It’s been a week since PAX West! It was an amazing time showing off Bleed 2, and the response has been even more positive than I’d hoped for! Most people who played seemed to really enjoy it, and several large websites have even been kind enough to write about the game, including IGN, Destructoid and IndieGames.com. Woohoo! (EDIT: Now Hardcore Gamer too, yay!!)
I thought I’d record some thoughts from exhibiting at PAX while they’re still fresh in my head. Mostly, it’ll be answers to the questions I was asking everyone before I went, in case others want them answered too. Please keep in mind I’m just some rando first-time PAX exhibitor, so none of this is necessarily right — it’s just my perspective, along with some insights from other developers who I spoke to!
I’ll pepper in shots from the show to break up the text, plus at least one pie chart. You can’t do these kinds of things without pie charts.
How Much Does It Cost?
Short answer: a lot! The MEGABOOTH estimates teams set aside $3-6,000 USD to exhibit (not including travel costs) and I found that to be accurate — I made it work for about $4,250 USD. That includes things like the rental of the booth space (I had a 10×10 booth, about $1,900 alone) and signage/merch (a standing banner, 1,000 postcards and 1,000 game keys.)
Other items include equipment rentals — I had padding for the floor (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), electricity, monitors, computers, stands, etc. It all costs money unless you bring it, and it isn’t feasible for me to transport all those across the country (except the signage/merch, which I FedEx’ed over for about $100 CAD.) Add food, flights, hotels, etc, and things start piling up, to the final tune of about $6,750 USD — even worse considering I’m a Canadian (RIP leftover Bleed sales, shout outs to the exchange rate.)
I’ve heard of plenty of ways to cut costs. Stay in a hostel instead of a hotel, arrive the day of set-up and leave the day of tear-down, buy your equipment from local stores and return them after the show… I estimate I could have gotten expenses down to $5,000 USD if I really went nuts, but it was my first PAX and I wanted to make sure I had time to approach it correctly, as well as room to make mistakes.