GDC starts today with over 550 virtual game development discussions

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The Game Developers Conference kicks off today as a virtual event with over 550 game development conferences Monday through Friday. And GDC has announced that next year’s event will return to San Francisco as an in-person event from March 21-25, 2022.

GDC, owned by Informa Tech, is a paid event that features professional game developers talking about the art and science of game creation. This is the 35th edition of the event, and this week’s debates are the real meat of the event which has been split into two parts – one in March and one this week – due to the pandemic, Katie said. Stern, who oversees GDC as vice president of entertainment media at Informa Tech, in an interview with GamesBeat.

GDC 2021 is set to be the most accessible GDC yet and is designed from top to bottom to take advantage of the virtual platform, offering a week of lectures, tutorials, panel discussions, and more. The Virtual Conference features live sessions featuring fireside chats, Q&A and podcasts, featuring the biggest names in the video game industry.

“We’re really excited about this,” Stern said. “It’s starting to sound like the actual GDC we all know and love. We have over 500 talks so it’s much more on a traditional GDC scale than we would see in person in March. “


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Earlier this year, the March event was seen more as a taste of GDC for those new to it, Stern said. It was a free event, while this week’s event is paid.

“We have a lot more heavy hitting content and a lot more technical stuff,” Stern said.

GDC 2022

Above: GDC 2019 attracted approximately 29,000 people to San Francisco. In 2021, it will be online only.

Image Credit: GDC

Informa Tech also announced that GDC 2022 will return as a physical conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from March 21 to 25, 2022. Submissions to present conferences, roundtables and panels for the Core Concepts section of GDC 2022, from Wednesday to Friday of GDC week, will be accepted from August 3 to 31, 2021.

Stern said GDC plans to do this year’s event in person, but was too close to commit early enough for the sponsors building booths for the show. The world didn’t have enough clarity six months or more ago to pull off all the preparations for an in-person event. But Stern said she was confident she could return to San Francisco in March 2022.

“We really wanted to be very careful about how we approach this event. And we knew that we would likely be at the forefront or the cutting edge of any kind of decision to come, especially with the [California Governor Gavin] The Newsom administration’s targets for the start of July are sort of the opening schedule, ”Stern said. “But we really wanted to make sure that we were doing the most responsible thing for the group and for the community as a whole. We rely heavily on an international audience, so we wanted to keep that in mind as well. There are certainly a large number of people who live locally and can travel easily. But we wanted it to be an experience that feels safe and welcoming for everyone and ultimately we probably need another year to be virtual before we can open. “

As many counties in California begin to require indoor masks again, the state has generally opened up to most activity.

“It’s really refreshing what the industry thinks about business right now. People are starting to come back in person, ”Stern said. “Business is starting to rebound a bit more. “

John Romero plays Quake

Above: John Romero playing Doom at a 20th anniversary event.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Stern said this week’s talks will cover various avenues of game development topics, such as design, business and marketing, game visual arts and storytelling, post-mortem games led by the developers of the classics. , Quake and Star Wars Galaxy, in-game career development opportunities, and many more. Doom and Quake co-creator John Romero will play a live Quake match with JP Lebreton on Friday in a new feature called GDC Plays. It takes place on Friday at 11:50 a.m. The ever-moving # 1ReasonToBe panel on diversity in the game takes place on Friday at 8:30 am.

The conference will host the multi-part presentation The Developer’s Impact presented by esteemed game creators Lyndsay Pearson (executive producer for The Sims at EA Maxis), Ziba Scott (optimist and popcannibal) and Osama Dorias (chief game designer at Warner Bros. . Games Montreal). These talks were originally scheduled for 2020 but have derailed due to the pandemic.

“We are really happy to have been able to invite again some of these speakers who were touched when” GDC had to abruptly cancel its event in March 2020.

GDC 2021 will also host the 21st Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA), the premier peer-to-peer video game event celebrating the best games and developers in the industry, and the 23rd Annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards, which honor the most promising developers. and projects from the independent video game world.

Katie Stern is Managing Director of GDC Events.

Above: Katie Stern heads the GDC.

Image Credit: GDC

The two will take place back-to-back on Wednesday, July 21 starting at 4:30 p.m. PT. The GDCA ceremony will also present the special honors of the Pioneer Award to Tom Fulp, creator of Newgrounds, and the Lifetime Achievement Award to Laralyn McWilliams for his influence as a game designer over the past 28 years. McWilliams is a cancer survivor as well as a key creative developer behind titles such as Free Realms, Full Spectrum Warrior, Over the Hedge, and Sid Meier’s Pirates !.

There will be a lot of talk about the accessibility of video games and how to make the industry more welcoming to various developers, as well as how to make games for various audiences. The sessions will offer both closed captioning and video on demand in three additional languages, including Mandarin, Japanese and Spanish for the first time.

“What we’re really starting to see is a bit of reloading, with some interesting discussions about monetization models and game discoverability,” Stern said. “How do you surface above the noise?” And how do you predict how well things will work with so much accessibility? “

The conference will also feature the first Game Maker’s Sketchbook Gallery, a new annual artistic showcase to promote and honor a wide range of works by specific artists in video games co-founded by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS), the company creative production iam8bit, and communications firm, forty-seven (47).

Stern said GDC had more time this year to adjust to the full virtual format, which allowed him to stage so many talks. She expects the crowd to exceed 8,000 to 10,000 in total, which is less than the nearly 30,000 people attending the event in person.

Sponsors have different approaches

The Epic Games event at GDC 2019.

Above: The Epic Games event at GDC 2019.

Image Credit: GDC

Those interested in GDC 2021 can still register to attend from home, until the end of the conference on the official GDC website. Some pillars of the GDC withdrew their participation. Google Play and Google Stadia hosted their own summits last week as online events, and Epic Games has five different sponsored sessions at GDC, but it doesn’t have a typical sponsored main event. Stern said Google wants its audience to not have a paid admission requirement, while GDC requires it for its event.

“We really keep it for the practitioners in the room. So we’re very attached to that, ”Stern said.

Sponsors like Xsolla talk about the state of the industry on Tuesday, HP talks about next-level game development on Wednesday, and Amazon Web Services talks about gaming technology on Thursday.

“We are delighted with the level of support we have received from the sponsoring community for this virtual event,” said Stern.


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