City Block Builder: DEVLOG 1

Jan 12, 2022

9 Things We Learnt From Gamescom 2019!

First things first, Gamescom was an extraordinary experience with great exposure and a true sense of learning from all aspects, be it gaming as a whole or about our own game itself. As a small Indie studio located in the tech hubs of San Francisco, CA and Bangalore, India, deciding to attend Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, was a massive decision for us. We had to take into account the huge financial implications - in the form of hotels, flights, food and visa applications among the various costs. A lot of brainstorming and financial research was completed before making the decision to attend. 

Purpose of Attendance


We went to Gamescom with the goal to get external exposure of our new game City Block Builder. The exposure was monumental, considering Gamescom is the largest video game event in the world. However, that was not the only way we gained what we needed. The sheer number of Indie game fans were incredible during the show. We were getting a lot of attention even though we did not have our ideal location and booth set up. As for making solid business connections and partners, there were more efficient ways for us to have done this (more on this below).


What We Learnt


  1. Prep Prep Prep

    Being a rookie exhibitor, I believe we did a decent job in being prepared for the show. We did a lot of research about what we should do in order to fully utilize Gamescom, but researching compared to actually being at the show is a completely different matter. 

    A few things we would have done differently:

  • Bring more flyers to hand out to people just strolling through as many didn’t want to stop and hear us out, but just wanted to take something to read

  • Have a mailing list prepared for people to sign up 

  • Have a placard with all our social media tags for the audience to follow us

2. Bring your own Equipment (if possible)

The way we went about getting our booth setup was completely through Gamescom. This was not wise in terms of being cost efficient. We got the chairs, stands, TV screens, computer screens and a few other items from them. It was a steep price to pay, that was for sure. After talking with a few other fellow exhibitors, they suggested to buy equipment from local stores and then return it back (yes, it’s a little unfair, but hey, we’re a small startup). 

If there are tailored posters or standees to your game, we learnt that we should ship it beforehand straight to hotel/Airbnb/hostel in order to not having to carry it ourselves and pay for extra luggage or risk any damage to the items.


3. Better Location

2019 was the first time Gamescom had the Indie Arena, which meant that there was a hall with only the Indie companies, which was great! However, our location wasn’t ideal when thinking about where exactly the visitors were entering from. 

In a perfect world, we would have loved to have had the booth facing where the visitors entered from, as this would have meant that the visitors would have seen us as they walk through the arena. 


4. Bring Personnel that Speak the Local Language

In hindsight, this was not a critical issue as most of the Germans spoke English really well and we didn’t have much of an issue when explaining our game to them. However, there are always going to be a few who may not understand and in those cases, it is always best to have someone who speaks the local language.

PS: We were lucky to have one of our own team members who spoke a bit of German. It was very, very helpful!


5. Attend the Seminars 

Gamescom Congress was a great way to learn from the brightest minds in the industry as there were around 103 speakers from all over the world, 48 agenda items with over 900 visitors. Unfortunately, we missed out on this opportunity in 2019, but will not make the same mistake next time. Mark our words!


6. Set Business Meetings Well Before

In case of the business meetings, it’s simple, make sure to set them up way beforehand. Gamescom has a completely separate Business section and have a great in-built tool called “Matchmaking 365” to easily find business opportunities tailored to your organization’s needs.


7. Social Media Game should be on POINT!

As mentioned in the first point, we should have had more opportunities for people to have been able to connect with us via social media platforms. Social media is so prevalent in this day and age, which means we have to always be on our A-game. 

Making people tweet about us and having our very own hashtag would have been such a boost. Subsequently, this would have made us one of the top tweets of the exhibitions hashtags and could have potentially led us to some exciting and free publicity.


8. Giveaways, Giveaways and more Giveaways!


9. Branded SWAG

 Bringing our own branded sweaters, t-shirts, jackets, etc. would have made us stand out when walking around in general.

Another idea could have been to just wear something unique. Like everyone wore a certain costume and walked around. This, in turn, could probably make the visitors think, “Oh! There go those City Block Builder peeps.” It would build our brand and make us more unforgettable.


Overall, our Gamescom 2019 was an experience of a lifetime, both personally as a game enthusiast and for City Block Builder. The connections, natural word of mouth and buzz was incredible. I highly recommend it to any company who is trying to get publicity, make connections, meet potential partners and of course, to build a larger customer base. 


Rishi Shah, Tentworks Interactive