Indie games label Fellow Traveller today announced the return of LudoNarraCon, a global digital convention held on Steam that celebrates narrative video games, the people who make them and the fans who love them. Following a successful inaugural event in May 2019, which was experienced by more than 850,000 people and drove big wishlist increases for the participating games, LudoNarraCon will return bigger and better in April 2020.
Development teams can now register their interest to exhibit at the event and Fellow Traveller is also putting out a call for proposals for panels and sessions in the main theatre stream.
Submissions to exhibit or present a panel can be made at http://ludonarracon.com
Organized by Fellow Traveller, an independent games label focused on innovative narrative games, LudoNarraCon replicates many of the aspects and benefits of the consumer convention experience but through a digital format and hosted on the Steam platform. With no fee to exhibit, no travel involved and no booth production required, LudoNarraCon provides an extremely low-cost platform for narrative game developers to reach a large global audience, no matter where the developer is based.
Here’s how it works:
- A curated selection of developers “exhibit” on their Steam store pages, using Steam’s streaming features to provide behind the scenes looks at their games. Some also provide downloadable demos, available only for the duration of the event but playable at the player’s convenience.
- A “theatre” stream features panels on topics related to narrative games and panelists including narrative game developers, writers, and journalists.
- All of the live streaming content is looped for the rest of the event, making it easy to access the content when it suits the attendee.
- More than 50 narrative games run discounts for the duration of the event.
- Media can register for a press pass, giving them early access to demo builds, press assets and facilitating contact with participating developers to organise interviews.
- Attendees can connect with each other via stream chat, steam forums or a dedicated section in the Fellow Traveller Discord.
- Steam brings the whole event together in a special event page on the store making it easy to find all the content. Steam also puts the event in front of millions of Steam users via promotion and exposure on the store.
The inaugural LudoNarraCon was held over four days in May 2019. Twenty-three games exhibited with developers participating from locations in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US. There were six panel discussions on topics such as Romance in Games and Procedural Storytelling with one panelist even taking part from a bus. The content was streamed live and then looped and the panels and some of the exhibitor streams can still be viewed via the LudoNarraCon website.
In total, more than 850,000 unique visitors came to the LudoNarraCon event page whilst exhibitors saw an average of 35,000 visitors to their “booths” (store pages). The unreleased games that exhibited saw typical wishlist increases of 4,000-5,000 with one game reporting close to 10,000 wishlists during the event.
Participating developers reported spending a fraction of the time they would normally put into preparing for and exhibiting at a major convention and of having almost no expenses for LudoNarraCon compared to thousands of dollars for a typical expo. Fellow Traveller revealed that the costs of running the event came in at two-thirds of the amount they would usually spend exhibiting at a major convention but the extra revenue generated from its games in the LudoNarraCon sale more than covered these costs.
“The first of its kind, LudoNarraCon was an experiment born out of a growing need to find better, smarter ways to promote the games on our label and to find new ways to pursue our mission of pushing games forward as a storytelling medium,” said Chris Wright, Managing Director of Fellow Traveller. “We’re incredibly grateful to Valve for supporting our crazy idea and for the developers and panelists that came on board. The results exceeded our wildest imagination and smashed all the targets we’d set out to beat. We are excited to bring LudoNarraCon back bigger and better in 2020 and encourage anyone with a cool narrative game or something to say about narrative in games to register their interest to exhibit or speak.”