Booth Failures, Hair Loss, and You: Part 2



Above all else, I want to talk about respecting your audience.

Exhibiting Earthlight with Opaque Media Group at PAX Australia was an amazing experience. Hardly my first convention, but the first time exhibiting with hardware as delicate as the HTC Vive/Steam VR. Despite being a programmer, I ended up “hosting” the booth – relying on my years in Hospitality/Event Management to try and be as charming as possible.

We had grand plans – three semi-private booths, the only HTC Vives at PAX, and a short demo of our game placing you outside the International Space Station. As you can imagine, not everything went as well as we would like.

The Earthlight booth at Opaque had barely finished construction on the opening day of PAX, and testing our equipment just before the floor opened up showed that – for unknown reasons (wireless interference) – our hand tracking was barely functional. With engineers running around frantically troubleshooting, one of our three booths deciding to perform a Windows Update at 9am, and our Directors barely standing after a mammoth 20+ hour shift setting up, things were looking dire.

With no known time until issues were resolved and a queue that was growing faster than we could possibly handle…

*game face on, don’t let them see you scream on the inside, focus on objectives*

  1. Respect all potential players
  2. Respect all media bookings

More than anything, we wanted to show respect to the people lining up for a relatively unknown offering. After a short internal discussion and a stroke of brilliance, our line was cut down dramatically.

We expected to solve our issues by the next day, so we firstly limited our line to people with only a Friday access. Although there were some grumbles, we found that the response was rather understanding. With that, even though the line didn’t move as much as we’d like, it was starting to look manageable.

Taking it a step further – I started giving out raffle tickets. Anyone who was at the front of the line got a ticket (and priority on subsequent days) and for anyone with just a Friday pass the tickets would act as a reservation method. We wanted them to have the ability to utilise their pass and see the rest of the floor, and then come back to us when a spot opened up. This worked so well that we ended up adapting this ticketing method throughout all three days, even after the issues were resolved.

Treating the public the way we wanted them to treat our game kept our energies up throughout the weekend and ended up earning us almost as much applause as the game itself.

Don’t forget who your game is for – it’s not about you.

This article followed on from – Booth Failures, Hair Loss, and You: Part 1

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