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The Making of GDC 2019: Figuring out which pass is right for you

[In this "Making of GDC" blog post, Game Developers Conference GM Katie Stern discusses the content available to GDC attendees and offers a quick overview of how the show's different passes work.]

It occurred to me that GDC 2019 registration opens in a few days, and while the pass structure didn’t change much from last year, people could probably benefit from a little “Making of GDC” action to better understand the lay of the land.

The GDC audience is as diverse as the content it offers, and has numerous pass options to reflect that. Before I dive into which pass gets you into what, a quick primer on the structure of the week:

Monday & Tuesday: Summits and Tutorials; VRDC

Summits: These focused one- and two-day programs cover specific topics, such as: AI, Community Management, Educators, Independent Games, Game Narrative, Mobile, and UX. Think deep focus on a narrow segment.

VRDC: Two tracks covering immersive games and entertainment including AR, VR and MR experiences.

Tutorials: Focused one- and two-day deep dives into key game development topics including Art Direction, Animation, Board Game Design, Discoverability, Game Design, Math, Production, Technical Art, and Visual Effects (VFX).

Wednesday – Friday: Conference & Expo

Conference: These sessions touch on a broad range of game development disciplines, such as: Design, Visual Arts, Programming, Production & Team Management, Business & Marketing, Audio, Advocacy, and Vision Tracks, plus Classic Game Postmortems.

Expo: Three days of exhibits featuring 550+ companies including leading technology companies, game development product and service providers, and indie game showcases.

The basic structure of GDC’s passes effectively offers access to session content in a few ways:

  1. Monday & Tuesday;
  2. Wednesday – Friday;
  3. All week.

Access to the expo on Wednesday – Friday is included in all of the pass options.

I encourage you to check out the passes and prices grid to compare and contrast access levels to find your perfect fit.

GDC also has specialty passes for game audio professionals, Indie game devs and students.

Pro Tips!

  1. The Indie Games Summit pass is limited quantity and sells out quickly!
  2. Audio passes get you access to all of the quality audio content Wednesday through Friday, but doesn’t get you into all of the other content or the Audio-related Tutorials or Summits on Monday/Tuesday.
  3. Student expo pass is only good for access to the Expo and Game Career Seminar on Friday only. Plan your trip accordingly!

Last, but certainly not least, there are alternative ways to gain access to GDC if the purchase price is a barrier. GDC partners with numerous organizations to host a variety of scholarship programs geared toward creating access for underrepresented segments of the industry, offers a low-income pass lottery and hosts the Conference Associate program. Info all of these programs are updated throughout the fall season, so check back regularly!

Hopefully you now have a little more insight into how to GDC’s passes are structured and are armed to make the best selection to maximize your GDC experience. I am so excited to see you all in March!

For more details on the submission process or GDC 2019 in general visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.


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