GDC 2020 Back From the Dead for Three-Day August Event

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San Francisco’s annual Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) is returning this summer after becoming one of the many coronavirus-related tech show cancellations this year. Dubbed “GDC Summer,” the new August-bound event seems to be taking a less formal direction than prior GDC shows, pitching itself as a three-day “celebration of the art, craft and business of game development.”

From August 4-6, the event promises to continue GDC’s tradition of “multi-disciplinary educational and inspirational talks,” but will replace the usual Moscone expo hall with a more freestyle showfloor set for the final two days of the event. GDC has yet to define what exactly this difference entails.

With GDC usually being more of an industry insider meet-up than a consumer-friendly show like E3 (which has also been cancelled), the branding for GDC Summer seems to focus more on accessibility than past years. 

In addition to the event’s standard “high-quality technical content” and “valuable round-table discussions,” GDC Summer will also “host a new series of microtalks and fireside chats, as well as a dedicated space for comprehensive ‘career development’ sessions.” 

Even with this new focus, however, tickets are as pricey as ever, starting at $99 for entrance to the showfloor and $299 for an early reservation conference pass. 

GDC usually takes place annually from March 16 - 20, but the coronavirus-induced absence of key players, like Oculus, Microsoft, and Sony encouraged the show’s organizers to postpone the event. In its stead, GDC has spent this past week hosting a comprehensive suite of free virtual talks on its Twitch channel. Additionally, Sony recently announced PS5 specs on its own blog, a talk initially meant for this year’s GDC.

“GDC Summer will give the game development community a chance to come together in a way that hasn’t currently been possible due to COVID-19,” the event’s organizers said in an announcement last night, along with asserting that the new conference will “retain the same high level of expert-led talks.” 

They also promised to “continue to monitor the latest information from health officials to ensure a safe and compelling event.” 

Michelle Ehrhardt

Michelle Ehrhardt is an editor at Tom's Hardware. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.

  • bit_user
    They're certainly optimistic. I wouldn't bet that travel and event restrictions would be lifted by then.