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GDC 2023 Session Guide for Business, Marketing, and Community Management

Finding the best ways to market and sell your games can make all the difference. Business and Marketing professionals heading to the Game Developers Conference: This Session Guide and Walkthrough will help you make the most of your GDC 2023

In our Business and Marketing track, gain insight into game industry trends, identify business opportunities and partners, and learn new strategies for marketing games.

The track includes sessions from: Community Management Summit.

Sign Up For GDC 2023 Now

The 2023 Game Developers Conference features hundreds of sessions—covering nearly every discipline, topic, and focus that matters to game developers today. It can be hard to choose! That's why we've created this helpful guide. Head here to view all previous GDC 2023 session guides.

It features some standout sessions, panels, and events dedicated to helping your career and company growth efforts. In addition, we've got tips on making the most of your GDC, and links to GDC Vault videos and Game Developer articles that will help you get pumped for GDC 2023.

Be sure to visit our Session Viewer for a full list of Business and Marketing talks at GDC 2023 and get started on prepping that schedule. For those wanting the option to experience every business and marketing session at GDC 2023, be sure to register for an All-Access Pass

Core Session Picks for: Business & Marketing

Collaborative Curiosity: Crafting the Pre-Release Community for 'TUNIC'
Harris Foster (Senior Community Manager, Finji Co, LLC)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 22
Time: 10:30 am - 11:00 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "Harris Foster, Senior Community Manager of Finji, breaks down the philosophy, creation, and impact of the TUNIC press-only Discord server, a space that proved to be a powerful asset in TUNIC's mystery-focused PR campaign."

Defiant in Life and Death: What Happens After You Fail?
Morgan Jaffit (Founder, Defiant Development)

Location: Room 2014, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 22
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "Founder Morgan Jaffit explores the rise and fall of the award-winning Australian studio Defiant Development, and the emotional toll of its 2019 closure."

Define Your Audience Now, Not Later
Cassandra Hoglund (Warcraft Mobile Social Media Manager, Blizzard Entertainment)

Location: Room 3016, West Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 22
Time: 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "Learn the basics of audience-defining methodology for some of the most common indie dev genre umbrellas and why, if your team doesn't already have a finely tuned audience definition, you should."

Growing an Internet Cult: 'Cult of the Lamb's' Social Strategy
Jared J. Tan (Community Strategist, Devolver Digital)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall
Date: Thursday, March 23
Time: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "Jared J. Tan, Devolver Digital's Community Strategist, will discuss how the development team created meme-able moments and an iconic art-style by thinking about marketing from the start."

Finding Your Voice on TikTok
Grace Curtis (PR & Marketing Assistant, Future Friends Games)

Location: Room 2001, West Hall
Date: Thursday, March 23
Time: 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "Memes! Dancing! Louis Theroux rap remixes! TikTok has become an indispensable part of indie game marketing in the past few years, but it can also be overwhelming. Is it possible to succeed while still being you?"

Planning Marketing Beats That Increase Wishlists and Won't Disrupt Development
Alex Van Lepp (Marketing Director, Graffiti Games)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall
Date: Friday, March 24
Time: 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass
Description: "This talk discusses the marketing activities that yield the most wishlists—by sharing historical data on what has been the most successful for Graffiti Games' released and upcoming games."

Summits Session Picks for: Business & Marketing

Community Management Summit: A Discourse on Discourse: Understanding Fandom and Online Communities
Bria Davis (Community Director, The Game Band)

Location: Room 3002, West Hall
Date: Monday, March 20
Time: 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
Description: "Deconstruct the history and behaviors of modern fandom, toxicity, and marginalization with Bria Davis, Community Director at The Game Band, as she unpacks lessons learned from managing the cultural event of Blaseball."

Community Management Summit: Play With Your Audience: Enhancing Your Social Strategy Through Theater
Catherine Litvaitis (Communications Manager, Armor Games Studios)

Location: Room 3002, West Hall
Date: Monday, March 20
Time: 10:50 am - 11:20 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
Description: "What is a brand voice if not a character created to market your game? Believe it or not, social media management and acting have more in common than one would think."

Community Management Summit: Give Your Players A Voice: They'll Give You A Game
Celia Zimmermann (SoMe Community Manager, SYBO)

Location: Room 3002, West Hall
Date: Monday, March 20
Time: 3:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
Description: "What content and tools do social media and community managers use to amplify the voices of their communities to support teams and help keep the game running? It's all about communication, collaboration, and influence."

5 Tips for Making the Most of Your GDC

1. Join a speed networking session: Our talks and panels are amazing, but be sure to bookmark at least one speed networking session during your time at GDC. They're a great way to network with like-minded professionals and industry colleagues. More info on these sessions to come. 

2. Meet up in the Connect Lounge: The GDC 2023 Expo Floor features hundreds of booths and exhibitors—along with a dedicated networking space where attendees can schedule meetings (through Swapcard, once available) with prospective clients or employees. Be sure to also stop by the GDC Sales Suite to see how you can promote your business at GDC 2024!

3. Relax in our community spaces: It's time to rejoice: Community spaces are returning to GDC 2023! Not only are they a place to unwind during the day, they're also the perfect spot to network with industry colleages and prospective employers. Head to our Floor Plan to see our community spaces throughout the Expo Floor, including interactive spaces for certain disciplines and the GDC Play Lounge. 

4. Get food recs from an SF ambassador: Trying to find something to eat in between sessions? Keep an eye out for the city’s official Welcome Ambassadors–in their signature bright orange jackets, with the words “Welcome Ambassador” written on the back. They'll be hanging around GDC and may have recommendations on interesting spots to grab breakfast or lunch.

5. Follow GDC on social media: Marketing professionals should make sure to tune into GDC's FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and Mastodon to keep an eye on the coolest marketing trends happening at GDC 2023. We'll be on the floor throughout the event highlighting amazing spots and exhibitors. Who knows: Maybe yours will make it on the list!

Watch and Read

VIDEO: A 'Chicory' Marketing and PR Postmortem: Rebekah Saltsman (GDC 2022)

VIDEO: Everything I Learned About Community Management I Learned From 'Neopets': Catherine Litvaitis (GDC 2022)

VIDEO: Social Media Deep Dive: 'Among Us' TikTok Strategy: Victoria Tran (GDC 2022)

ARTICLE: Why is games development so expensive?: Liam Deane

ARTICLE: Sony's Shawne Benson explains how Stray became a perfect third-party pick: Bryant Francis

Watch more Business and Marketing talks on GDC Vault here

This is the latest in our series of Session Guides for GDC 2023, with recommendations for sessions, events, networking opportunities, and more. Head here to view all previous GDC 2023 session guides.

Of course, the only way to see these sessions, and so much more, is to sign up for GDC! 

Register for GDC 2023 Here

We can’t wait to see you at GDC 2023, taking place March 20-24, 2023 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Head here for information on booking a hotel and other travel inquiries, and follow the #GDC23 hashtag for the latest news and updates for this year’s exciting event.

GDC returns to San Francisco this March 20-24, 2023, and registration is now open! For more information, be sure to visit our website and follow the #GDC23 hashtag on social media.

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