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Shyftrs has been around for almost 3 years now and looking back at it, we have been struggling with the development because I have just started to learn the proper ropes of game development. Despite the risks and difficulties, the desire to learn through trial and error and the passion of developing my own game overcomes it.


Now here we are given this opportunity to attend not just one but two of the major Game conventions out there, we are very thankful for all the support of CODE NZ (Centre of Digital Excellence), NZTE (New Zealand Trade & Enterprise) and the NZ Game community for giving me the strength, motivation, and inspiration to push through.


While this may be a long read, I invite you to come along for the ride.


Sharing with you our first experience by starting out at Gamescom Cologne 2023.


Gamescom 2023, one of the most anticipated gaming events of the year, surpassed all expectations as it unfolded, leaving attendees in awe. Spanning several days, this gaming extravaganza showcased the latest advancements in technology, innovative game releases, and an electric atmosphere that united gamers from around the world. As an avid gamer, I had the privilege of attending Gamescom 2023 and it was an experience that will forever be etched in my memory.


My main goal here is to reach out and connect with publishers to establish business relationships for possible future opportunities for Shyftrs and to observe, analyse and experience different audiences on how they react on this kind of event. We also want to scout other games/similar game genre on how they market their game.

Scouting the area at Gamescom before the event.

Preparation time!

Before I went to Gamescom, I researched the publishers to see if my game would fit into their portfolio or if they were planning to expand to my target genre, which is the metroidvania.


I prepared my pitch deck with the help of the CODE NZ team where their main goal is to expand the game industry sector of NZ. Due to the short amount of time in Meet to Match, I also had to make sure that my pitch deck is optimized for presentation.

I also prepared my Business card, T-shirt of Shyftrs to represent my game and a small token for them to remember my game.

The next thing I did was to find a place to stay that was close to food, transportation, and other places to see. It could help me come up with an interesting idea for my game.

The Event!

Little did I know that there is so much more to it in attending this kind of event.

I didn’t have the chance to interact with the players because everybody else is busy trying out the other games, but I met a few indie game developers who also face same challenges as me, like looking for funding or showcasing the game to gain traction to your target players.


The eye opener for me is that I realize that the gaming industry is so massive that I must step up my game plan because there are many other games who are in the same genre as me with a very polished game. Some of those games doesn’t have any fundings yet their game is so polished that it looked like it has one so competing for a publisher will be very hard if I am not on par or even have an advantage to those other games.


As for observing my competitors, I learned that I really need to push the development of my game just to gain tractions to players because player will only notice the game if you have.

1. Good visual art and is part of your distinctiveness.

2. Your gameplay is popular in social media and gained a large number of followers to create a huge player base.

3. You’re an established studio.

*** This is only my opinion, and each developer will have their own sets of challenges or point of views in this matter***

Indie Arena Booth

Other insights!

One of my memorable experiences is when I was talking to the publishers. It gave me a lot of insights to my game, like what kind of marketing do they want or what are they looking for in a game.

I also remember, the other publisher I spoke with advised me to include more background information to my selling point and incorporate it into my demo.

The point is that you need to create a demo that will evoke the desired emotions in your intended audience.

Overall Experience in a nutshell!

Expectations met and exceeded.

Walking into Gamescom 2023, my expectations were high, and I was not disappointed. The event was a testament to the gaming industry's constant evolution, with cutting-edge displays, immersive virtual reality experiences, and mind-blowing graphics. The sheer scale and grandeur of the event exceeded anything I had seen before, setting the stage for an unforgettable journey into the world of gaming.


Standout games and exhibits.

Gamescom 2023 boasted an impressive array of games and exhibits that left a lasting impression. From highly anticipated sequels to exciting new releases, the event showcased the diversity and creativity of the gaming industry.


Memorable interactions and experiences.

One of the highlights of Gamescom 2023 was the opportunity to interact with developers, industry professionals, and fellow gamers. Engaging in conversations with developers provided valuable insights into their creative processes and the challenges they faced. I also had the chance to meet fellow gamers who shared my passion, forging new friendships and connections that extended beyond the event itself. The sense of community and camaraderie among attendees was truly heartwarming.


Atmosphere and organization.

Gamescom 2023 excelled in creating an electric atmosphere that was both vibrant and energizing. The halls were abuzz with excitement as attendees explored the countless booths and displays, trying out new games and technologies. Despite the sheer number of people, the event was well-organized, ensuring smooth navigation between different areas and minimizing wait times. The attention to detail and meticulous planning contributed to an immersive and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.


Reflections and improvements.

While Gamescom 2023 was a remarkable experience overall, there were a few areas that could have been improved. The sheer size of the event made it challenging to explore everything, and I found myself wishing for more time to delve deeper into certain exhibits. Additionally, the accessibility of certain areas could have been enhanced to accommodate the large crowds more efficiently. However, these minor inconveniences did not overshadow the overall brilliance of the event.


Things I would’ve have known?

I think knowing some of the informations in advance will help you to make a better decision like the environment, context of your pitch or even how to properly present your game but nothing beats experiencing it yourself. You'll be more equipped to compete in your industry, succeed in your company, and to lead others as a result.


To summarise my learnings to Gamescom:

  • Prepare a separate clothings on your hand carry just in case your baggage is delayed or lost.

  • Choose your airline carefully so you’ll have a comfortable flight.

  • Research your target publishers very well and don’t be afraid to connect with them even if their portfolio has a different direction. They might or may not want to connect with you but if they do, you will learn a thing or two on how they think.

  • If you can, revise your pitch deck accordingly based on your meetings. Be clear on your selling point and create a deeper context.

  • It is not just about creating a fun demo because there are many games out there who has that, but the experience behind it. The context of your game in which it will determine the distinctiveness to the other same genre that will make your game fresh and exciting.

  • Be open to suggestions, adapt and learn the different business strategies that will make both parties happy.

  • Lastly, developing a business partnership is only the first step; however, maintaining a positive, long-term business relationship will lead to more opportunities and possibilities.

Gamescom Booths

GAMESCOM MARCO 02_edited.jpg

Meeting with Marco and discussing about the future of more NZ Game studios attending Gamescom.

Enjoying the food while chatting with these two cool

NZ Game Devs who also attended Gamescom

 (Shrikkanth: Game Dev of Denari and Jevon: Game Dev of Adaptory)

Moving on to our second event!


PAX Australia

Attending another game convention together with the other startup and known NZ Game studios is a privilege. Getting to know them and to showcase our games side by side. This has been the biggest team to represent the NZ Gaming industry with the support of CODE (Centre of Digital Excellence), NZTE (New Zealand Trade & Enterprise) and NZFC (New Zealand Film Commission).


Our goal is to interact with our audience and to gain quality feedback to help improve the game Shyftrs.


I just have a few days after returning from Gamescom to create some of the new materials for print for PAX. You'll never know how prepared you are until you're standing there and experiencing it.

Oh Boy! My expectations were much exceeded, and PAX is awesome!

But, before the main event, we attended the Game Dev Breakfast, which was co-hosted by the New Zealand Tech Story, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and CODE NZ. We had the opportunity to bond with the other teams attending PAX, as well as listen to the Indigenous Game Development panel discuss generating authentic and relevant content. It was an amazing occasion, and I was honoured to be a part of it.

@ NZTE / CODE Networking Breakfast

PAX Main Event!

Gamers have started to arrive in our booth and it has been non stop from Day 01 till Day 03 of showcase.

Now I'm going to share with you why it's important for a new studio to attend events like these and what you can expect to learn.

  • You will improve your communication skills and along the way you will learn how to create an effective elevator pitch to attract your target audience. It is not just about explaining the mechanics or why it is interesting to play your game but how you will deliver it effectively.

  • Every gamer will have different kind of playstyle and seeing them yourself is a gold mine to a developer. Like their habits, things they like to do and their way of thinking on how they want to play the game, and these things will be critical on how you design your game.

  • A fun and meaningful interaction will grant you followers. It may be small or large amount, but it is a step to the right direction in gaining the right audience in the future.

  • Feedback are one of the main reasons you want to showcase your game to this kind of event. Comments of other gamers is important so you can fix those blind spots that needed improvements.

  • Lastly, it also about camaraderie with other devs like you. They might not be able to help you now but maybe in the future or if you needed some other support on the social medias.


It has been a rollercoaster ride since receiving the grant from CODE NZ and up until my participation at both major game conventions that altered my outlook on running a game studio and making your own game.

For this reason, I say to my fellow game developers: certainly, there are dangers and hurdles; however, if you play them properly, you will receive an experience that no amount of money could ever buy.

Setting up for the Big event!

Shyftrs Demo showcase

@WellPlayed_AU testing out Shyftrs

Congratulations to our two lucky winners of Shyftrs Freebie Hoodie

Thank you to everyone who played Shyftrs at PAX Australia, and Gratitude to the new friends I met at Gamescom!!!

PS: Next step for Shyftrs is to push the development even further and finishing the initial major stage of the game.

Till next time!

Logging off!


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