Changes in 2019:
- Expanded space. We have moved to Ohio Center B+C, right down the hall from our original space (and within sight of both the food court and restroom facilities). This room and attached breakout space is roughly 33% larger than the Grant/Harding space we used in 2017 and 2018.
- More exhibitors. With the expanded space and the introduction of varying sizes of booths, we can accept 15 exhibitors, a moderate expansion from 2019.
- Branding. We recruited an actual marketing person for IGS staff this year, so we’ve got a snazzy new logo and solid plans for reaching attendees without wordy posters. Details on those coming soon, but in general… Get hype.
What you should expect at Ohayocon:
- Fresh eyes and perspectives. Our attendees are, primarily, anime fans. While we definitely have a healthy population of “gamers” and the crossover is very large, many of our attendees simply will not attend gaming-specific events. It has also been made clear to us that Ohayocon attendees ask more questions about story, character development, and representation than attendees at gaming-specific events.
- Engagement. We’re proud to say that the #OhayoIGS was standing-room-only during at least 75% of our operating hours in 2019. Despite not being the “main event” of Ohayocon so to speak, we pulled crowds from open to close every single day. Our “Indie Passport” program debuted in 2019 to encourage attendees to play more games than they might otherwise through a prize raffle. The Passport was cited in over 60% of developer feedback as a positive addition that resulted in increased engagement.
- Shiny trophies. The 2019 #OhayoIGS debuted the Indie Gaming Showcase Awards, featuring both attendee-voted and judged awards. While we did run into some first-year hiccups, this process was ultimately a great success and will return in 2020 (with a few tweaks, of course). We are actively thinking of ways to balance the attendee popular vote, which inherently favors shorter games, with judging, which can more fairly weigh games of varying lengths of playtime.
- Collaboration. We like to work closely with our developers to create new and unique experiences for our attendees. For instance, at the 2019 #OhayoIGS, we featured the public debuts of multiple game modes and tournaments from our developers. We also commissioned Throne of Games, the first official #OhayoIGS print from Pocketbee, featuring references to all 11 of our exhibiting companies. Attendees could earn a signed print by demoing all 11 games in the #OhayoIGS (a process that took at least 3 hours, on average), and our entire print run ran out by mid-day Saturday.
We also worked with Galatune to create a branded promo card, free with any purchase at their booth. We’ll let their lead developer tell you how that affected his engagement:
“Gaming with Ohayocon has been a blast! They are incredibly supportive of our local indie game community and they’ve helped Galatune make lots of new friends and strong game sales .”Adam Wik, Galatune
Check out what some developers had to say about the #OhayoIGS this year…
“The Award Ceremony and Voting System were brilliant ideas to boost engagement from attendees. I loved the fact that you alternated tabletop with digital games, as it was a phenomenal idea to improve the level of distinction between products.”tabletop developer, first-time exhibitor
“Great job with the demo passport. Had a ton of people stop by and check out the game. Saw people run into certain issues that they didn’t run into at previous conventions/expos. Good feedback.”digital developer, exhibited twice
“Great community vibe. This showcase is evolving very quickly each year and it’s so exciting to see Ohayocon doing more to support our local independent creators.”tabletop developer, exhibited twice
“It’s my favorite event and my team goes to a lot of them each year, big and small.”digital developer, exhibited twice
“I’m starting to think the “niche adjacent” cons are better to go to than the board game focused ones. By far, the best experience I’ve had at a con.”tabletop developer, first-time exhibitor