Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
In this week's blog, I'm going to be talking a bit about my thoughts on something that has been cropping up a bit more as of late and that's the issue of should game developers be paid for speaking at events.
Now, this is not exactly that much of a black and white situation. It really depends a lot on the type of event and the topic as well as the speakers experience. For the majority of the time, I feel the speaker should be paid. For example, if you are running a for profit event and you reach out to a game developer asking them to speak at your event then yes you should be paying them. You are charging people money to come see said developer or a number of developers, so as they are part of the reason why people are attending then they should be paid accordingly.
There are exceptions to this however. For example, if you a running an event that is purely for charity, then I personally have no issue with speakers not being paid if the money is instead going to a good cause. Depending on the event, they may still cover your cost of travel but again, if it's for charity, I wouldn't mind covering my own travel.
The issue of assuming you don't pay speakers is something that has existed for quite some time here in Ireland. While I have spoken at events that paid their speakers and covered travel costs, for the most part speakers do not get paid. I've had a number of for profit events reach out to me asking me to speak for an hour or more with no intention of payment or of even covering the cost of travel across the country. Ireland may be a small place but trains still cost money and game developers still need to eat lunch last time I checked. I've heard plenty of times that the exposure is why you should do it for free and here's the thing, exposure is all well and good but if you're running a for profit event and you ask me to speak at it for over an hour with no intention of paying me then as far as I'm concerned, you don't value my time or the time of anyone else you ask to speak for free.
It's one thing if I see an event that I think is really cool and I reach out asking if they would be interested in having me speak at it. In that case I'm the one basically inviting myself to it so I'm ok with not being paid for it. At the end of the day, these for profit events are asking you to come in the hopes they ave enough content to sell more tickets. Making games is not easy and putting together a presentation that is both entertaining and informative to an audience is also not easy. It's important that you value your time because if you don't then none of this will change. We've seen the trend where it's expected of indie devs to release their games for free or practically nothing which has already had such a negative impact on the industry. Lets not see that happen with speaking events too. Ireland has a lot of problems with its game scene and a long way to go in terms of making it something more but for now if we can start by valuing our skills and our time to share those skills and experience, we might be able to start improving the industry here.
until next time.