Published on May 21st, 2020 | by gareth0
GDC Reveals What To Expect From Their Virtual Event
As virtual events become more common; GDC has revealed what they plan for their summer event.
To Expect From An All-Digital GDC Summer? A Chat With GM Katie
For the first time in over 30 years,
is going completely virtual.
At the new GDC Summer, sessions, networking, expo activities, and more will be made
available online via a robust digital platform from August 4-6, 2020.
Leading the effort is GDC general manager Katie Stern, who answered our questions about
what to expect from the first-ever, totally virtual GDC Summer.
What are some of the topline goals for the digital version of GDC Summer?
As someone who has worked in live events for her whole career, I have a certain
love of creating in-person experiences for communities of professionals.
Initially, I was just as disappointed as everyone else that we weren’t able to
make that happen this year. Luckily, it provided an opportunity to rethink what
it means for the GDC community to come together and how we can provide value to
the industry even with certain restrictions in place.
By taking GDC Summer to a digital format, we are now able to open the doors even
wider to offer education, networking, and business functions for a global
audience at a price point that is more accessible, and in a way that doesn’t
require travel. It allows us to continue to break down barriers in the game
development industry and foster both budding and seasoned professionals in their
Is this going to be purely streamed talks and sessions, or will attendees also be
able to connect with one another and build relationships?
Attendees can expect the same high-caliber educational conference sessions that are the
cornerstone of GDC, but also exciting new interactive formats
that aren’t as easily executed at a large-scale physical event. It will be
structured in such a way that an attendee can easily find experiences that match
with their interests and engage with like-minded colleagues. You’ll
find everything from small group roundtables, to community forums, to webinars
with live speaker Q&A, hands-on workshops, AMAs and likely even a few
‘unconference’ sessions where you get to drive the content that is
I recognize that a large part of the value of GDC in its physical form is the
serendipitous networking that occurs from the ‘hallway track,’ bumping into
people you might not have otherwise had the opportunity to engage with.
Understanding there is no one-to-one recreation of that, we set out to create
other fun, engaging experiences that surround the core program. These offer
unique engagement formats to give your brain a break from learning, create some
social space and facilitate that opportunity to organically “bump into” new
While we’re still finalizing the exact programs you can expect some pre- and
post-conference socials–maybe a virtual mixer with a pro-mixologist teaching a
signature cocktail and mocktail recipe? Perhaps a field trip to a museum with a
docent? A little light yoga or mindfulness session? Maybe some ever-present
relaxation live-streams throughout the day; Puppies? Otters? Jellyfish? Who
Of course, no event, live or virtual would be complete without the ability to
formally network. Our
exciting platform has an easy-to-navigate meeting tool that allows attendees to
search for each other, as well as for sponsors, live chat, or set meetings for
video calls. You can use this feature for professional networking, finding new
tools & services, mentoring, portfolio reviews or simply catching
Will there be any way attendees can connect directly with publishers and form new
partnerships at GDC Summer?
One of the major disappointments about not hosting GDC proper was the gap that was
left for those wishing to pitch games to potential publishers. We’re excited to
announce that GDC
Summer will host an Indie Showcase, as well as reprise GDC Pitch to help
facilitate those business interactions.
GDC Summer will also be home to a Sponsor Showcase.
We understand how important it is to continue to have easy access to those
vendors you already do business with, but also the opportunity to discover new
potential partners to help make your organization shine.
With this setup, you’ll immediately have access to the materials they are offering on
their dedicated brand page (videos, whitepapers, etc.) as well as a listing of
all the sessions they are presenting during the week. You can schedule meetings
with them right on that page, or immediately enter their live video room to
speak with a rep (you
can be immediately whisked away to a private meeting room too if large group
convos aren’t your thing).
What can students expect from the show?
It is not lost on us that you are being launched from an extremely structured
school environment into a fairly chaotic, highly complex world state that no one
has experienced in our lifetimes. GDC
Summer is committed to offering a dedicated student pass that offers tailored
content to recent graduates and current students
looking to begin their careers in the game development industry, create
opportunities for mentoring/networking, as well as provide valuable access
insights into the industry.
Some people won’t be able to take time off work and participate in a live virtual
conference, even if they’d like to. What are the options there?
I’m glad you asked! We know that just because you are working from home does
not mean that you have ample amounts of free time. You may even be finding that your
workload feels heavier than ever before (working during a pandemic is mentally
So, if you’re in the U.S., we’ve created two blocks of time: mornings and
afternoon/evenings, to help bookend your day instead directly interrupting it.
If you are in European regions, you’ll find that you have access in your
afternoon and evening hours, and depending where you are in APAC regions, you
can join us late at night or early morning.
Thatsaid, all first-run broadcasts will immediately be archived on the event platform for
on-demand access the week of the event so you can make up your own conference
Watch while you eat breakfast! Multitask while you’re in that really boring
all-hands meeting (ok, maybe don’t do that)! Take it in over your very own
at-home happy hour for one! While the kids are wrestling in the living room! You
get the point…GDC Summer is whatever hours you want it to be during August
All-in-all, we know GDC Summer won’t look like GDC itself, but we think there is power in
that. It gives us all an opportunity to rethink the experience, how to create
meaning for a virtual gathering, and ultimately create a bigger tent. Just
because we can’t gather in a convention center in the middle of San Francisco or
commute to company offices or host physical meetings doesn’t mean that the
industry itself has paused. There is still business that needs to get done and
games that need to be made. No matter what format, GDC intends to help you do