Game Developers Conference Set for Digital Format Amid "Many Unknowns" of 2021

Game Developers Conference - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy GDC

The weeklong education- and business-focused event is set to take place July 19-23.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) will again take place online this year.

The weeklong education- and business-focused event — now in its 35th edition — is set to run July 19-23. It will include the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice awards that will be live-streamed on Twitch.

"Going into 2021, we still have many unknowns, but we have been able to look at the year ahead and reimagine how we can serve the game industry," wrote GDC's vp entertainment media, Katie Stern, in a blog post. "Our goals are largely the same: providing resources and great content as well as networking and discussion platforms to connect the industry. But the new constraints around in-person gatherings and travel also brought creativity, and we have been able to develop new formats, and new ways to offer content and community support throughout the year."

A number of events will happen before this main event, including the GDC Masterclass, consisting of small virtual workshops delivering hands-on training centered on challenges facing game developers today. and the GDC Showcase, a free event with lectures, live podcasts and interactive panels with industry figures.

The second half of the year will bring additional events, about which information will be shared in coming weeks. GDC will also publish its annual State of the Game Industry survey, which polls thousands of developers about where the sector is heading. For the last two years, the survey has shown growing support for unionizing the video game industry amid reports of gaming professionals working extended overtime hours and tolerating poor working conditions.

GDC began in the late 1980s as an informal gathering of developers in the living room of designer Chris Crawford. It quickly evolved from computer game-focused discussions to forward-thinking events that include all consoles as well as virtual and augmented reality. In its usual physical iteration at San Francisco's Moscone Center, the event attracts nearly 30,000 attendees.