Another year, another GDC. This time, GDC was back as a regular event. However, this year they also kept the virtual branch of the conference, so those who can’t attend for whatever reason (health issues, budget, travel restrictions) can still attend. Having said this, I need to point out that we needed a pandemic for this event to open a virtual branch for people around the world.
I was able to attend virtually, thanks to some organization that provided free passes to developers in Latin America. This is the third time I attend a virtual GDC, but I think this time the virtual GDC was given less attention, or had less preparation than the previous year, because not all sessions were available to watch online, and some of them had to be watched “on delay”, meaning that the session was not streamed in real time, but rather available at a later time (usually the next day) on the virtual platform. This was a problem if you had questions about the talk, because you’d need to contact the speaker through a different mean after you watch the talk (real-time streamed talks had a chat for questions).
As usual, the sessions covered different topics, from technical topics and business, to more artistic topics. This year they also had some talks related to blockchain games and NFTs, but they were not available in real time so I will have to watch them after, since I am interested on that topic.
One thing I liked is how the event was also open to have speakers stream their presentations rather than being there. This was very useful since, up until 2019, you could only speak at GDC if you went there (covering your own travel and expenses, I might add, since GDC doesn’t offer any kind of monetary incentives to the speakers).
The virtual platform also had this “virtual networking area” that you could join and interact with others. However, I didn’t really go there so I don’t know how it worked.
I hope this virtual branch is kept, and that improves next year. Keeping the virtual GDC is not just good, it’s necessary, and in all honesty it’s somewhat late, if you ask me. For quite a few years the videogames industry has expanded a lot around the world, there are a lot of emerging industries in various countries, but not everybody can afford to go there (for example, a trip to GDC from my country equals 6.25 local monthly minimum wages). The industry, and GDC, talk a lot about inclusivity, but inclusivity also means being open to those who can’t afford to travel and spend one week in one of the most expensive cities of the world.