Happy New Year Everyone.
Its been an amazing year looking back on 2018. Putting into words the immense support and help to achieve what has been accomplished in under 12 months has been overwhelming. Yes that’s right “less than 12 months” we moved into the “Retro Gaming Bunker” in March 2018 after building a sustainable business and expanding out of my bedroom. The year has been challenging, fun and no less creative. The immense satisfaction of waking up each morning and knowing you’re about to share a little bit of nostalgic, hobby driven passion on to another humanbean is a satisfying feeling.
Christmas has been busy time on the sales side, and on a personal level “challenging”, it’s always a difficult time of the year for me and I like to throw myself into focusing on the buying and selling side of InGameUK. So apologies everyone if our social media hasn’t quite been up to its typical standard. I’m getting near to remerging and I like to think that Creative people often need time off to reimagine, refine and just think through ideas.
Achievements in an ambitious 2018?
- Established The Retro Gaming Bunker.
- Developed our online presence and Patreon campaign! THANK YOU!
- Attended a number of local cons and community organised events.
- Hosted events at the Bunker.
- Appeared on SoundART Radio, not once but twice.
- Attended both UKGE and Essen Spiel (Thanks to BarPig).
- Produced Three Main Patreon Funded Videos, receiving in excess of 4k views and in one case 30+ shares on facebook alone.
- Co-hosted a community game library at the World Scrabble Championships.
- Supported the charity sector and international projects like; Chrysalis Board Game project in Uganda
- We are now both a Steamforged Games partner and an Asmodee stockist, with a few other collaborations on the table in 2019. It’s all very exciting!
- We’ve supported the promotion of indie games on a local level, including BarPig and Dice Fishing.
How has the InGameUK business side preformed?
Often I feel Social Entrepreneurs see the word “profit” as a dirty word… Ooh Matron. But in fact it is the enabler to allow organisations and individuals to do good in their community. It has always been intended that the “buying and selling” was the financial lifeline to allow us to create projects that might not be financially sustainable, from events to education projects. Our logic is to support grassroots community projects to help solve local social challenges through the use of media content, creative writing and some pretty awesome ideas, and that’s what we look forward to building upon in 2019. In the meanwhile how was 2018?
- 500% increase on sales this time last year.
- We hit our 2018 finical targets and have expanded into a Brand New Stock range, focusing on the hard to find, collectible items, that specifically service our local community.
- Our community selling scheme has worked well, but requires consultation with the members who took part. The idea needs to be better tailored to service the local community. There have been a great number of positives, yet some challenges have arisen to keep it financially sustainable. Consultation is needed.
Milestones. InGameUK in 2019!
In business the idea behind growth is to double each year, it is another year of growth on the horizon for InGameUK. And our ambition is to do just that; double. Not just in our retail size but in our contribution to our community, through skills development, financial services and support. So what are we aiming to achieve?
- Create eight videos in Q1 of 2019. While capturing image content for InGameUK.shop. I’ve invested in a few bits of camera kit, that I hope will provide a unique professional style to the next wave of content.
- Patreon redevelopment. With the amazing news that Plymouth is getting a Board Game Cafe! Twist — it makes our message on Patreon a little confused, so it will be changing to focus more on the media production, popup events and workshops.
- Increase our social media reach through creative media production. It would be great to start developing a yearly marketing campaign and see a 30% increase in engagement online, with the amount of photos we produce (12K+ photos a year) we will be worth a follow!
- We are keen to use the space at InGameUK for media production, installing more technology and explore collaborative ideas with other content creators. We want to transform the Retro Gaming Bunker into a multi functional space that lends itself to filming, stock management and most importantly a unique gaming experience.
- FREE Content. Our content will always be FREE to enjoy. With our “behind the scenes content” available to our private Patreon’s and InGameUK Players (Advocators) groups. There are many ways to join these for free, so please do have a look.
Community / Events.
- Fostering international brand engagement and sense of community around the hobbies we love. How do we do this? Through technology and video, we will be doing more filming and streaming of content into 2019 and we are excited at the friends we haven’t met yet!
- Set up several “pop-up” gaming events across Plymouth and the local rural area. We are keen to help increase the opportunities available to expose people to board games and retro gaming. While promoting the hobbies we love.
- Set up a regular monthly board game creator club at The Retro Gaming Bunker. Behind the scenes we’ve been helping support ideas and develop our own. It would be great to see us help support one or more of these ideas to market, through sharing skills and industry knowledge.
- Attend more national and international events. GenCon 2019! We will be there! Hopefully!
- Across our local community we will be running workshops around; using RolePlay to help young people with their Skills Development.
- Electronics: Refurbish, Repair, Replay — RELOVE. We love old electronics and we’ve found you do too. We look forward to teaching people about the inner workings of some of these old electronics at our pop-up workshops. More info about this will be coming soon.
- BIG DEVON EVENT. Yes you heard it here first! Not a Convention. Not an Expo. Not Open Gaming! But something Bigger, Better and way more creative! We are striving to be different and we have a few exciting ideas to bring alive, focusing more on the creative process and passion that shapes both the creation of Table Top Gaming and the ever evolving Computer Game Industry.
Business; Buy, Refurbish and Resell.
- On the retail side we will aim to double our sales in 2019. Building on our ongoing success. Our plan is to develop a presence away from third party sales platforms. InGameUK.Shop will specifically focus on new stock and some of the more exclusive collectibles, merchandise and community exclusives.
- Develop internal business processes around media production, cleaning, refurbishment, storing and organising of stock.
- Employ an apprentice to assist on both the retail side and help develop our media production ambitions.
- Increase our green policy through recycling and refurbishment, while continuing to contribute to the charity sector.
In my personal life i’ve been lucky enough to be given the opportunity of a creative writing and photography project for the History Centre in Plymouth. Not gaming related but Fish! Preserving some of the local heritage and history around the industry to be used in their education outreach programme. This is good news both for InGameUK and for me personally. Its nice to be valued for my content creation and experience of the fishing industry. Really looking forward to be involved in this project. It also helps keep my instructional design skills in check and all the aspects to creative writing I enjoy in story telling. Its also paid! What this means is it eases up the pressure on InGameUK’s sales in Q1 meaning I will have time to focus on media production and the development of the InGameUK.shop e-Commerce site.
What InGameUK will not be doing in 2019?
Two things have been noticeable over the Christmas Period, which i’ll be interested to hear peoples thoughts on. These being around social media. Its starting to feel very saturated on facebook and other social media platforms. Let me explain. Over Christmas I was aware of the amount of targeted paid marketing taking place. So much so my phone usage over November and December was down 30% because I didn’t want to log into social platforms just to receive marketing. You’d be pleased to know InGameUK didn’t pay for any advertising over Christmas as we didn’t want to add to this unpleasurable user experience we ourselves were feeling. Christmas is about friends and family, not how much money you spend on them!
The advertising industry lost 22 billion dollars of revenue in 2015 as a result of now-commonplace ad blockers.
This leads into the second observation. And before I start, I just want to say this deserves a longer post. I’m exploring this concept in the consideration of what our own media strategy is and how we wish to be different, while resonating with our community.
With paid advertisements not as effective as they once were, we are seeing a spike in “Micro Influencers” across all industries. A micro influencer is an individual who has already established a community around a particular industry, they are then approached by companies to promote specific products on social media. This strategy is effective, but InGameUK is not that. We feel this approach often occurs through stealth and individuals aren’t as transparent as they could be about who gives them money or products to promote a brand.
“With 83% of consumers trusting and acting on recommendations from friends & family, micro influencers are a powerful new cultural marketing phenomenon.”
So why is our ethos different? We want our content to be appreciated for the quality, passion and creativity behind each of the videos, photos or stories we produce. Not in an effort to sell but as an appreciation of Art. For instance with Board Games we believe in what we dub “Honest Gamer Reviews” (HGR). Its a way to express our independence in our reviewing approach, we appreciate not all games suit all gamers and we will strive to find the best audiences, who are most receptive to particular types of games. You will never see me giving a review or telling you to go buy this game, you might however see me telling a story of why something is significant. InGameUK isn’t about the individual; its about creativity, imagination, passion and the thriving community that exists in the background.
Micro Influencers are an interesting cultural phenomenon and as explained earlier this deserves a longer post / analysis. It is a challenging profession where social pressure on oneself is immense and there is a lot of crossover in what we are doing. Regardless we have a lot of respect for the commitment and dedication shown by Micro Influencers to their audiences throughout 2018. We wish all advocates of all industries well into 2019!
Thank you all for your continued support into 2019. Without you there is no InGameUK and it is very pleasurable being on this journey with you all. It is always fun, exciting and enjoyable connecting and sharing with such a vibrant community. And remember The Retro Gaming Bunker isn’t “my space” rather a community resource, you are always welcome to pop over to play or organise games with friends.
So as a snapshot: In 2019 you will see loads more video content from us, bigger web presence, pop-up events and some other cool, marketing campaigns!
We invite you to become part of what we are doing and help increase our Social Impact! With your support we can create some really cool online content, from viral videos through to documenting the events we attend. Writing cracking blog posts (like this one), to stunning photos and awesome video content. We’ve already got the ideas, we just need a little financial support to make our aspirations a reality. With your help, anything and everything is possible!
Chrysalis Youth Empowerment Network:
Need your help.
Back in August you might recall, we sent a load of board games out to THE GAME CHANGERS project in Uganda. As we prepare to send out our next Board Game Shipment early next year, we were contacted to say they were looking for 14 new sponsors for next year! Can you help? would you like to find out more about the life changing impact board games can have on young peoples lives?
For more information on games donations please click here Gamechangers is a new project from Chrysalis born from its…cyen.org.uk
Here at InGameUK we believe in cultivating communities around creativity and play. We bring people together to share in…ingameuk.com
We have the dream of opening a Board Game Cafe in the South West of England. A community focused bricks and mortar…vimeo.com