Shortly after announcing that GDC Summer 2020 was going digital after initially being announced as a live event, registration has been announced as open and a few more details and insights have been revealed as well.
Katie Stern, GDC’s General Manager, addressed some of these logistical and content topics some folks may be wondering about.
The objectives of GDC Summer involved adaptation involved a shift from disappointment to acceptance (and working with the digital medium as it is). Kate Stern “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.”
One of the toughest aspects of a live physical event to replicate is the power of chance networking and introductions in a dynamic event space. No digital platform can effectively replicate that (yet), which Stern acknowledges:
“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 people.”
The GDC Summer team is working on a few ways, still incomplete or unconfirmed, to encourage unstructured or informal socializing, such as virtual happy hours among other ideas.
One of the pluses any organizer of digital events organizer may tout is that it opens the doors for education, networking, and business to a global audience with few restrictions, without the concern for travel and other barriers. One of the main questions folks may wonder about is how robust the online offerings might be when physical doors to physical venues open up again.
There will be integrated networking tools and pitch sessions, of course, which is essential for developers seeking out publishers (and vice versa), seeking new tools & services, portfolio reviews, job-hunting, or catching up. The online format, aside from missing physical social cues and connections, enables a straight-forward method for networking as familiar as chat rooms and one-to-one messaging.
In the meantime, GDC Summer 2020 attendees can expect “… 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 delivered,” Katie Sterns notes.
GDC’s General Manager recognizes the audience is global, so their team has “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,” Stern says. She adds that all first-run broadcasts will immediately be archived on GDC Summer’s event platform, so the schedule can be customized to an attendee’s liking during the week of the event (August 4-6).
How successfully the organizers for GDC Summer 2020 can differentiate this upcoming event from their online-only replacement for the GDC 2020 conference earlier this year, among other digital events remains to be seen. But this summer, perhaps thousands of folks will experience it for themselves — online.