Left Arrow News

Executive Director’s IGDA @ GDC Recap

29 Mar 2023

The IGDA showed up to GDC 2023 with a simple agenda: connect developers around the world with one another and sustain the sense of community we feel when we all come together. And we did just that! 

The IGDA Booth, located at the Partner Stage, saw thousands of developers over the course of three days during the expo. Not only were we giving away IGDA swag, like stickers and coasters, but we featured awe-inspiring art from members of the IGDA Game Art Special Interest Group, hosted Ask Me Anything sessions with industry leaders, and showcased the Lume Pad 2 for devs to check out. IGDA Project Manager, Natalie Wallace, and our 20+ IGDA volunteers helped spread the word about the association’s mission, informed passers-by about upcoming initiatives, and reminded attendees about the many IGDA-related activities occurring at GDC – including the 30 IGDA-led Roundtable sessions, booth showcases, the Mentor Café, and the IGDA + Unreal Engine + Modulate GDC Mixer. 

Developers connected on various roundtable topics pertinent to the future of the industry, from Game Art in the Age of AI and The Future of Narrative Design and Game Writing, to Accessibility: Proven Techniques and Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace. In addition to our Roundtables, various panels and presentations featured IGDA Leaders and Members sharing key insights about important topics such as Cultivating a Positive Work Culture, “Soft” Skills Are Hard! Acing the Non-Technical Interview Questions, and Sounds as Intended: Quality Assurance in Game Audio

The IGDA held its Annual General Meeting at GDC on Wednesday, 22 March, 2023, which included updates from 2022 and an overview of 2023 initiatives – such as the organization’s focus on building and consolidating global resources and powering up career development and mentorship opportunities for IGDA members. 

Following the AGM, we hosted a VIP Dinner for IGDA Leaders and Lifetime members, bringing together over 85 individuals over a delicious meal at Henry’s Hunan. There, we learned more about the game development ecosystems in various parts of the world while sharing best practices for leading and managing communities. We extend our gratitude to Xsolla, the exclusive sponsor for the VIP Dinner, for helping us bring together our community over a night of meaningful engagement and reconnection.

The IGDA held its annual GDC Mentor Café on the Thursday of GDC and we paired over 30 mentors and 100 mentees in speed-mentoring sessions lasting 25-minutes each. Many thanks to our IGDA Mentors for investing their time, energy, and resources into the next generation of developers as well as those interested in elevating their careers. A special shout out goes to the exclusive Mentor Café sponsor, Supercell, for helping us connect over 130 developers!

To end the week of festivities, the IGDA partnered with Unreal Engine and Modulate to host a GDC mixer which sold out in a matter of days. We had nearly 800 registrants for the event, which featured delicious Mediterranean food and beverages, a fun-filled photobooth where attendees could put on hilarious hats and costume accessories, an auditorium of karaoke enthusiasts singing their hearts out, and casual networking between members of IGDA, Unreal Engine, Modulate, and other industry communities. 

The week concluded with a special IGDA Volunteer Dinner to show our deepest appreciation for the volunteers who made our IGDA @ GDC presence possible. Our volunteers managed the booth traffic, shared IGDA updates to current and potential members, handled massive check-in lines for our events, and did it all with a smile and good spirits. We couldn’t have done it with you!

To all IGDA community members I had the opportunity to (re)connect with–thank you for making this industry an inclusive and welcoming place. It’s validating to hear stories of new developers and devs from underrepresented communities feeling welcomed, included, and like they are a part of this industry when attending IGDA events. You are here because you belong, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The IGDA acknowledges that conferences in various parts of the world can be prohibitively expensive and often inaccessible for developers. Part of what binds our international community together is the ability to share insights virtually and connect with each other in a multitude of ways throughout the year. We encourage you to reach out to your local IGDA Chapter (or talk to us about starting a new one) and connect with industry peers in an IGDA Special Interest Group that resonates with your passions and interests in game development.


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