The Game Developers Conference is upon us once more, and Develop has compiled a comprehensive guide to help you on your way

Guide to GDC 2014: All you need to know

Next week, the global games industry’s attention will be focused on San Francisco as developers, publishers, platform holders and more flock to the Moscone Center for the Game Developers Conference 2014.

It’s both business as usual and a time for something fresh as games firms share their early experiences with the new generation of home consoles and the ongoing rise of smartphone, tablet and free-to-play games.

This year’s GDC promises to be just as special as its forebears and general manager Meggan Scavio expects it will continue to offer the opportunities that have made the event such a key staple in the gaming calendar.

“GDC is the one event that brings together the entire breadth of the video games community in one location,” she tells Develop. “It’s the place where developers share best practices in an open environment.

“Attendees will learn new processes, discover new technologies, hear about what has and hasn’t worked from their peers, and meet future business partners – there is nothing to lose here.”

It’s a hectic week for those attending, but fortunately Develop has prepared the ultimate show guide to ensure you are properly prepared.

Over the next few days, you’ll find all of the essential facts and times to ensure your visit to San Francisco is a fruitful one, as well as our picks of the most promising panels and sessions throughout next week. Plus, we have tips from across the industry on how to get the most out of GDC.

The organisers have their own favourites, with Scavio eagerly anticipating the show’s first night.

“I’m always excited to attend the IGF and Game Developers Choice Awards on the Wednesday night of GDC. It’s open to all and feels like a true celebration of our industry,” she says.

“I’m also really looking forward to our expanded Advocacy Track. Last year’s sessions proved to be some of the most intense, thought-provoking talks of the year.

“The can’t-miss-panel of the year definitely goes to the second annual #1ReasonToBe, moderated by the amazing Brenda Romero. Make sure to check that one out.”

The Facts

Moscone Convention Center, 747 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94130

Monday, March 17th to Friday, March 21st

Summits, Tutorials and Developer Days:
Monday and Tuesday, 10am to 5.30pm

Main conference:
Wednesday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Friday, 10am to 3.30pm

GDC Expo:
Wednesday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Friday, 10am to 3pm

Business Center:
Wednesday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Friday, 10am to 3pm

Career Center:
Wednesday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Friday, 10am to 3pm

GDC Play Pavilion:
Wednesday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm; Friday, 10am to 3pm

How to register
Registration is open from Sunday, March 16th, 3pm to Friday, March 21st, 3.30pm. For live assistance, call 415 947 6926 or 866 535 8997, or email

On-site passes

  • All Access: $2,100
  • Main Conference: $1,475
  • Summits, Tutorials & Bootcamps: $895
  • Audio Track: $895
  • Independent Games Summit: Sold Out
  • GDC Expo: $250
  • Student Expo: $75 (Available Friday only)

GDC in numbers

GDC takes over San Francisco’s Moscone Centre for five days

More than 23,000 industry professionals are expected to attend

Over 300 games companies will showcase their wares at the GDC Expo

The main conference is split into eight focused tracks

More than 400 sessions are scheduled for the week

Two full days of tutorials and workshops will be spread across the Monday and Tuesday

There will also be eight specialised summits held, which include lectures, panels and post-mortems

Get Ahead

The official GDC mobile app is available on iOS and Android, with a HTML5 version at The app enables attendees to quickly access and manage their meeting schedule, browse the expo floorplan, and search listings for attendees, speakers and exhibitors.

Flash Forward
Held at 9.30am, Wednesday, GDC’s sneak peek at the week ahead returns – this time with an extended introduction by PS4 architect Mark Cerny and former Epic Games president Mike Capps. At the core of Flash Forward are the rapid fire pitches as key speakers, selected by the GDC Advisory Board, telling you why you should make time for their session later in the week.

Keep your browser pointed towards for all the latest news, interviews and announcements from this year’s Game Developers Conference.

Summits and Tracks

During the show, March 17th and 18th will host eight specialised summits exploring specific aspects of games development. This year’s summits will be dedicated to:

  • AI
  • Free-to-Play Design & Business
  • Game Narrative
  • GDC Education
  • Independent Games
  • Localisation
  • QA
  • Smartphone and Tablet Games

The sessions of the main conference are classed under eight dedicated tracks:

  • Advocacy
  • Audio
  • Business, Marketing & Management
  • Design
  • Monetisation
  • Production
  • Programming
  • Visual Arts

Other Events

GDC 2014 will encompass a number of other events throughout the week. Here are the highlights:

Independent Games Festival
The IGF Pavilion will be showcasing the most promising independent games as part of the GDC Expo from Wednesday to Friday, with the best honoured at an awards ceremony on the Wednesday night.

The Game Developers Choice Awards
Held on the Wednesday night in the GDC Ballroom, the awards recognises creativity, artistry and innovative genius across 13 different categories, including audio, design, narrative and more.

GDC Play
Running from Wednesday through Friday, GDC Play gives up-and-coming developers the chance to show off their games to countless industry professionals, with plenty of business matchmaking opportunities for attendees.

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