The Media Indie Exchange (The MIX) is a platform all about celebrating amazing games and the diverse creators who make them. The organization was started by indie developers for indie developers worldwide in order to provide grassroots networking showcase opportunities to help further their success at a time where it was challenging for developers to find their place in the culture and market. The goal for The MIX was for creators to get press visibility through gaming media outlets such as IGN, Kotaku, Polygon, Gamespot, etc. to bridge the gap between developers and investors, publishers and platform holders such as Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and to provide a safe place where the amazing developers can connect with each other and other industry professionals.
The MIX initially started out as an untitled, underground networking showcase held in the cafeteria at IGN headquarters in San Francisco during the 2012 Game Developers Conference (GDC). The event was organized by Justin Woodward the co-founder of the indie game studio Interabang Entertainment who was also managing the Gamespy/IGN Indie Open house accelerator. PR consultant and professional games writer, John Polson (Humble Games) also jumped on board, helping to reach press outlets and developers who were looking to find alternative productive opportunities to GDC parties, which typically were laden with loud music, and alcohol. The first event was a success, featuring over 30 games and hosting a myriad of press, publishers, and industry professional guests. Folks such as Namco, Capcom, PlayStation, Xbox, Ubisoft, and more were all present, some of which signed games.
In anticipation of GDC 2013, Woodward decided to start prep on the second showcase, naming it The Media Indie Exchange, The MIX for short as well as branded the event, designing the logo, general aesthetic and the website in order to make things official. The second event was more organized and structured this time around while still keeping the organic flavor and hosting it at IGN HQ. Devs, Press, publishers, and industry professionals signed up for the showcase and the night of the event the word went out and people were lined up around the block to get into IGN. This event cemented The MIX as one of the main events to be a part of during the GDC season, this event opened up opportunities for future events and the growth of The MIX in general.
After the first branded event, The MIX expanded to having a rooftop showcase during GDC Next, and partnered experienced former Lucasarts and Telltale Games marketer, Joel Dreskin after working with CG convention organizers, Siggraph on a showcase in Vancouver, and then set up events at E3 in which The MIX hosted larger indie titles and partnered with companies like Unity3D, Intel, Nintendo, Unreal, Playstation, and Xbox to amplify the developers and showcase their games to larger forums. Through the expansion, the team started organizing and producing events at Evo in Las Vegas and PAX West in Seattle annually.
The MIX has been an intercontinental front-facing event from day one, hosting thousands of global guests and sharing hundreds of international developer’s games each year. The international showing increased brand awareness and a demand to produce events overseas. The first international showcase the MIX team produced was in 2015 with Unity3D in Amsterdam at their Unite Europe event, followed by working with the Taiwanese government for a MIX event for the Taipei Game Developer Forum (TGDF). In 2019 the team traveled to Kyoto Japan to team up with partner John Davis and the other co-founders of BitSummit for their VIP press party and ended the year in Cologne Germany for the VIP indie Gamescom event.
The evolution of the MIX has gone from being focused on in-person press events to developing additional marketing strategies to include broadcasting collaborations and partnerships with Twitch, IGN, and Gamespot on-site and in their studios in order to produce video content and amplify the voices of developers. This experience has transitioned from 4 years of broadcasting production at live shows and pivoting to inhouse production during the pandemic leading to the creation of an online press event called the Guerrilla Collective, where The MIX partnered with Kinda Funny, Raw Fury, Larian, Paradox, Humble Games, Good Shepherd, Sega, PlayStation, Xbox/Microsoft, Twitch, IGN, Gamespot, and others as an alternative to E3. The Guerrilla collective ended up becoming one of the most watched gaming events during the summer of 2020 and 2021 and led to a myriad of other online showcases cultivating millions of views.
During the production of the Guerrilla Collective the tragedies of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd exploded into civil unrest shaking the world. With very few Black executives participating in publishing and broadcasting in the game industry, MIX Co-Founder Justin Woodward was distraught by the responses in partnership meetings as he was often the only black executive on the response calls. Forward thinking publisher Raw Fury recognized this and helped to fund the support of an event that The MIX founded, called Black Voices in Gaming which was a showcase that shed light on Black Game Developers who were making a splash in the industry. Black Voices in Gaming has since evolved into a non-profit organization accompanying The MIX and Guerrilla Collective showcases since 2020, sparked a community and culture of Black Game Developers that can support each other’s movement.
Justin Woodward’s Bio
With a mixture of over 12 years of independent and AAA development and production experience and a master’s in Game Production and Management, Justin Woodward Co-founded and directs an independent game studio, Interabang Entertainment as well as The Media Indie Exchange (The MIX) which is an organization that helps to elevate indie developers’ visibility and business opportunities through exclusive indie showcases online and in-person worldwide. Being involved in the development scene has also lead him into the role as a lead advisor with Humble Bundle on the Humble Black Game Developer Fund as well as a consultant for the investment/crowdfunding platform Fig, IGN Prime, and has helped organize the IGN Indie Open House and Double Fine Indie spaces.