The Game Developers Conference (GDC) Summits, Game Career Seminar and GDC Masterclass Call for Submissions is open September 7 through October 5, 2021 at 11:59 pm PT. The GDC Core Concepts call for submissions closed on August 31, 2021 at 11:59pm PT.
If you are interested in hosting a GDC Masterclass course at GDC22, please review the GDC Masterclass Submission Guidelines, as course proposal requirements and formats follow a different setup from conference talks.
GDC Summits (including the Future Realities Summit, formerly VRDC) are curated deep dives into specific pre-determined topics, covering a comprehensive range of game development disciplines. Summits are programmed by their respective Summit Advisors. The GDC Summits solicit proposals from speakers with deep industry expertise and innovative ideas from a particular niche or emerging area of the game industry. Submission criteria and guidelines are available below. The following GDC Summits are seeking speaking proposals:
- Advanced Graphics Summit
- AI Summit
- Animation Summit
- Art Direction Summit
- Audio Summit
- Board Game Design Summit
- Community Management Summit
- Educators Summit
- Esports Summit
- Fair Play Summit
- Free to Play Summit
- Future Realities Summit (formerly VRDC)
- Game Narrative Summit
- Independent Games Summit
- Level Design Summit
- Machine Learning Summit
- Math in Game Development Summit
- Online Game Technology Summit
- Open Source Game Development Summit
- Production Essentials Summit
- Technical Artist Summit
- Tools Summit
- UX Summit
- Visual Effects Summit
*Game Design Workshop and Storytelling Fundamentals Workshop will remain independently curated and are not accepting submissions.
If you would like to submit, please take note of the following:
Diversity and Representation
GDC aims to achieve diversity of voice, experience, and perspective. Please take this goal into consideration when considering who would be best to speak on behalf of your company or department and/or when submitting panelists.
GDC does not accept product or vendor-related submissions. If your talk is a thinly veiled advertisement for a new product, technology or service your company is offering, please do not submit. If you would like to publicize a product, please visit the become a sponsor page for more information on sponsored sessions.
GDC only accepts submissions by original authors of the presentations. PR firms, speaking relation firms, and all other parties who are not direct authors of submitted presentations are discouraged from submitting a proposal on behalf of their clients/speakers. GDC requires direct contact with presenters to expedite questions during the submission review process.
Phase I: Prepare & Submit Session Proposal
- Speaker Contact Information
- Session Title: Provide a session title in fewer than 10 words. Please try to include keywords, topics, and game titles covered by your talk.
- Track, Format, and Delivery Format
- Presentation Outline Details (For Advisors Only): You have approximately 500 words to outline and thoroughly describe to the GDC Summit Advisors what your talk will be about, and why it will be interesting to GDC attendees. This is NOT the abstract for your talk on the GDC website or published event agenda. This section will NOT be published. It is for you to describe concretely and succinctly what is compelling about your talk, provide supporting data, and outline your presentation in detail to the Summit Advisors. Submissions with thin presentation outline details (e.g. less than 400 words) will most likely be declined by advisors due to lack of information required to evaluate the presentation and its impact. Do not tease with something like, "My lecture will reveal amazing findings about how people play puzzle platformers," instead say, "We have found 90% of people only play puzzle platformers while eating pepperoni pizza," or whatever your amazing finding actually is. If you need more than 500 words to describe your lecture in this way, you can upload supplemental materials (.doc, .pdf, .txt) to your submission.
- Speaker Biography, Game Credits, Speaker History and Twitter username (Biography and Twitter will be posted on website)
- Session Description (For Website): In 100-150-words, provide a concise description of your session. This is the abstract of your talk that will be published on the GDC website. If your company requires PR approval prior to publishing, please note that this section will be made public upon official acceptance. Write in 3rd person, present tense.
- Attendee Takeaway (For Website): In 50-words or less, tell us what attendees will gain from this presentation. Be specific by giving concrete examples and remember that GDC attendees are experts in their field. This will be published on the GDC website. If your company requires PR approval prior to publishing, please note that this section will be made public upon official acceptance. Do not use bullet points, write in 3rd person present tense.
- Intended Audience (For Website): In 50-words or less, describe your target audience and who will benefit from your presentation. Is prerequisite knowledge necessary for understanding the content of the session? If so, what are the prerequisites? This will be published on the GDC website. If your company requires PR approval prior to publishing, please note that this section will be made public upon official acceptance. Do not use bullet points, write in 3rd person present tense.
- Supporting material (For Advisors Only): It is optional to submit supplemental information that supports your session proposal. Additional materials may include white papers, code, demos, videos, images, proof of concept, etc. Supporting materials will NOT be published on the GDC website and are solely for the GDC Summit Advisors during submission review.
Phase II: Session Proposal Review, Selection & Notification
- Summit Advisors reviews submissions in October.
- Submitters are notified of their status early November: Phase 2 Conditionally Accepted, Declined, or Accepted
- Phase 2 submitters will be required to prepare the complete presentation for review by the Summit Advisors*
- Phase 2 submissions are due early December.
*Note: You are not a confirmed speaker until your Phase 2 presentation is reviewed and approved by the Summit Advisors. Most GDC talks are Phase 2 conditionally accepted prior to official acceptance. In Phase 2, submitters will receive feedback from a GDC Summit Advisor, whose aim is to maximize takeaway for the audience, align content with the editorial goals of the topic or summit they advise (see track descriptions and topics of interest below), and ultimately help prepare you for a successful talk. All GDC Summit Advisors are game industry and GDC veterans with extensive expertise in their respective fields.
Phase III: Final Review & Confirmations
- Summit Advisor reviews Phase 2 presentation revisions in November and December
- Phase 2 submitters are notified of their status at mid-December through early January: Declined or Accepted
- Submitters who miss the deadline to submit their presentation plans for review will be automatically declined; exceptions will not be made.
- Submitters who sent in their presentation by the deadline but were not accepted to speak can receive a discount on a conference pass. To request, please contact Molly Portillo.
The Summit Advisors will review and rate submissions based on the following criteria:
- Concept: This is the basic idea of your submission. Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Will it be beneficial for game developers to hear? There is plenty of room for innovative ideas and also the tried and true.
- Depth: Is the basic idea well considered and thought out? To what extent will the audience gain insight? The more in-depth, the better.
- Organization: Are your ideas conducive to present in front of an audience? Will the Summit Advisors understand what you are trying to say? Organization helps.
- Credentials: How do your credentials qualify you to speak on the topic you have proposed?
- Takeaway: Is the attendee going to leave this session knowing something they didn't know when they walked in? Are they learning or being inspired? This is the most important aspect of every Summit session. The submissions will be rated on a one to five scale by each of the reviewers and the resulting scores are averaged. Submissions in each category with the highest scores are considered first. If there is too much topic overlap, a lesser scoring submission may be selected to keep variety in the program.
GDC attendees are very intelligent. They are looking for material that is not obvious and expect excellence from GDC speakers. After your presentation, they will evaluate it based on delivery, knowledge of the topic and the visuals presented.
Preparation is one of the most important factors in delivering a successful talk at GDC. Please keep the following in mind when you propose to speak:
- The proposed outline you submit now must match the talk you present at the Summit. Consider the talk’s duration and submit content accordingly.
- Plan to commit AT LEAST 25 HOURS to prepare for your session.
- Rehearse the delivery of your session to be more effective; preferably in front of your peers and/or record yourself speaking then review it. Both are great ways to practice pacing and timing. Your presentation materials must be completed and submitted four weeks before GDC.
- Please note the Summit Advisors and content team are here to help. If you have ANY additional speaking questions you’d like GDC to cover, please email Molly Portillo.
Summit Descriptions & Topics of Interest
The Summit Advisors are seeking proposals on the following topics, which are the foundation of the programs this year. However, feel free to submit your own original ideas for consideration as well. At GDC, we aim to achieve diversity of voice, experience, and perspective. When considering who would be best to speak on behalf of your company or department, we strongly encourage taking this goal into consideration.
Select any summit listed below to view its description and topics of interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the submission deadline?
The GDC Summits call for submissions deadline is Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 11:59 pm PT.
What makes a good submission?
- Review the submission guidelines above and follow the instructions.
- Incomplete proposals or proposals that are commercial or marketing in nature will not be considered.
- Write your proposal so that it is easily understood. Concise, precise language and a discernible thesis will also help your chances in the review process.The advisors will read many submissions. Get to your point as quickly as possible. Consider what the proposal is about. Why is it interesting? How is it important to game development? What will game developers get out of the session?
What are the session formats?
The final length and format of accepted sessions will be determined by the advisors. Please select what you feel will be the most appropriate.
|Lectures||30 or 60 Minutes|
Lectures are issue-oriented, provide concrete examples, and contain both practical and theoretical information.
GDC generally prefers only one speaker but we may accept two if you can demonstrate the second person is necessary.
Postmortems and case studies are included in this category.
Panels take many different viewpoints on a topic or issue and combine them in one debate session with a moderator.
Debate among panelists (with very different opinions) is welcome and audience Q&A time should be accounted for.
We prefer 60 minutes for this format and no more than 5 people with diverse representation. Include all the panelists you have confirmed in the proposal.
A very limited number of panels will be accepted.
How do I choose a session format?
60-minute lectures tend to be case studies or inspirational, high-level, detail-oriented talks. 30-minute lectures tend to cover a single, narrow topic in depth. Panels tend to examine a controversial or difficult topic with no easy answers and lots of interesting, diverse talking points; panels are always 60-minutes, which is enough time for about eight planned questions. In all cases, expect to leave a few minutes at the end for Q&A.
Also consider who is speaking. Most lectures are given by a single person, unless there is a compelling reason that requires multiple speakers. Panels generally have a moderator and three or four panelists with unique experience or viewpoints who are known experts on the topic.
How does the submission and selection process work?
- We will email you a confirmation when we receive your proposal. If you do not receive this confirmation, contact Molly Portillo.
- Save the link to your proposal, you can revise your submission details until the deadline.
- The advisors will review all submissions in the coming months and determine the status.
- GDC conference managers will notify you of the status of your submission by early November.
Who will review my proposal?
The GDC Summit Advisors review all submissions. Advisors to the specific Summit program you select will review your proposal. They are distinguished industry professionals who volunteer their time to help develop the numerous sessions at GDC. They work to ensure that the quality of the content provided to attendees is high-level, relevant, and timely. Game Career Seminar is programmed by GDC staff and the Gamasutra editorial team.
If I submit to the Summits, can I submit to Core Concepts, GDC Masterclass and/or Game Career Seminar too?
Yes. There is no penalty for submitting a proposal for the GDC Core Concepts, GDC Masterclass, and/or Game Career Seminar, however, should you submit the same topic more than once, keep your audience in mind and adjust similar content as you deem appropriate. Each program has its own advisors and will be reviewed separately.
What are the benefits of speaking?
The benefits of being a speaker include:
- Complimentary registration
- Access to all Core Concepts sessions, GDC Summits sessions, the Game Career Seminar, and the Expo floor
- Speaker meal card for the Moscone Center
- Your name and presentation featured in our conference program and website
- A year subscription to the GDC Vault (recordings of all GDC events, past, and present)
How do I propose a vendor-specific session?
We want our talks to be opportunities for professional game developers to share their ideas and experiences. Proposals that are commercial or marketing in nature will not be considered. In general, content specific to proprietary products and technologies are considered sponsored material. The Summit Advisors and conference management reserve the right to exercise their editorial discretion. If you would like to publicize a product, please visit the become a sponsor page for more information on sponsored sessions.
What does GDC expect from speakers?
When you agree to speak at GDC, you are making a commitment to deliver a well-prepared talk and to speak on the topic you have proposed. We ask that you do not drastically change the submitted topic or content.
You will be evaluated by attendees on how well you delivered your presentation, aim to be among the top 50 presenters.
We ask speakers to submit the final version of their presentation to be made available on the GDC Vault, so we can make it available online.
When will I be notified of the status of my submission?
You will receive an automated email response once your submission is received. We will notify you of the status of your submission by early November. If you do not hear from us, please contact Molly Portillo.
How should a PR Rep or Executive Assistant submit on behalf of a potential speaker?
First, it is ideal for the speakers themselves to submit as they can provide the most detail about the content. However, if you are a PR representative or someone submitting on behalf of a potential speaker, fill in the speaker's contact info in the first section and list the speaker's information in the speaker profile section, but be sure to add yourself as the 'PR contact' associated with the speaker profile(s). This will ensure that you receive all email correspondence relating to GDC in the same email as the speaker(s). Without complete speaker details, the submission will be considered incomplete and will not be able to advance until speaker contact info is received.