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These GDC 2022 Sessions Dive Into the Ethics of the Metaverse, Web3, and More

Web3 is one of the newest—and sometimes divisive—additions to the game industry. For those curious about this developing segment of the game business, GDC 2022 has brought in experts to weigh in on the pros and cons of the metaverse and more.

The Game Developers Conference is hosting a series of sessions about Web3 and the metaverse—giving game devs the opportunity to explore the subjects while also shining a light on ongoing issues. 

For those wanting to explore the ethical concerns impacting these emerging technologies, and ways companies are looking to address them, there's "Ethics and Governance of XR and the Metaverse," along with "How Web3 Games Work (and Sadly Don't)."

In the Future Realities Summit, "Keep Redlining OUT of the Metaverse" dives into the importance of having a diverse team behind the scenes in the development of metaverse platforms and games. And in the Free-to-Play Summit, a panel will discuss the complex issue of blockchain and crypto-based games in "Blockchain, NFTS, Play-To-Earn…Is It Real or a Farce?"

Here's a few sessions happening at GDC (more are available in Session Viewer):

Core Sessions

A Brave New (Virtual) World: Ethics and Governance of XR and the Metaverse—Friday, March 25 from 10:00 to 11:00am PT

"This session brings together experts from academia, digital rights activists and industry leaders to shed light on these nuances, and talk the difficult talk: Who will control the Metaverse?"

How Web3 Games Work (and Sadly Don't)—Wednesday, March 23 from 5:00 to 6:00pm PT 

"Web3 games have exploded in popularity as of late, commanding impressive valuations from powerful investors. At the same time, we've seen collapsing pyramid schemes that acquired users with the promise of playing to earn (p2e). The criticism of NFTs and tokens has been growing, given their environmental impact, social gatekeeping and unwarranted speculative values. This talk will explore these failings and at times show that they are often much worse than previously thought.

By contrast, there are projects without marketing budgets being built by truly passionate independent developers and technologists that have decided not to monetize in the same ways. Instead, they are finding novel ways to create and share value amongst themselves. This talk will shed some light on these hidden gems and the ethos that motivates their communities to reshape game development."

What the Fungible? A Developer Discussion on NFTs—Wednesday, March 23 frim 9:00am to 10:00am PT

"Are we empowering players to make real decisions about games? Allowing them to speculate on new projects and get in first on the next big hit? Or simply allowing a new technology to enhance how we engage with our audience? And how bad are NFTs for the environment?

We have all these pertinent questions, and more! Join us for a topical and (hopefully friendly) debate designed to unpack these questions and enlighten us all."

'SKYWEAVER': Learnings from Launching a Trading Card Game on Web3—Thursday, March 24 from 2:00 to 2:30pm PT

"In this talk, Director of Product Philippe Castonguay covers the main principles of balancing non-rotating cards, and designing a sustainable player-owned economy that rewards players and developers."

Summit Sessions

Future Realities Summit: Metaverse Games: State of Play and Opportunities—Monday, March 21 from 9:30 to 10:00am PT 

"Tech companies are working hard to create the metaverse, but a number of games already offer their version of it. This talk will assess and quantifiably rank the main games contenders by looking at what makes a successful metaverse, and how companies both inside and outside gaming can benefit from it."

Future Realities Summit: Keep Redlining OUT of the Metaverse—Monday, March 21 from 3:00 to 3:30pm PT

"In early 2021, Niantic launched the Black Developers Initiative (BDI) to identify and support Black-led developers and game teams to increase representation. This is one program focused on helping more Black developers have opportunities to build and showcase their work, but there is so much more we can and should do to ensure the people building the real-world metaverse are more representative of the people who live in the real-world metaverse. But Niantic cannot do this work alone, not even close. We need the entire industry to help keep redlining and other bad practices out of the real-world metaverse."

Free-to-Play Summit: From Identity to Innovation: The Keys to Creation on Roblox—Tuesday, March 22 from 9:30 to 10:30am PT

"In this two-part session, Roblox VP of Product Bjorn Book-Larsson will present on the next generation of Avatar technology on Roblox. He will explore what the future of our digital identities looks like and the latest technologies built to enhance experiences and monetization.

Next, Roblox VP of Developer Relations Matthew Curtis will welcome three developers from top studios on Roblox, Splitting Point Studios, and Sonar Studios to discuss some of the most timely elements game developers and brands, who are looking to make their mark in the metaverse, must consider when building an experience on a global, virtual platform like Roblox."

Free-to-Play Summit: Ethical Play To Earn Businesses for Decent Human Beings—Tuesday, March 22 from 4:40 to 5:10pm PT

"Play-to-earn gamings (NFTs) face sharp critiques from industry talent and leaders who see the space as scammy, harmful to the environment, and the worst sort of post-capitalist exploitation in games. Those like myself, who have embraced play-to-earn gaming for over two years, see the potential of play-to-earn games and NFTs to expand the accessibility of gaming, to once again bestow value on the art we produce. Walk through the environmental, vaporware, and exploitative concerns play-to-earn games face, and offer potential solutions and paths forward critical to play-to-earn and NFTs reaching their full potential."

Free-To-Play Summit: Blockchain, NFTS, Play-To-Earn…Is It Real or a Farce?—Tuesday, March 22 from 5:30 to 6:30pm PT

"Join us for a panel discussion on blockchain and crypto games. We will discuss the current state of this technology and how it is being used in games today and will also look to the future on where we think this technology will go."

More sessions are available in Session Viewer. Of course, the only way to experience them is to sign up today. Register for GDC 2022! 

GDC returns in-person to San Francisco, March 21-25—registration is open! For more information on GDC 2022, including our virtual options, be sure to visit our website and follow the #GDC22 hashtag on social media.

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GDC, gdc22, Game Developers Conference, metaverse, web3

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