When game developers are asked for advice on some of the best things you can do to grow in the industry, one of the most common answers is game conferences. Game conferences bring many advantages to developers. You’re able to share your games with publishers in private or on the expo floor, meet new people who can help you monetize your game or make your work easier, and make great friends in the industry that can help you find new opportunities at different companies.
There’s no doubt that as the pandemic closes, we’ll be able to have a lot of notable events in the online and offline world we can go to that can really inspire and educate you for the future. But which are the best for a mobile developer?
Mobile developers have a very different set of needs and requirements compared to console or PC developers. Some shows are directly focused on these types of games. But some aren’t exactly a good fit or are more B2C like PAX or Blizzcon, making it a poor decision to go there to make deals or promote your games.
We’ve been to many events around the world and wanted to help get you excited about the best events to attend and what to expect. This, of course, isn’t a complete list of every game conference out there, and we’re hoping to add more, but every one of these events is one you need to consider if you are a mobile developer when it’s time to hone those skills and get out and make deals.
We’ve decided to separate all of these events by location and time. Times and locations can change as well. So go to the links to make sure you haven’t missed it.
Time: Twice a year, sessions are usually European time zone
This event has become one of the biggest online conferences during the pandemic, and we’re proud to be a part of it. The conference is virtual with talks and discussions all from their custom website, built with the power of Cocos Creator. The show is free, and the talks are streamed via Twitch, so you can talk in the audience and get more insights from an amazing amount of people.
Hyper Games Conference
Time: Four times a year, sessions are usually European time zone
If you are a hypercasual game developer, this is the absolute perfect place to be. Every big and small hypercasual developer is here looking to show off their stuff and a ton of great talks on improving your games. We’ve been there twice already and are excited to see who is there and what is being shown off. Also, being online makes it much easier to set up meetings. The best part, you can go for free and still get a lot of great stuff compared to some other events with a hefty price tag. Offline versions are coming in 2022.
Pocket Gamer Connects Digital
Time: Twice times a year, sessions are usually European time zone
Pocket Gamer Connects is known as the biggest mobile game conference for mobile game developers and going to any is a big deal. The online version was built for the pandemic and had one of the most fantastic speakers and panels you’ll get. They also include online meetings, game pitches, and job boards. Though the tickets are a bit more expensive, it’s worth it to meet with experts and some of the titans of the industry.
Indie Game Business: Online Conference
Time: Winter, sessions are usually North American time zones
Indie Game Business has a massive Discord group, and thanks to their leader, Jay Powell, they have been building some amazing events and daily discussions on how indie developers can get to the next level in their game development. The event may focus a lot more on the PC and console side, but there are a lot of developers there ready to talk about mobile and share their insights with you.
Time: May, sessions are usually Brazilian time zones
A game conference that was initially offline is now totally online with discussions for South American developers from Brazil and other countries. It’s a great event to get insight into an area becoming a new contender for building amazingly great mobile and web games. We have been watching the region closely, and it’s really exciting what we’ll see in the future.
Game Developer Conference (GDC)
Location: San Francisco, California
The mecca of game development comes once every year and is the place to go for anything and everything. Meetings in the event, outside the event, deals made, and parties galore. The spectacle that is GDC has to be seen, lived, and explored at least one time in your career. You never know who you meet and what you’ll learn. It’s a bucket list for every developer in the industry and where you can get the most work done.
Location: San Francisco area, California
This event is an even mix of mobile, PC, and console developers, making it one of the best events for getting down to business. The talks are more focused on the business of the industry rather than the technical discussions you’d see at GDC. The event is run by VentureBeat writer Dean Takahashi and his team at GamesBeat.
Pocket Gamer Connects North America
Location/Time: Seattle/San Francisco (May), Toronto (July)
The Pocket Gamer team has another great event in the USA, with all the great things that come with their events. Meet with notable speakers from big companies, set up meetings to show off your games, meet with new and old friends, and see what the indie developers are making today. It’s not as big as GDC or GamesBeat Summit, but the great thing is the size makes up for it with the amount of approachability you can get with people who are there. A lot of great mentorship opportunities.
GameDaily Connect USA
Location: Changes yearly (Past: San Francisco, Disneyland, Seattle)
This event has been dormant during the pandemic, and we’re hoping it returns once events kickoff again. GameDaily Connect (previously Casual Connect) is one of the biggest casual game conferences globally and has evolved from the PC and web games of the past to include mobile games, gambling, and e-sports. Great discussions on building and monetizing mobile games for an audience who doesn’t consider themselves hardcore have been this event’s central theme.
Pocket Gamer Connect
Location/Time: London (January), Helsinki (September)
The London event is probably the biggest event for mobile developers than any of the events here. It keeps growing and continues to have the biggest and best developers in mobile out there making incredible games and amazing business deals. We highly recommend this be the first event you go to if you are heading to Europe. The Helsinki event is outstanding and a great end to large game conferences in Europe.
GameDaily Connect Europe
This was, at the time, the biggest gaming event of spring in Europe. GameDaily Connect (previously Casual Connect) is at Queen Elizabeth II Centre, just across from Westminster Abby. The event had everything you need and want in an event. Big and small developers, a spacious expo floor, an indie area, and talks from amazing speakers. We’re hoping it comes back in 2022 so you can experience the fun that comes with having an event in the heart of London.
Nordic Games Conference
Location: Malmo, Sweden
Time: May and November
Another large game conference to look at as many of today’s big mobile game companies are from the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. If you are very interested in having your game looked at by the hottest countries in mobile, you have to come and stay for the great talks from some good speakers.
Location/Time: Moscow (May), Minsk (November), Other locations/times
DevGAMM is an interesting game conference. Being one of the first in Eastern Europe, it was initially a place for Russian, Ukraine, and Belarus developers to find comradery in a very small industry. Today that’s no longer the case as they have invited developers all over the world to come. The conference’s primary focus is on mobile, social, and online games and helping young developers showcase their games to publishers.
Location/Time: St. Petersburg (July), Moscow, (October), Other locations
A new conference group compared to the many others around now. But this doesn’t mean it’s anything but amazing. They have grown to have multiple events in Europe, online, Asia, and starting up one in America. With so many great hidden game development gems in Eastern Europe, you have to go to at least one of the many events they have. We highly recommend St. Petersburg. Not only a great show but an amazing place to visit.
Location: Cologne, Germany
This is the GDC of Europe. Though don’t tell them that as they have become even bigger, adding a B2C event alongside their business event. Devcom is where most of the educational and business is, while Gamescom would be where all the gamers went to check out new games, show off their cosplay, and find great swag. The event at first wasn’t a big deal for mobile game developers, but every year we have heard our friends commenting that more and more mobile game deals are being made at the event. So it’s time you joined in too.
Taipei Game Show
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Known as the game conference to start the year, it’s been growing in popularity among western developers and those in the East. The event is the first chance after the holidays (of before in China) to get business for the new year started and get a chance to see what’s been going on in Asia. Though it is small, the developers we spoke to that have gone say it’s growing every year—a good sign of a great conference.
Location: Shanghai, China
We were able to attend the first-ever one in Shanghai. With the help of the CiGA, we had a great event that shared a feeling of being both a mix of Asia and Europe, with members from both sides working out deals. Right now, the show is only available to those living in China, but when restrictions lift, it might be a nice show to see what is available in the country without the craziness of ChinaJoy.
Location: Shanghai, China
The largest gaming event in Asia, ChinaJoy, is both a B2B and B2C event and the business done amongst companies almost rivals what you’d see at GDC. Every year there are more opportunities to meet with Chinese developers making incredible games or check out the incredible booths built for the event. They even had a virtual expo event made with Cocos Creator last year to help those who couldn’t come due to the pandemic!
Pocket Gamer Connects Hong Kong
Location: Hong Kong
Though it’s not their biggest show compared to the others, it is the best chance you’ll get to meet with those companies in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. There has been a lot of growth in the game industry in this region in the past few years, so it’s a must to come if you are looking for new talent, starting up a company, or buying a company in the region. Currently, it’s postponed, but we hope to have it back in 2022.
Tokyo Game Show
Location: Chiba, Japan
If GDC and E3 had a baby in Japan, that would be the Tokyo Game Show. This B2B/B2C event starts as a gaming conference for developers to meet with others and do business on the first two days before becoming pandemonium on the last two days when everyone is available to roam the halls of the expo floor. This exciting event is one of the only Japanese events developers can attend, so it’s a must to come.
Location: Busan, South Korea
This is a fun event in a fun city. But, if you don’t have meetings set up with people, you’re going to have a terrible time doing business there. Most of the event is expo floors and meetings that you set up online. So go out and enjoy the event next to the wonderful ocean air and have fun at the parties, but don’t come without a plan. The B2C event that happens alongside it is also amazing and runs during the weekend.