GDC Showcase is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Here are the different session formats for GDC 2021

So you’re getting ready for the all-digital Game Developers Conference. You’ve got your travel itinerary (bedroom à kitchen à desk), you’ve figured out which pets are allowed on your lap, and you’re ready to learn and connect with other game developers.

But then you might start thinking “what’s this conference going to look like, exactly?”

If you haven’t been following our year of digital events, we’ve got your back. Here’s a quick primer on the different session types at GDC 2021. Read ‘em and get ready for this year’s show!

Lectures, Panels, and Microtalks

Like our traditional Moscone Center-held event, GDC 2021 will be divided into two sections: Summits (which run Monday and Tuesday), and Core Concepts (which run Wednesday through Friday)

During both sections of the conference, you can expect to watch a number of lectures, panels, and microtalks.

In lectures, speakers deliver 30 minute or hour-long presentations, like Kelsey Beachum’s talk about exploration in Outer Wilds or Ming-Lun ‘Allen’ Chou’s presentation about Melee AI in The Last of Us Part II.

In panels, a group of speakers gather to discuss the game industry’s most pertinent topics of the day. How do you do satire in games? What’s the experience of being Black in game audio? How do you make commercial indie games while working in academia?

And in microtalks, a number of speakers present rapid-fire, shorter talks (that can still be just as impactful as longer sessions). The always-popular Sexy Microtalks are making a return, and you can expect more on the schedule in the coming months.

At each of these three session types, you can expect to follow along with the chat function on the Swapcard platform. Got questions for the speakers? Don’t wait ‘til the end of the presentation to ask---just drop your question in chat, and they’ll be on hand to answer it live!

With the all-digital GDC format, you don’t have to worry about waiting for a talk to go on GDC Vault if you happen to miss a session you wanted to attend. All lectures, panels, and microtalks will be available on Swapcard for the rest of the show after their initial airing.


Roundtables are live conversations that let you, the attendee, participate in the GDC experience. These moderated discussions offer you the chance to talk with your peers about different aspects of the game development experience.

Whether you’re a game artist, narrative designer, or a member of the Indigenous game development community, you can find a group of your peers to connect with and discuss how to further craft of game development.

Space is limited at the roundtables, so if you’d like to join, please do so with the intent to participate.

Special Events

The GDC Organizers are pleased to say that this year will mark the return of several special events, including the Independent Games Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards.

These events are being specially adapted for the all-digital format, and we can’t wait to share more details on them as we get closer to the show.

If you want to know more about the different types of sessions you can find at GDC, be sure to check out our full explainer on the GDC website.

And don’t forget to register for GDC today to get the best price on your pass for this all-digital show!

For more details on GDC 2021 visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via FacebookTwitter, or RSS.


Connecting the Global Game Development Community