Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Are Long Convention Lines Good?

Hey everyone, back this week from our grand trip to Anaheim California. We saw smoke on the freeway! That was eye opening.. and lung-distressing. We didn't see the fires but it was in the back of everyone's minds.
For some milder, less fiery news...let's talk about games!


Sony invited us to show our next big action-puzzle game, Pig Eat Ball, at their Playstation Experience (read 'Sony-only game convention'). It was a great show! Wonderful space, lots of very eager gamers. We had a great time. Sony did a good job getting us everything we needed, including a PS4 devkit, booth, and nice TV.

Sony also sent all devs a "press list" of who was coming. And there was some press there! It wasn't amazing, but we had about 6 different small sites come by and play. I also managed to snag Greg Miller from Kinda Funny because I recognized him, and talked up the game to him. 

We augmented the PS4 with a laptop to create two "demo stations". This was good because we literally got double the players during the show. But honestly, if I knew better (or was thinking more clearly) I would have rented/bought a second TV and put that in the back of the booth. It just would have looked a lot more professional. Sony did require all game demos to use PS4 controllers but that was easy to change from Xbox controllers to PS4 controllers with our PC build of the game.
Look past the big TV to some people in the back of the booth. That was our second demo station.

Our booth included our custom "two-hole cut-out" in which you could be a barfing pillbug from the game, who spews chunks onto the player character Bow. Couples loved to come and take a picture in it. It was a big hit!

This is 3 different shots. Yeah, that's Greg Miller (from Kinda Funny) on the bottom right!

The show ran two days. The first day was definitely long. It ran from 10AM to 10PM, 12 hours of expo. But we had people playing the entire time and though the crowd did dip after 6pm, it never slowed down enough that we didn't have players. The second day, Sunday, it was 10AM-6PM which is pretty easy to do.
Two days of an expo... I can do any time. Three days is tough. Four days (I'm looking at you PAX) is murder.

How to Get Long Lines

Sony organized a promotion where devs could offer digital PS4 goods in a real-life meta-game in which players visited booths to play the digital games on display, then scan codes, and then collect the goods. I think over half the devs participated (or more?). Players were lining up at booths in a BIG way for these giveaways.

Here at Mommy's Best Games, we've been discussing if we should have done this. First: we didn't have any digital goods made yet (avatars, themes, free past PS games), so this would have been new work. But should we have pushed to do it?
We did have people playing both stations *almost* constantly throughout the show (both days). This is good. Occasionally we had crowds of 3-5 people standing around watching, some waiting to play. This is better.
But we never had lines of 20 people waiting. The important distinction is the crowds and people playing our game were entirely organically driven to play our game. They had full interest in Pig Eat Ball. They didn't care about a meta-game promotion.

On the flip-side, if you participate in an expo meta-game, and you have lines of 20+people waiting to play, it's very possible some of those people waiting to play *would not* have made it a priority to visit your booth but are NOW interested in playing your game. So basically the meta-game allowed them to learn about your game, when they may have missed it before.

Are Long Lines Good?

And once more, on the flip-flip side, (a 3-sided coin?), does the new long line dissuade organic interest? If I had an interest in the game, but didn't care about the meta-game would I stand in line?

I think if you balance out the entire show--in which many booths were participating in a meta-game, and players know this and are accustomed to long lines, it is okay to do the meta-game. You'll probably get a few more authentic players at your booth, who enjoy your game and remember it.
If we get to show another game again at PSX we'll probably try to do the meta-game.

Going Forward

People being made happy, by playing our game. This feels good!
In any case, the show was a blast, we had hundreds of players very happy with the game, lots of new mailing list sign ups, so we're pumped! We are still busily working to finish up Pig Eat Ball for Spring of 2018 for PS4, Steam, and Xbox One!

Have a great holiday break people, and make sure to wish-list Pig Eat Ball if you've not already!
Playstation store:
Steam store: