San Francisco

Game Developers Pour Into San Francisco for GDC 2019

The annual conference has shifted over the years from a focus on blockbuster console games to the world of indie and mobile games, and the tools used to build them

What to Know

  • The annual Game Developers' Conference had a record 28,000 attendees last year
  • GDC is an industry-focused conference for the art of game-making, and the tools that make it possible
  • Major players including Google and Microsoft use GDC as a chance to convince developers to build games for their platforms

It's a gaming conference unlike any other — not focused on fans, streamers or eSports superstars, but on the other heroes of the video game world: the artists and engineers who build the games themselves.

First held in a San Jose living room in 1988, the Game Developers' Conference now takes over all of San Francisco's Moscone Center for a full week each year, playing host to some 28,000 professionals from all corners of the gaming world.

Jonathan Bloom recaps the first day of the 2019 Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco.

Though it was once the conference where Bill Gates unveiled the original XBOX design in a high-profile keynote address, GDC has shifted over the years toward a focus on what's next in the gaming world: indie developers, mobile games, and the question of how either will make money in a world where players expect games that are free to download and play.

The Game Developers’ Conference is packed with big technology announcements, but c’mon, folks — this event is about games. Here are some of the coolest exhibits on the show floor that aren’t about making headlines — they’re just about having fun. Jonathan Bloom reports.

This year, along with a sprawling expanse of new VR technology, GDC will feature discussions of the latest efforts to put big, complex games on tiny, lightweight devices — including real-time streaming services for console-style gameplay on your phone, and advances in 3D rendering aimed at making lifelike human characters that are indistinguishable from real people. You can also expect plenty of news about eSports, and new ways developers can make their games friendly for spectators — or make money off the competition.

GDC runs from Monday, March 18 through Friday, March 22, 2019, in San Francisco. Watch this space for updates from the conference as it happens!

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