A Look at Everything We Saw at the GDC 2023

The 2023 Game Developers Conference was a week-long event that allowed game developers an insight into what is happening in the industry. Guests also got the chance to check out the latest tech while studios would showcase their upcoming titles. The event took place during the week of March 20th until March 24th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

8Bit/Digi was present to cover the event and to gain some insight from professionals in the industry. After a week of learning from industry experts and meeting new people, these are the highlights during our time at the 2023 Game Developers Conference.

The Expo Floor

The expo floor had a good number of studios and publishers who wanted to share their work while also being on the lookout for new talent. Also present were a number of hardware and software companies trying to showcase their tech to the industry. Each booth allowed guests to learn about the company and the projects they are working or sample a demo of their upcoming game. Here are some of the booths and setups that got my attention during the week.

Nreal was present to showcase their line of consumer focused AR glasses. They act as a virtual TV screen for the user. Guests got to demo the Nreal Air that was either connected to a Steam Deck, Nintendo Switch, or PlayStation 4 (via a USB cable). It should be noted that they also work with Xbox consoles and mobile devices. Nreal Air is currently on the market and has sold over 100,000 units in Q4 2022. 

PlayStation once again had a commanding presence on the expo floor as they highlighted the upcoming titles for the PS5 and PSVR 2. Visitors were invited to demo the latest titles coming out this year or watch a presentation about the work Sony has been doing. Those who wish to join the PlayStation team were also invited to speak with a recruiter. 

Meta also had a commanding presence on the expo floor as they highlighted the upcoming titles for Meta Quest 2. Visitors could sign up and demo some upcoming games. They could also speak with Meta developers regarding their work in the games or VR industry. 

Matt Saincome of HARD DRIVE was present with his own booth on the expo floor. Fans of the popular video satire site could meet the mastermind behind it and also get a photo op. 

Hosted by the Flanders Investment & Trade along with Wallonia.be, Belgium Games was present to highlight the country’s growing game industry. The showcase featured a variety of Belgium’s contributions to the games industry from software used in the development process to numerous games coming soon (with playable demos available). 

Digital Eclipse is a development studio that specializes in the re-release of classic video games to modern consoles. Among their most notable releases have been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection and Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration. The team was present to showcase their work while also looking to hire new talent to join them.  

PNI Company is a hardware developer who was present to showcase the Valeg. This is a VR accessory that allows for movement in a VR world. It’s compatible with Meta Quest 2 along with most VR headsets. Those who wanted to try it out got to do so in a game dubbed Doom Homage (a VR shooter inspired by the iconic game). 

Epic Games Booth

Epic Games was back and they once again transformed the expo hall into a festival in its own right. Visitors were welcomed to mingle with the Epic team and play titles built using the Unreal 5 engine. At the same time, they could enjoy some beer and snacks or pick up some awesome swag. Visitors could come by and meet the developers of numerous games on display or just hang out. 

Retro Games

The Museum of Arts and Digital Entertainment (The MADE) was once again present to showcase some of the classics at GDC. Visitors could enjoy classic titles like Kingdom Hearts for the PlayStation 2 or team up to play a game of Halo 2 for the Xbox. 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.

Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards

The Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards was an opportunity for the industry to honor the best works of 2022. Here is a rundown of all the winners from both award ceremonies.

Independent Games Festival Award Winners

  • Best Student Game – Slider
  • Excellence in Visual Art – RPG Time: The Legend of Wright
  • Excellence in Audio – The Forest Quartet
  • Nuovo Award – Betrayal at Club Low
  • Excellence in Design – The Case of the Golden Idol 
  • Excellence in Narrative – IMMORTALITY
  • Audience Award – Potionomics
  • Seumas McNally Prize – Betrayal at Club Low

Game Developers Choice Awards

  • Pioneer Award – Mabel Addis
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – John Romero
  • Best Debut – BlueTwelve Studio for Stray
  • Best Audio – God of War: Ragnarök
  • Innovative Award – IMMORTALITY
  • Best Technology – God of War: Ragnarök
  • Social Impact Award – Citizen Sleeper
  • Best Visual Arts – Elden Ring
  • Best Narrative – Pentiment
  • Best Design – Elden Ring
  • Audience Award – God of War: Ragnarök
  • Game of the Year – Elden Ring

Off-Site Mixers and After Party

Given the significance of GDC, there was plenty of after parties and mixers to checkout. For anyone who wants to break into the game industry, these are the places to go just to meet the right person. Here are a few that I got to check out:

Flanders Technology & Innovation – Dinner Reception was a special event organized by the Flanders Investment & Trade in honor of Benjamin Dalle, the Flemish Minister of Media. It brought together not just game developers from the Flanders region but also respected figures from the Flanders community in the Bay Area.

Tripwire GDC 2023 Mixer was hosted at the Natoma Cabana (located at 90 Natoma Street) on March 21st. This free event allowed GDC guests the chance to mingle and network with the team behind hit games like ManEater and Chivalry II. Food and drinks were provided for all who attended. 

Ending the week was the Level Up Mixer + After Party at Temple SF, one of the most popular events during the Game Developers Conference. The Mixer allowed indie developers to showcase their work and network among the guests. The After Party was all about hitting the dance floor and having a good time. 

This article is part of our coverage of the 2023 Game Developers Conference. If you attended the event, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: FortySeven Communications provided 8Bit/Digi with press passes for GDC 2023.

8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Leave a Reply