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In lieu of a live show, GDC takes its developer sessions to Twitch

When this year’s Game Developer’s Conference was unceremoniously postponed over coronavirus outbreak fears, it threw a lot of wrenches at people’s calendars. But the postponement also meant the loss of GDC’s most valuable assets – hours and hours of lengthy sessions from some of the biggest names in the biz. But losing the Moscone Centre doesn’t mean those talks need to be gone for good. This week, GDC announced GDC Virtual Talks – a live-streamed line-up of developer sessions free to view from your own home.

While not quite as pressing as the very real problem of developers scrambling to reimburse their losses through GDC relief funds, the show’s cancellation also scrubbed clean a solid week of valuable developer insights. In light of this, GDC will be streaming a select playlist of developer sessions and awards over on their Twitch channel starting Monday 16th, with a full schedule lined up on the GDC Virtual Talks hub.

It’s not a full show’s worth of talks – not every speaker lined up to perform in San Francisco was willing or able to record an entire session on their own time. But you’re still looking at an impressive lineup, with sessions on everything from accessibility in Borderlands 3 to the playfully broken menus of Everything Is Going To Be Okay.

GDC talks usually come with a cost. Either you’re shelling out to make it to the event in the first place, or you’re cracking open the GDC Vault – which, despite having many free vids, locks some of its juiciest content behind an annual subscription. This year’s streamed talks, however, are being opened up to everyone, with recordings freely available on the Vault before trickling over to the GDC YouTube channel.

The channel will also play host to the Game Developer’s Choice and Independent Games Festival awards ceremonies. Unfortunately, the alt.ctrl.GDC award won’t be joining them. That show’s custom hardware collection doesn’t quite translate to the online-only format so easily.

GDC isn’t alone in this idea. Microsoft announced their own Game Stack Live event, sharing everything they planned to take to GDC in an online show running March 17-18. AltGDC is offering up an indie-focused speaking track, while Plan B is providing yet another avenue for would-be speakers to get their talks out in the open.

Header image is from GDC. It’s cropped, resized, and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.

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Natalie Clayton


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