As the video on demand service becomes the Indie Arena Booth headline sponsor and indie competition judges, Sean Cleaver caught up with Dingit.TV's Claire Sharkey to find out why
The Indie Arena booth returns to gamescom next week with over 80 games being showcased from various developers with a variety of styles and budgets. This year, VOD service Dingit.TV is a gold sponsor of the stage and responsible for awarding the grand prize of €1000 to the overall best indie game at the show.
Dingit.TV is best known as a streaming and highlight clips service that caters to everything from esports favourites like MOBAs to shooters, but the company is looking for more and the Indie Arena Booth, now in its fourth year, is the perfect opportunity to stretch its interests and build on its 30 million unique monthly views, according to Dingit.TV's brand and community manager, Claire Sharkey.
"There are multiple reasons why we're doing this sponsorship," says Sharkey. "This is going to be one of gamescom's prime years. It's just a really great place. In terms of geography in Cologne and an event for all these Indie developers with their games, trying to get them out there to a wider audience. So given that it's Europe, it's a good centre point for a lot of people that we as a company either have met, or people that we haven't, to meet face to face to find out more about us.
"Dingit.TV is known primarily as a premium highlight spot that is very catered towards the esports sector of gaming, but we're also about the enthusiast side of gaming, and [the new, upcoming website] Gamer.TV will be focused more on the casual console audience.Then we'll have another third website in addition to Dingit.TV and Gamer.TV coming at the end of the year. This way, we're able to showcase that we do more than just focus on esports, and we're able to support a lot of games in one go.
"I started out on the indie press and journalism side of things doing freelance. So it's a lovely thing for me from a personal point of view to be involved in the arena."
As part of the prize giving, Dingit.TV will also be giving a €200 third place prize for the best gaming clip taken from the Indie Arena Booth show, in addition to the €1000 prize for the best indie game. The €200 prize is an extension of the existing prizes that Dingit.TV gives for weekly highlights on the website, as Sharkey explains.
"We get loads and loads of highlights, and they're vetted by amazing people that work for a company, so everything is checked. And at the end of the week, we pick a winner internally. It could be the funniest clip, the best clip, there are so many reasons for it. It's a prize that goes directly to the user. Their content gets publicised and they get $200 to do whatever they want.
"We're going to try to implement that at gamescom, because we have a dedicated portal, on Dingit.TV for gamescom and the Arena. Currently, the website has all the trailers for the games and there's more coming in. Then it will have highlights from the event itself, and then there will be a little competition for people playing the games and the people creating them."
While Dingit.TV is no stranger to judging clips of video games for prizes, it's a change from the norm that's a challenge for the team, and it's a welcome one according to Sharkey. "We primarily get those big games like Battlefield, CS:GO and Overwatch. But we also get other clips. We'll get stuff that isn't really so focused on esports. We get Mass Effect, We get farming simulator games. But we don't refuse anything because of the title of the game.
"Our content team vet everything, and obviously they're exposed to a lot of not safe for work stuff. They sacrifice themselves. But no, we don't prioritise anything. We target certain games because we have a demographic to satisfy. If it's a great highlight clip, if it meets all of our terms and conditions, it'll pop up there."
FINDING NEW VOICES
"This is very new for us. If you look at all our partner portals, we have well known esports teams and we have a lot of influencers as well. We are focused on enthusiasts. So the content overall would reflect that. One of my jobs is to make sure that whenever I'm meeting people or promoting people or doing interviews or on social media, making sure that how we portray ourselves shows our inclusive nature.
"This year's the first time we're able to really put a focus on a whole genre of gaming that is completely separate to esports. Maybe they'll be an overlap someday between indie games and esports titles, esport competitions, who knows. There's a lot you can do with tournaments. But this year is a first real push and drive we've been able to sponsor something completely separate from esports.
"The fact that the gamescom sponsorship includes indie games as well, and it's not just a handful of games, it gives us such a wide audience to reach out to. How we message that through our blogs and through our content and through meeting people is very important. This year allows us to reach another audience that might not be as aware that we do cater for them and that our sister sites will focus on them even more. We're able to use our audience and our 30 million unique viewers to help the indie content creators.
"The developers and exhibitors at the Indie Arena Booth are getting the exposure they wouldn't have really had just by promoting their own platforms or YouTube, etc, and it's a nice feeling."