The Game Developers Conference will spread its events out this year, with some taking place in March as expected and its larger conference taking place in July.

Just wait until GamesBeat’s Jeff Grubb hears about this. He’ll call the Summer GDC Mess. But given the crazy year we have had and keep on having, it’s not unexpected and it’s not so messy as it might be.

“2020 was a singular year in all of our lives. I personally navigated the weird world of having a baby in the middle of a pandemic,” said Katie Stern, the general manager of GDC Events, in a blog post. “And for us as GDC, as an organization that traditionally poured so much into one week of the year, we had to adapt, be agile and modify all of our plans.”

Last year’s GDC shook the industry after it was abruptly canceled in March as the pandemic took over. It was rescheduled as an online event in August.


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Katie Stern is general manager of GDC Events.

Above: Katie Stern is general manager of GDC Events.

Image Credit: GDC

But constraints on travel and in-person gatherings have forced it to adopt a new format in its 35th year. Rather than pack everything into one week, the GDC will spread its events out.

On March 4 and March 5, the GDC Masterclass will take place as a series of one-day and two-day small-group workshops that deliver in-depth training for developers.

Then, on March 15 to March 19, the GDC will have a showcase online. It will be a free-to-attend, all-digital event created to provide the GDC community a chance to come together safely in March. It will feature spotlight lectures, AMAs (ask-me-anything forums) with the people behind some of the industry’s biggest games, interactive panels with renowned game developers, live podcasts, and more.

Then, on July 19 to July 23, the GDC 2021 event will take place as a week-long, multi-track educational and business-focused event online.

Stern said that the group considered an in-person component this year, but it decided that it’s more important to be as safe as possible and focus on delivering the best possible online GDC.

The Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards will take place on July 21. Submissions for the IGF Awards are already in and nominees will be announced in early May.

“We’re also planning to host additional GDC-branded events in the second half of the year to keep the learning and networking going throughout this period of what feels like constant change, so we’ll have more to share on that soon,” Stern said.

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