Sign in to follow this  
PropheticEdge

Opinions on going to E3 for networking opportunities?

Recommended Posts

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[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...
[/quote]

Don't forget Austin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1303083482' post='4799653']
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.
[/quote]

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='DoctorGlow' timestamp='1303084426' post='4799656']
[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...
[/quote]

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[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? [/quote]
That's its reason for existence. Also see gameindustrymap.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1303097726' post='4799738']
[quote name='PropheticEdge' timestamp='1303094848' post='4799718']
Does [url="http://www.gamedevmap.com"]http://www.gamedevmap.com[/url] give a fairly reasonable breakdown of video game development studio concentrations in the US and Canada? [/quote]
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Proph wrote:
[quote]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]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1303157926' post='4800047']
Proph wrote:
[quote]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]
[/quote]

Cool. Thanks again for the advice, Tom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1303157926' post='4800047']
2. You can try those. Don't let it get weird, and don't stalk.
7. You could try that. Don't let it get weird, and don't stalk.
[/quote]

I dunno Tom. The OP has a pretty gender agnostic username; let's not rule out the possibility that he/she could be a hot chick :-p

@OP: Don't rule out austin so quickly. It's supposed to be a very California feeling city without the ludicrous amounts of money you'd spend on the west coast for bare minimum living, and it's growing pretty rapidly. If you're caught up in the, "Oh it's texas... rednecks," mentality, it really doesn't hold so true for Austin. It isn't as big a problem as Texas is often stereotyped for. The vast majority of texans everywhere are actually some of the nicest people I've had the pleasure of meeting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1303415587' post='4801347']
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1303157926' post='4800047']
2. You can try those. Don't let it get weird, and don't stalk.
7. You could try that. Don't let it get weird, and don't stalk.
[/quote]

I dunno Tom. The OP has a pretty gender agnostic username; let's not rule out the possibility that he/she could be a hot chick :-p

@OP: Don't rule out austin so quickly. It's supposed to be a very California feeling city without the ludicrous amounts of money you'd spend on the west coast for bare minimum living, and it's growing pretty rapidly. If you're caught up in the, "Oh it's texas... rednecks," mentality, it really doesn't hold so true for Austin. It isn't as big a problem as Texas is often stereotyped for. The vast majority of texans everywhere are actually some of the nicest people I've had the pleasure of meeting.
[/quote]

Naw I'm a dude, but I know how not to be a total creeper so I should be good.

Two of the big things that turn me off of Texas are

1) Weather: The weather here in Atlanta sucks. A lot. Austin seems hotter and sunnier, Blegh!
2) Surrounding area: I like the surrounding countryside of the Bay Area, and am quite curious about the Pacific Northwest, but Texas not so much.

However, I keep hearing about how cool Austin is,and I'm not 100% opposed to it. I'll see if I can work it into my trip and check things out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1303083482' post='4799653']
But yeah, you can talk to folks and exchange cards.
[/quote]

@OP: This is the main thing to do at the conference as far as career networking goes. You go there and exchange the cards and BRIEFLY meet with the people.

Start with your own business cards, which are conference currency. You give them your card (which they will likely throw out) and in exchange they give you their card (which you keep).

Then when you get back you email them, say "we talked briefly at the conference, tell me about ...."

Many companies will include an HR person in their booth and most are hoping to get some good new hires when they host the booth. The conference isn't about hiring the people on the spot, instead it is about making the connections to interview and hire them after. That is part of the reason that it is free to industry insiders, because the many sponsors of the conference want to encourage job-hopping of experienced people.

I agree that it probably isn't worth the $400 as an outsider, so you should do something to become an insider. Read their rules and requirements to be verified. For people who are likely to be posting on gd.net it is less difficult to get free tickets than you might initially suspect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='PropheticEdge' timestamp='1303453653' post='4801507']
Two of the big things that turn me off of Texas are

1) Weather: The weather here in Atlanta sucks. A lot. Austin seems hotter and sunnier, Blegh![/quote]
perhaps you have not lived anywhere where the weather ACTUALLY sucks. I have seen the sun 5 times in the past 3 months.

[quote]2) Surrounding area: I like the surrounding countryside of the Bay Area, and am quite curious about the Pacific Northwest, but Texas not so much.
[/quote]
Do you know what the surrounding area of austin is like? I will admit that the bay area has a pretty nice surrounding area, but I think you are selling the austin area a little short.

You should also keep in mind that there's a lot more to a city than the surrounding area and weather. I've been to SF, and it definitely meets pretty much all of the needs I'd want in a city, but having been there it wouldn't be at the top of my list for places to live. You might enjoy it none the less, but there is the "just not for me" factor. On the west coast in general, don't make the mistake of lumping in the entire west coast into something that fits all your needs. LA has weather at least as bad as atlanta, and I don't think anybody could really quantify Seattle's weather as good. Not to say I don't love seattle.

Just be wary not to oversell yourself on a city based on what you hear about it before you've been there and likewise don't rule out a city based off of what you [i]think[/i] it might be like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1303675485' post='4802396']
[quote name='PropheticEdge' timestamp='1303453653' post='4801507']
Two of the big things that turn me off of Texas are

1) Weather: The weather here in Atlanta sucks. A lot. Austin seems hotter and sunnier, Blegh![/quote]
perhaps you have not lived anywhere where the weather ACTUALLY sucks. I have seen the sun 5 times in the past 3 months.

[quote]2) Surrounding area: I like the surrounding countryside of the Bay Area, and am quite curious about the Pacific Northwest, but Texas not so much.
[/quote]
Do you know what the surrounding area of austin is like? I will admit that the bay area has a pretty nice surrounding area, but I think you are selling the austin area a little short.

You should also keep in mind that there's a lot more to a city than the surrounding area and weather. I've been to SF, and it definitely meets pretty much all of the needs I'd want in a city, but having been there it wouldn't be at the top of my list for places to live. You might enjoy it none the less, but there is the "just not for me" factor. On the west coast in general, don't make the mistake of lumping in the entire west coast into something that fits all your needs. LA has weather at least as bad as atlanta, and I don't think anybody could really quantify Seattle's weather as good. Not to say I don't love seattle.

Just be wary not to oversell yourself on a city based on what you hear about it before you've been there and likewise don't rule out a city based off of what you [i]think[/i] it might be like.


[/quote]

Actually, the weather is one of the things about Seattle that appeals to me the most. I love rainy weather a ton. Not 100% sure if the allure wouldn't fade after months and months of it, though.

Don't worry, I'm going to be giving Austin a fair chance. I'm doing this exploratory trip for myself, and I'm on the hunt for the best place I want to live for the foreseeable future. If I fall in love with Austin and all the things it brings, then I'll absolutely move there. I certainly won't refuse to live somewhere on principle. I mentioned the west coast in particular since it is an area of the country that I do like from what I've seen (been to San Francisco and LA a couple times), but want to investigate more. Plus, from what I understand it has the best concentration of video game development opportunities. I would also love to check out parts of Canada, Montreal and Vancouver in particular, but I doubt I could stretch my funds that far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this