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GDC details 2023 format, COVID precautions

Approximately 24,000 people expected in San Francisco event this March

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The organisers of the annual Game Developers Conference have shared more details on what to expect from this year's conference.

Speaking to Axios, the team said this year's speakers will all appear in person with no plans to enable virtual attendance via livestreams. Instead, GDC will hold a separate virtual event later this year.

This decision has been criticised, as virtual access opened up GDC to developers who cannot afford an expensive trip to San Francisco or are physically unable to attend.

However, the GDC team said they received feedback from both virtual an in-person attendees of 2022's conference that expressed frustration over the mix of virtual and physical speakers.

Confirmed talks this year include former Blizzard co-president Jen Oneal, who resigned in 2021 – just three months after being appointed as co-leader of the Warcraft firm – after objecting to the pay disparity between herself and Mike Ybarra, who held the same position.

Also appearing will be two lead designers of the Kirby series, and the executive producer of the New York Times' gaming division, who will talk about how the publication has handled its ownership of Wordle since acquiring the game last year.

The majority of other sessions will be on topics that help developers build their careers.

There will be Web3/blockchain discussions, but fewer than were present in 2022 and contained to one sponsored area on March 20 and 21.

GDC's organisers expect 24,000 attendees at the Moscone Center this year.

While this is an increase on the 17,000 that came to the conference last year, it's still shy of the record 29,000 people seen in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

The organisers also emphasised they are still taking precautions to prevent spreading the virus, with all in-person attendees required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result they are allowed to enter the venue.

There was criticism last year as an outbreak spread among attendees.

GDC 2023 will be run from Monday, March 20 to Friday, March 24.

GamesIndustry.biz is a media partner of GDC 2023

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James Batchelor avatar

James Batchelor

Editor-in-Chief

James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006