Game Developers Conference Draws Record-breaking 28,000 Attendees to San Francisco

April 10, 2018

In its 26thyear, UBM Tech’s Game Developers Conference just keeps getting bigger and better than ever, with a record-breaking 28,000 attendees checking out the packed showfloor March 19-23 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. 

The event, billed as “the world’s largest and longest-running event serving professionals dedicated to the art and science of making games,” also had approximately 500 exhibitors and plenty of new bells and whistles to excite and engage attendees this year. 

“GDC really is about the business of making games,” said GDC’s Katie Stern, who oversees the show. “The typical attendee is not just developers, it’s visual artists, writers, music and business folks. Really, the full eco-system.” 

She added that this year there was a major focus to examine the way things may have been done in the past at the show and find out from attendees what they felt needed to be improved. 

“We wanted to revitalize it a little,” Stern said. 

A post-show survey was sent out after the 2017 event and attendees pointed to a few things that needed a refresh, such as they had difficulty navigating the show with Moscone split into a few different buildings and the pass structure for the show was complicated. 

This year presented even more of a challenge with a portion of the venue under major construction. 

As a result, there were fewer meter boards and other traditional signage, and more things were up off the floor so they were visible from various viewpoints. The pass structure also was streamlined so that attendees could more clearly choose a pass for what they needed to accomplish. 

In addition, new elements to the show were introduced such as the GDC pixelated festival map that was a fun way to show where everything was being held. 

There also was another huge map of the world at which people could grab a red sticker and post where they were visiting the show from, displaying for all to see just how international GDC really is – 32 percent of attendees come from outside of the United States. 

Stern said of the showfloor that was filled with all kinds of games, AR and VR, among a myriad of other gaming products, “We have had really good traffic patterns and density all week throughout the entire hall.” 

She added that the largest growth segment at the show were independent developers and non-gaming companies, like Uber, who developers may work for when they are getting their feet on the ground in the gaming business. 

Besides the showfloor, there also are 500 education sessions, as well as plenty of opportunities to network like at the Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards (GDCA) and business matchmaking also was available. 

“True to its name, the Game Developers Conference is an event for everyone in the games industry, from the aspiring game makers in the indie showcases, to the legendary creators in the classic games post-mortems and everyone in-between,” Stern said. 

She added, “It also helps spotlight the best games of the year, the most promising indie teams, the most advanced technology, and the most pressing social issues as reflected by the industry as a whole.”

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.