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The 2021 Game Developers Conference will try to go physical again — but now in July

The 2021 Game Developers Conference will try to go physical again — but now in July


Perhaps they think COVID will be gone if they push it a few months

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illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Last month, the world’s biggest tech show announced that CES would go online-only in 2021 instead of expecting companies and journalists to brave Las Vegas in January. But the Game Developers Conference (GDC) just announced it isn’t following suit: it’ll hold a “hybrid event taking place physically in San Francisco” that also includes a “robust virtual offering.”

While it’s not yet clear how robust the virtual portion will be, GDC 2021 does have one thing going for it right away: it’ll be held July 19th–21st of next year, instead of the typical March timeframe. Perhaps we’ll have a vaccine by then or at least be more confident about gigantic business and social gatherings.

Or perhaps it’ll simply be a smaller event: GDC has never been known as a showcase for big game industry announcements, and developers have sometimes resented it when companies use the show for that purpose.

In the wake of GDC’s makeup “GDC Summer” virtual event, it sounds like organizers intend to keep the virtual ball rolling this year, too, with a set of “virtual GDC Master Classes” that will offer day-long deep-dives into game development later this year. They also intend to fill the March 2021 hole that GDC is leaving with a “GDC Community Celebration”:

Finally, a week-long single-track “GDC Community Celebration” will run from March 1 through March 5, 2021, which will stream behind-the-scenes lectures on top games of the past year, high-profile talks, Q&As and more interactive content. Organizers will extend invitations to speakers to present talks and Q&As, with the lineup and sponsorship programs to be confirmed over the coming weeks and months.

GDC is promising more info on the hybrid event, including instructions for companies that want to attend, in the near future. It sounds like the idea is very much still coming together, so don’t be surprised if plans change as society recovers from COVID-19.