The 2017 Game Developers Conference, the world’s largest and longest-running event serving professionals dedicated to the art and science of making games, concluded a successful week of networking, learning and inspiration.
In total, last week’s conference hosted more than 26,000 professional attendees, 500 lectures, panels, tutorials and roundtable discussions, and 570 companies exhibiting in San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
GDC 2017 also marked a return of the Virtual Reality Developers Conference, which debuted at GDC 2016. That event, which runs concurrent to GDC, again fostered key learnings and insights into the flourishing field of virtual and augmented reality.
Most importantly, GDC and VRDC will be returning to the Moscone Center in San Francisco from Monday, March 19 to Friday, March 23, 2018. Call for submissions for both events will open this summer.
This year, developers of some of the industry’s most acclaimed new titles took to the stage to present an inside look into the making of their games. Pokemon Go’s development team, Niantic, took a rare opportunity to describe turning their landmark augmented reality title into a worldwide phenomenon.
Nintendo put their expertly-honed design skills on display with their session, “Change and Constant: Breaking Conventions with 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild'” - now available to view on YouTube. In it, they showed off simple 2D prototypes they created to test out the new gameplay mechanics, these experiments ultimately yielded one of the most acclaimed games of all time.
2017 marked a year of transition for an industry adjusting to mid-cycle hardware releases, with the recent release of the portable Nintendo Switch, the PlayStation 4 Pro, and the first year of VR hardware availability to consumers. As always, GDC 2017 featured essential speaking sessions that illuminated the way for developers learning the ins and outs of the new platforms. Among the esteemed roster of speakers were developers from Nintendo, Electronic Arts/DICE, and multiplatform VR developer Owlchemy Labs.
GDC 2017 was also an opportunity for legendary game designers to host retrospectives of their influential titles with the Classic Game Postmortems sessions for Seaman presented by creator Yutaka “Yoot” Saito, Oregon Trail presented by co-inventor Don Rawitsch, Sid Meier’s Civilization presented by creators Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley, and Deus Ex, presented by game director Warren Spector.
The annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) took place on the night of Wednesday, March 1. The 2017 IGF Awards honored some of the best independent games of the year, with Blendo Games’ Quadrilateral Cowboy earning this year’s Seumas McNally Grand Prize and accompanying $30,000 award. The title also earned the Excellence in Design Award and its $3,000 award.
Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch took home the award for Game of the Year at the 17th annual Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA). The multiplayer shooter also received the award for Best Design. An archive of the IGF and GDCA ceremonies can be viewed on the GDC Twitch channel.
The bustling Expo Floor in Moscone’s South Hall featured a diverse roster of more than 570 companies exhibiting their hottest products, services, technologies and talents. From industry giants like Google, Sony, Microsoft and Amazon, to influential game developers like Epic Games, Insomniac Games, Hi-Rez Studios, Oculus, Valve, Unity Technologies, and hundreds of others.
The Moscone North Hall housed the IGF Pavilion which featured all of the finalists for the IGF Awards, and the playable alt.ctrl.GDC demos which showcased games using unconventional controllers and alternative control schemes. Returning this year were the GDC Play Pavilions which are special areas for emerging developers, allowing them display their games to key distributors, publishers, press and investors in attendance.
In addition to the Expo Floors, GDC hosted a variety of Interactive Spaces throughout the week. Independent developers and some of the latest indie games were featured in the GDC Train Jam and Mild Rumpus areas, a special edition of Double Fine’s “Day of the Devs,” and the Indie MEGABOOTH showcase.
For fans of tabletop board games, ”Shut Up and Sit Down” hosted a selection of the best board games of the year for all attendees to enjoy. This year also introduced Art Boss from iam8bit, which served as a showcase for all forms of art created during the production of a videogame.
For additional information about GDC and VRDC@GDC, visit the GDC website. The GDC Vault website will offer access to a wide variety of GDC and VRDC@GDC 2017 lectures and sessions in the coming days and weeks, including speaker slides, synchronized video and presentations for select sponsor lectures, as well as a broad range of conference videos.
GDC All Access Pass holders and individual Vault subscribers will get access to hundreds of video sessions from this and previous GDC shows. Select content from GDC 2017 will also be posted to the official GDC YouTube channel. Official photos are available via the GDC Flickr account.