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Interesting Spaces at GDC 2023

We receive a monthly press newsletter from the kind folks running GDC that gives some insight into what exciting events and gatherings are happening in the upcoming show (and post-coverage as well when that time comes).

Here are some of those insights you’ll want to check out if attending GDC 2023, set for March 20-24 next month!

Community Spaces

  • Community Lounges: The GDC community lounges are back in 2023 on the show floor from Wednesday through Friday and feature curated spaces for specific areas of game development to give attendees the chance to delve into topics like game audio, visual arts and design.
    • Game Audio: Featuring acoustic instruments, jam sessions, and more!
    • Visual Arts: Show off your art skills and connect with other artists.
    • Narrative: Collaborate on a story, develop interactive community-driven story maps or simply relax with unique writing tools.
    • Game Design: Push the boundaries of game design and engage in thought-provoking discussions with your fellow designers.
  • IGF Pavilion: All finalists for the Independent Games Festival awards are playable at this showcase on the GDC Expo Floor that celebrates innovation in game development and recognizes some of the best independent game developers of the year.
  • GDC Play: An interactive showcase featuring innovative projects from emerging and independent developers, GDC Play allows attendees to play the games and meet the people who created them in this interactive showcase on the GDC Expo Floor. A selection of games will be designated “Best in Play” at GDC and a few developers will be selected to pitch their game to an opinionated panel of investors and publishers in front of a live audience for a chance to win “Best Pitch” and free passes to the next GDC event.
  • alt.ctrl.GDC: Returning for a ninth year and co-helmed by veteran indie curator John Polson, attendees are invited to play inventive and innovative games using unique, one-of-a-kind controllers and meet the developers behind these uniquely interesting projects. The exhibit will take place from March 22 – 24  and is one of GDC’s most acclaimed community spaces.
  • GDC Arcade Play: Delve into over a dozen classic arcade games in between GDC sessions! This community space is curated by the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) in Oakland, and features their community partner Civic Design Studios. It gives attendees a place to relax, chat, and check out some incredible games that helped shape the industry.
  • Day of the Devs Showcase:  iam8bit and Double Fine are curating a Day of the Devs interactive space that will bring devs and players together for a celebration of cool and exciting unreleased video games. GDC attendees will be able to stop by throughout GDC week to check out the games, chat with the folks that made them and have a nice time.
  • Shut Up & Sit Down: Curated by the keen minds behind tabletop game enthusiast hub Shut Up & Sit Down, all GDC passholders are invited to play the latest and most intriguing tabletop games released this past year in the Shut Up & Sit Down board game lounge, open at various points during GDC week.
GDC 2023 Session Highlights
GDC 2023 will feature sessions from some of the industry’s biggest game studios and companies. A few new notable sessions below:
  • One of the biggest games of 2022 came from an extremely small development team. Cult of the Lamb raced past 1 million copies sold in 10 days and despite being a surprise to some, it was certainly no accident. In a session titled, “Growing an Internet Cult: ‘Cult of the Lamb’s’ Social Strategy,” Jared J. Tan, Devolver Digital’s Community Strategist, will discuss how the development team created meme-able moments and an iconic art-style by thinking about marketing from the start. He’ll detail how he harnessed those elements while blending creative content and social media analytics to grow a culturally relevant gaming brand.
  • In a session titled, “The Future of Game Communities, and How We Avoid It,” longtime Community Manager Kelsey Gamble tracks the evolution of communities from what she’s learned working on everything from game retail community management to the launch of games like Fallout 76, to what we’re beginning to see in the world of NFT game communities. She explores them through the lens of community management theory, and discusses the red flags she’s seen along the way that point to concerns for the future.
  • Playtesting the full experience of your linear or open world story driven game can feel daunting—even more so when trying to evaluate the game with a limited pool of accessibility consumers. This presentation titled, “UX Summit: The Journey of Playtesting ‘God of War Ragnarök’ Accessibility at Scale,” will take you through the journey of tackling these challenges and their accessibility approach and methods with God of War Ragnarök. Sue Pacete, Senior UX Researcher at Sony Interactive Entertainment, will discuss what worked well and things they would do differently in the future.
  • As employees return to work, many companies are exploring a hybrid office, allowing for on-site and remote work. With globalization leading to faster and more reliable access to the internet, hybrid development environments are becoming more feasible with each passing year and yet they present their own unique challenges. This roundtable discussion titled, “Hot Desks to Sweatpants: Hybrid Work Roundtable,” is open to team leaders interested in dissecting how to create and support hybrid working environments. Join veterans and new hybrid team leaders alike to contemplate the challenges and celebrate the successes of this powerful office solution.

Keep watch on our calendar and this news section for further GDC 2023 updates as the event approaches.

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