There's only one way to describe the 2023 Game Developers Conference: GDC is back. The industry's premier event for game developers saw more than 28,000 registered attendees—more than doubling the number of in-person attendees from last year's event. And luckily, that's not all GDC has planned for 2023.
GDC 2023 featured over 1,000 speakers and 700 sessions, workshops, roundtable discussions and networking opportunities. More than 330 exhibitors were present to display their newest technologies, programs and services on the GDC Expo Floor, including industry leaders like Amazon Web Services, Adobe, Discord, Google, NEXON and more. It was also a space for attendees to play and connect with the developers behind new and exciting independent games, including the finalists from the Independent Games Festival and the alt.ctrl.GDC exhibit that is home to games that use alternative controllers like toaster ovens, giant oversized hats, and others.
“This week’s conference was focused on the in-person experience, and the incredible attendance numbers show game developers’ strong desire to connect and learn together. We’re so happy to see our friends and colleagues again in an environment that fosters these insights and relationships,” said Stephenie Hawkins, Director of Event Production for Media & Entertainment at Informa Tech. “The focus of this year’s conference was community, jobs and accessibility, and on each of those fronts, we’ve proudly introduced new ways for attendees to find their respective tribes, join the fun through any level of physical capabilities, and create a path towards great interactive experiences."
The conference featured workshops and sessions led by some of the biggest names in the games and entertainment industry. Esteemed developers shared their insights into the creations of hit games including: The Last of Us, Dead Space, God of War Ragnarök, Kirby, Horizon Forbidden West and more. During GDC, major big game reveals included the first gameplay footage for The Seven Deadly Sins Origin, Counter-Strike 2, and others. Microsoft also sparked interest with the release of 12 new ID@Xbox demos available for conference attendees at the ID@Xbox Sponsored Kiosk and Razer following the announcement of their new universal Interhaptics SDK.
A centerpiece of GDC was the annual Main Stage presentation, this year titled, “The Future of Play.” The multi-part presentation focused on how the future of game development and the evolving workplace is expanding, featuring Chandana Ekanayake of Outerloop Games, Robert Anderberg of ControlZee and game industry executive Jen Oneal. The speakers discussed designing games about experiences unique to marginalized cultures, creating a healthy studio culture with a remote workforce, and building a successful user-generated content (UGC) platform that benefits both players and developers.
GDC 2023 honored the top developers of the past year with the 25th annual IGF Awards and the 23rd annual Game Developers Choice Awards. Notably, Cosmo D Studios’ Betrayal At Club Low won both the Independent Games Festival’s Nuovo Award, which honors titles that make the awards jurors think differently about games as a medium, and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Betrayal At Club Low made history as only the second title in IGF Awards history to pull off wins in those two major categories. At the Game Developers Choice Awards, Elden Ring won big, earning the trophies for Best Visual Art, Best Design and Game of the Year, while the developers of God of War Ragnarök also took home three trophies: Best Audio, Best Technology and the Audience Award.
This summer, the GDC will host the GDC Showcase 2023, a digital event created to provide the game developer community with another opportunity to enjoy GDC from home on June 27-29, 2023. The lower cost virtual GDC Showcase 2023 event will feature session highlights with live interview sessions, roundtables, interactive panels, keynotes, and networking sessions. GDC Showcase will allow GDC attendees from around the world to join and interact with GDC speakers for three days of content and networking from the comfort and convenience of home.
GDC Showcase is part of a slate of ongoing initiatives aimed at making GDC resources and content available to more developers around the world. Other efforts include the Equal Opportunity Attendance Program which offered 1,000 complimentary Expo passes to GDC to applicants who were otherwise unable to attend without considerable financial assistance. This year, 700 passes were donated through the GDC scholarships program, made in partnership with more than 20 organizations dedicated to supporting and uplifting underrepresented voices in the industry.
GDC provides all IGF finalists travel stipends and other assistance to ensure they can attend and participate in the conference, Independent Games Summit, and the IGF Awards that celebrate indie development. GDC also celebrates finalists with the annual IGF Pavilion showcase with kiosks and equipment to showcase their games to the public at no cost. IGF Award winners receive prize money for their incredible work. Other support resources include affordable onsite childcare services during GDC and a complimentary bike valet service for attendees.
GDC will be returning to the Moscone Convention Center March 18-22, 2024. The call for submissions for GDC 2024 will open this summer.
Subscribe to the GDC newsletter.