The Game Developers Conference 2014 drew a record 24,000 attendees to San Francisco last week, according to show organizer UBMTech Game Network. That attendance is up about 9 percent from a year ago and reflects the growing number of indie game makers in the era of digital games.
This year’s conference featured more than 400 sessions from speakers like BioShock Infinite creator Ken Levine and Epic Games Tim Sweeney. I went for the whole week and was struck by how many of the speakers mentioned the mobile game Flappy Bird, a worldwide hit made by a single game developer in Vietnam.
The conference will return to San Francisco’s Moscone Center next year on March 2 to March 6.
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The event featured news such as Sony’s revelation of its virtual reality headset, dubbed Project Morpheus, and Oculus VR’s release of a new, better-performing virtual reality development kit. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer defended his company’s Xbox One launch strategy and praised the launch of the multiplayer sci-fi shooter game Titanfall.
The conference stepped up its focus on social advocacy issues, such as the representation of race, gender, and sexuality in games. Adam Orth talked about the toxicity of Internet mobs who jump on game developers on social media.
It also had a lot of classic game postmortems like Yu Suzuki’s retrospective on his epic console game Shenmue, and Eugene Jarvis reminiscing on the creation of the Robotron: 2084 arcade game.
Returning this year was the “#1ReasonToBe” panel, which featured women who shared their experiences about breaking into the game business and why they still work in it. Almost 350 companies showed their products on the show floor and the Videogame History Museum showed retro game machines such as its “The History of Nintendo” exhibit.
Lucas Pope, the creator of Papers, Please, won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize award at the Independent Games Festival and its associated $30,000 grand prize. At the Game Developers Choice Awards, Naughty Dog won Game of the Year for The Last of Us on the PlayStation 3. Videos of the show will appear here.
Check this link for our coverage of the GDC 2014.