy to get a job in the game industry, and it might be pretty difficult to drum something up on short notice. As that is the case, I'll also be looking for other software engineering jobs to pay the bills and work my way into game development in the future.

While I'm out there and have the time, I would really like to do whatever I can to try and secure a game development job.

So far my thoughts are this.

Apply to jobs: Really, I can do this anywhere. Don't need to be in a specific location to email off a resume. Being local, I can call, or walk in and drop off my resume in person. I have no idea if this is commonly done in the video game industry, or if there's any benefit (or detriment) to doing this. Is there anything else I can that would benefit from me being locally there in terms of applying for jobs?

Networking: I would be in the same place as people who make games for a living. A whole lot more people than where I am right now. I'd love to network with them. My current thoughts on how to do this are to attend trade shows/developer conferences, and attend IGDA meetings. Other than that, I'm going to have to rely on chance meetings or "friends of friends" to meet people. Is there anything else I can do? Are there other organizations I could join? Are there secretly places game developers just hang out in droves? Could I call up a studio and ask, "Hey, I like your work. Do you guys do tours? I'd love to meet your team." or "Hey, I love your work and am really interested in what you do. Could I take one of your developers to lunch?" Is there any other way to meet people?

Time is precious, and money is precious. This trip will cost both, and I am at one of those rare stages in my life where I have the flexibility to up and do something like this without a lot of responsibilities (house, kids, family, infirm relatives, etc). I want to make sure I'm well educated before going out there and can make the most of this opportunity.

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Proph wrote:
1. Apply to jobs: Really, I can do this anywhere. Don't need to be in a specific location to email off a resume.
2. Being local, I can call, or walk in and drop off my resume in person. I have no idea if this is commonly done in the video game industry, or if there's any benefit (or detriment) to doing this.
3. Is there anything else I can that would benefit from me being locally there in terms of applying for jobs?
4. Networking: ... attend trade shows/developer conferences, and attend IGDA meetings. Other than that, I'm going to have to rely on chance meetings or "friends of friends" to meet people. Is there anything else I can do?
5. Are there other organizations I could join?
6. Are there secretly places game developers just hang out in droves?
7. Could I call up a studio and ask, "Hey, I like your work. Do you guys do tours? I'd love to meet your team." or "Hey, I love your work and am really interested in what you do. Could I take one of your developers to lunch?"
8. Is there any other way to meet people?[/quote]
1. Yeah, but you only get interviews (if you're a raw beginner/outsider) when you're local.
2. You can try those. Don't let it get weird, and don't stalk.
3. [shrug]
4. [shrug]
5. Yes. AIAS for one (interactive.org)
6. No.
7. You could try that. Don't let it get weird, and don't stalk.
8. I suppose so. [shrug]

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Proph wrote:
1. Apply to jobs: Really, I can do this anywhere. Don't need to be in a specific location to email off a resume.
2. Being local, I can call, or walk in and drop off my resume in person. I have no idea if this is commonly done in the video game industry, or if there's any benefit (or detriment) to doing this.
3. Is there anything else I can that would benefit from me being locally there in terms of applying for jobs?
4. Networking: ... attend trade shows/developer conferences, and attend IGDA meetings. Other than that, I'm going to have to rely on chance meetings or "friends of friends" to meet people. Is there anything else I can do?
5. Are there other organizations I could join?
6. Are there secretly places game developers just hang out in droves?
7. Could I call up a studio and ask, "Hey, I like your work. Do you guys do tours? I'd love to meet your team." or "Hey, I love your work and am really interested in what you do. Could I take one of your developers to lunch?"
8. Is there any other way to meet people?

1. Yeah, but you only get interviews (if you're a raw beginner/outsider) when you're local.
2. You can try those. Don't let it get weird, and don't stalk.
3. [shrug]
4. [shrug]
5. Yes. AIAS for one (interactive.org)
6. No.
7. You could try that. Don't let it get weird, and don't stalk.
8. I suppose so. [shrug]
[/quote]

Cool. Thanks again for the advice, Tom.

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