Jan 24, 2023 - Technology

Game Developers Conference organizers expect more attendees, less crypto

Giant letters G, D and C displayed in a convention center

A sign at GDC 2022. Photo: Axios

Organizers of this year’s Game Developers Conference (March 20-24) are expecting about 24,000 attendees this year, up from last year but down from pre-pandemic totals.

Driving the news: GDC 2023 will come the closest the show has to its pre-COVID-19 incarnation.

  • The show, which has long run out of the Moscone Center in San Francisco, was not held in person in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
  • The expected shortfall from pre-pandemic attendance, GDC show-runners tell Axios, reflects a diminished appetite for attending shows seen across multiple fields, including the recent Consumer Electronics Show.

Details: Speakers will be in person, and virtual attendance will not be supported — a decision that has been criticized by those who found virtual access more inclusive for those physically unable to go to the show.

  • But GDC planners say they heard from attendees who said sessions with a mix of virtual and physical presence were frustrating for some attendees of both types and that, instead, GDC will also hold a virtual event later this year.
  • Attendees of the in-person event will be required to present proof of vaccination or show a negative COVID test result.

Big talks slated for the show include:

Changes: This year’s show will include an overt focus on sessions designed to help developers build their careers.

  • It’ll also include the usual summits on audio, indie games and more, though a track on esports has been dropped.
  • Organizers say the number of non-sponsored talks on Web3/blockchain gaming, which proliferated at GDC 2022, are down this year. But there will be a new, fully-sponsored Web3 gaming summit on March 20 and 21, contained in one area for attendees to approach or avoid.

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