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Interview: GaymerX2 Founder Matt Conn Severely Disappointed By Lack of Corporate Sponsorship

Posted on Friday, May 30 @ 15:00:00 PST by

GaymerX Founder Matt Conn has been extremely busy since the original LGBTQ-centric convention held last July in Japantown of San Francisco. A significant portion of course has been to prepare for GaymerX2, but that's not the only venture he's pursuing

Spurred by a fan who asked about whether GaymerX would be interested in producing a game, Matt has been working on creating Midboss Games as the publisher and developer for Read Only Memories, described as cyberpunk adventure that's a spiritual successor to Hideo Kojima's Snatcher. The text-based title, fully-funded on Kickstarter in December 2013, features a cast of straight and gay characters in Neo-San Francisco 2064, and is set to release for Mac, PC, Ouya, iOS, and Android.

As for this year's GaymerX2, Matt Conn has plenty in store for the three-day convention at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco from July 11-13 where over 2,000 people are expected to attend. He has assembled a host of special guests or Bosses of Honor, including Fred Rosser (otherwise known as Darren Young as the first openly gay wrestler in the WWE), Gordon Bellamy, David Gaider from BioWare, co-founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian, and creator of the comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Zach Weinersmith.

However, in the 20-minute interview highlight reel posted above, Matt Conn has unfortunate news to share about GaymerX2: a lack of corporate sponsorships. Given the larger venue and the longer convention dates, the costs for the convention "went up about three times," which makes the lack of support by big publishers that much more disappointing for him:
We assumed that the fact we didn't get corporate sponsorship the first year, for the most part, was because we were a new entity. People hadn't seen what we could do, they didn't see what an awesome event we could create; that if [corporate sponsors] put their money in, that they would get a return on their investment.

They saw all the press we got, from Vice, from Forbes, from everything. So we started going around all these big companies... I don't even want to name names, but every big game company, especially the ones that say they support LGBT things. And at the end of the day, they're like 'we don't have money for this', 'we can't make a political statement'... this and that. [As] it's been getting over the last couple months and up until we made this announcement, it's been getting more and more depressing.

These people really don't fuckin' care. They really don't care. They say they care, but they don't care. They think that this is a silly idea.

[But] the other day, I had a meeting with Ubisoft, and it was amazing. It was one of the first times that a big company wasn't just taking a meeting with us just because we're a LGBT company, that they actually believe in the idea that gaming is a 90-billion-dollar-a-year industry and queers make up five to ten per cent of that industry, maybe we should actually pay attention to them. ...And it sucks that most gaming companies don't see that.

I'm going to lose about $100,000 on GaymerX2.

I off-handedly suggested that he place a donation box in front of the convention, but Matt Conn doesn't want to take more money from queer gamers who have already donated a lot for the convention already.
At this point, I don't know what else there is to do in terms of getting corporate sponsorship, or getting companies to actually put their money in, put their money where their mouth is, and not see us as a joke.

Almost every gaming company, they see women gamers as a joke, they see gay gamers as a joke, because at the end of the day, that's not their core audience and it's okay if they lose that 20 per cent, 30 per cent.
​For segments of the full interview, please head over to the playlist in our official channel on YouTube.
Tags:   GaymerX, LGBT

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