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By D.S. Cohen

In Section 1 of Producing Games: From Business and Budgets to Creativity and Design we discuss not only the different roles of a video game producer, but also the various paths for breaking into the industry.
In addition to all the job boards and college programs, there are numerous trade shows that encourage careers in gaming. The most important of these is the Game Developer’s Conference (aka GDC).

GDC is the largest professionals-only game industry show designed as a “forum for learning, inspiration, and networking for the creators of computer, console, handheld, mobile, and online games.”

While the primary GDC takes place in San Francisco, there are four different GDC shows per year. The upcoming ones are…

  • GDC Austin – September 15-18, 2009 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX
  • GDC China –  October 11-13, 2009  at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China
  • GDC (primary show in San Francisco) – March 9-13, 2010 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA
  • GDC Canada – May 6-7, 2010 at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Center in Vancouver, BC
  • GDC Europe – August 16-18, 2010 at the Cologne Congress Center East in Cologne, Germany


Each show features panels and roundtables with industry pros discussing the development, creative and business side of making games, a exhibitor floor, socials and networking mixers and recruiters seeking out talent for both developers and publishers.

The price of admission ranges depending on what parts of the game you want to show. The basic “Expo” pass lets you have access to the show floor, exhibitors, recruiters and all the other basics.  From there passes increase in price for panels and other industry events going on at the show.
While the panels do cost more to attend, there are certainly worth the price; (I will never forget Will Wright’s legendary presentation on the future of content at the 2005 GDC San Francisco) but if you’re going on a budget, then the basic Expo pass is a great value.
So how does this pertain to those who aren’t already in the industry but itching to break in? Well at the next GDC in Austin they are having a special all-day Career Seminar (Friday, Sep. 18th) designed specifically for students and those just looking to get their game career started. Not only does it provide insight and access to working in the business, but you also gain access to the exhibitor floor where you can rub elbows with seasoned professionals.
The Career Seminar at GDC Austin is a separate pass that can be acquired through the GDC Austin website or at the show.
If you end up visiting any of the Game Developer Conferences, be sure to pick up a copy of our book Producing Games: From Business and Budgets to Creativity and Design at the GDC Bookstore, or you can order it right now by clicking on the title.


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