We spent the weekend at EGX 2023, one of Europe’s biggest gaming trade shows, meeting creators and professionals from all parts of the video games industry. Here’s how it went.
Senior Content Manager
There’s always something special about taking part in video game conventions, especially for long-time gamers. Last weekend’s EGX 2023 had it all: the sense of belonging in a tight-knit community, the beauty of bonding over a shared passion, and the buzz of meeting new people at one of the biggest gaming trade shows in the world.
EGX (launched as Eurogamer Expo in 2008) has long been synonymous with industry insights, panel discussions and great games, and despite it being a smaller event than its slightly younger sibling Gamescom, it attracts well over 70,000 gamers, creators, developers and industry professionals every year.
This year’s event was no exception, offering plenty of chances to connect with countless people from all parts of the industry. This year’s panel talks also had clear trends: diversity, inclusion, accessibility and how to break barriers of entry were among the popular topics, showing just how much awareness of these important issues has come on.
Read on for our highlights from EGX 2023.
Why building relationships with creators matters
Platforms and audiences are constantly evolving, but creating solid trust between a creator and a brand is at the heart of any long-standing influencer partnership. This is especially true in the gaming industry, where authenticity plays a vital role to engage with players and communities.
Trust and authenticity were key topics at the Creator Collab session, organised by community platform Just About – which brought together key professionals and creators from the social media ecosystem for a series of back-to-back panels. The speakers included TikTok’s Head of Sports & Gaming, Rollo Goldstaub, games composer Lucia La Rezza, and YouTuber BobDuckNWeave, who discussed best practices for content creators on TikTok and beyond.
All speakers shared key insights on creator discoverability and platforms, diving into content and monetisation strategies, and citing transparency and trust as two of the founding pillars of creator-brand relationships. Creators are a vital part of the video games industry, channelling the fans’ love for games in a myriad of ways – and this was evident at EGX 2023.
The humans behind the games industry
According to the UKIE Games Industry Census in 2022, the UK games industry is only about:
- 10% non-white
- 30% female
- 3% non-binary/other
- 24% LGBTQ+
- 26% with carer responsibilities
- 23% neurodiverse
Throughout the event, EGX 2023’s four stages had a packed schedule of panels from industry professionals, creators and independent developers sharing their insights on diversity, inclusion and accessibility – and it was refreshing to see a greatly diverse set of professionals taking to the stage to talk about their experience in games.
There were a number of panels on the importance of breaking the barriers of entry into the industry – but all sessions travelled on a common thread: diversity has enormous value in such a creative sector, and different cultural and life experiences matter today more than ever.
EGX 2023 was yet another reminder of how wholesome and supportive the games industry can be – made up of creative and supportive professionals of all ages and backgrounds. There was also no shortage of mental health-related sessions, including one by Media Molecule Senior Game Designer Eilidh MacLeod on how to overcome impostor syndrome.
Indie game developers and publishers
EGX as a gaming trade show has always had a strong connection with the indie scene, and this year’s edition was no exception.
The Rezzed area, dedicated entirely to indie game developers and publishers, included a bespoke stage where select indie developers would showcase their personal stories and experiences.
This was where you could truly feel the warmth of the games industry and community in one place. Eager players would queue for a long time just to try some of the most interesting experiences made by smaller teams – and though queues paled in comparison to large publisher booths such as Nintendo’s and SEGA’s, the enthusiasm in these small development teams was incomparable as hundreds of players tried games in front of their creators for the first time.
As I sat to play Pine Hearts, a game about treasuring memories to help you cope with the loss of a loved one, it became clear that every sector could learn from how gamers connect in these warm and dedicated spaces. The feeling of belonging and bonding over a shared passion was stronger than ever in the Rezzed area, and offered another powerful reminder of how strongly gamers value a shared sense of community.
Trade shows like EGX 2023 are always the best way to keep your finger on the pulse of an ever-evolving games industry – founded on creativity, passion, collaboration and community.
Gamers may go to trade show events for all different reasons, from spending time with friends to meeting new ones over a shared passion. But, in retrospect, the real reason seems to be only one: to feel the passion of the industry and the warmth of gamers, in an environment where these people truly thrive – the pulsing heart of the video games community.