A look at everything we saw at Game Developers Conference 2022
It’s been a long time since many players in the gaming industry had the chance to come together for a major live event. Despite the challenges and tribulations of the past few years, Game Developers Conference 2022 was an opportunity for many to come together. The week-long event offered gaming industry players the chance to learn from leaders and network among peers. The event took place March 21-25 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
8 bit/digital was there to cover the event and get insight from industry professionals. After a week of learning from industry experts and meeting new people, here are the highlights of our time at GDC.
The exhibition featured a number of studios and publishers who wanted to share their work while looking for new talent. Each booth allowed guests to learn about the company and the projects they’re working on or sample a demo of their next game. Here are some of the booths and setups that caught my eye during the week .
Unit games is responsible for creating, maintaining and licensing one of the most popular engines in the industry. During GDC week, they showcased the many new titles that were created using the Unity engine. The developers also had the chance to chat with the Unity team to learn more about the engine.
The Museum of Arts and Digital Entertainment (Le MADE) presented some of the classics at GDC. Guests could enjoy classic titles like dungeon for the Atari, the SNES version of Wolfenstein 3D, Where team up to play a game of Halo: scope for the Xbox 360. At the same time, guests could learn about The MADE’s work in preserving video game history and culture while finding a way to contribute.
Micro-Star International (MSI) is one of the leaders in the gaming PC market. At GDC, they were there to showcase their laptops and other gear ideal for developers. Ideally, these are PCs and laptops that have been designed for those working in the creative space such as artists, animators, and game developers.
Limited edition games is a distributor specializing in the release of digital or retro games on modern physical media. They were present during the GDC to contact other studios and present their work. They also had a strong presence at the GDC gift shop.
The Digital Employee Organizing Campaign (CODE-CWA) worked to organize tech and video game workers. They were there to raise awareness of the need to unionize as a way to better protect their rights and ensure fair contracts. They also raised awareness of union-busting tactics used by big business.
Original Player Life (OG Life) uses the Metaverse and the power of blockchain to build health and wellness awareness. Built using the Unreal Engine, the concept allows players to create their own world to channel their creativity. While it is currently in beta phase, there are plans to bring it to the world of virtual reality. Those who wanted to know more could chat with CEO Brandon Sivret while exploring the demo that was present.
Indie Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards
The Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards provided an opportunity for the industry to recognize the best works of 2021. Here’s a look at all the winners from both awards ceremonies.
Indie Games Festival Award Winners
Best student game – Live Adventure
Excellence in Visual Arts – Papetura
Sound Excellence – Registration
Nuovo Award – Memory card
Design Excellence – Registration
Excellence in Storytelling – Registration
Seumas McNally Award – Registration
Game Developers Choice Award
Ambassador Award –Steven Spohn
Life Achievement Award – Yuji Horii
best start – Valheim
best sound – Unpacking
Innovation Award – Unpacking
Better technology – Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Social Impact Award – Boyfriend Dungeon
Best Visual Arts – Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Best Story – Psychonauts 2
Better Design – It takes two
Audience Award – Valheim
Game of the Year – Encryption
Offsite and After Party Mixers
Given the importance of GDC, there were plenty of off-site after-parties and mixers at checkout. For anyone wanting to break into the gaming industry, these are the places to go just to meet the right person. Here are a few that I was able to check out:
Tripwire GDC 2022 Mixer was held at the Natoma Cabana (located at 90 Natoma Street) on March 22. This free event allowed GDC guests to mingle and network with the team behind hit games like man eater and Knighthood II. Food and beverages were provided for all participants.
Meeting of writers and narrative design was an opportunity for those in the industry or with an interest in writing and narrative design to network. This was a free event held at Yerba Buena Gardens.
Ending the week was the Next Level Mixer + After Party at Temple SF, one of the Game Developers Conference’s most popular events. The mixer allowed guests to mingle while signing up for a panel featuring Raj Ramayya, CEO of Strawberry Hill Music and industry legend, and Jonathon Troughton, CEO of FramePlay. The After Party was all about hitting the dance floor and having a good time.
Did you attend the Game Developers Conference 2022? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Warning: GDC provided me with press references for the week.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides insight into the gaming community and industry in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Stan Rezaee is the founder and publisher of 8Bit/Digi. He’s a Bay Area journalist and gamer who’s been writing about the medium for over five years.