Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2023 is just around the corner and I have the pleasure of attending this year. As the content writer for our gaming team, I am going along to learn as much as I can from the experts and industry veterans speaking at the event. Including some of our customers.
If you are also heading to GDC 2023 and looking to attend some of the talks, I’ve done the hard work of trawling through the huge variety of talks to pick out my top five.
I’ve deliberately gone for a range of topics, from artificial intelligence and virtual reality to continuous profiling; all of which are hugely topical and some potentially divisive. It will be great to hear from the pros on each topic to find out more about their impact and influence on the gaming ecosystem.
So, in chronological order, here are my top five GDC 2023 talks that I’m looking forward to attending.
Shocking, I know, that the first talk on my list has the word ‘servers’ in the title.
The reason this talk from Jordan Schidlowsky, CEO of Winterpixel Games Inc has made my list is that it covers one of the biggest focuses for our gaming team - how to help ensure consistent infrastructure performance. But Jordan is coming at it from a very specific aspect. That of continuous profiling to optimize game servers.
We have first-hand experience of the importance of optimizing game servers. We worked with a customer following a February 2021 update to Valheim which reduced the CPU and RAM usage of a Valheim game server. A fix to the update ultimately resulted in the customer needing fewer physical machines and demonstrated just how important something like continuous profiling is to efficient infrastructure usage and spend.
I’ll be heading along to Jordan’s talk to learn more about why continuous profiling is “fast becoming an incredibly useful tool for infraops and game developers” with its ability to provide “real-time insight into what’s happening on game servers”.
Traditionally associated with the world of finance, blockchain technology is slowly edging its way into more and more industries. As a recent report into blockchain gaming by the World Economic Forum said, “overall, blockchain gaming is still in the early stages. According to DappRadar, fewer than 2,000 gaming applications currently use the blockchain”.
It is, however, growing and growing fast. With an estimated worth of around $4.6 billion in 2022, it’s expected to hit $65.7 by 2027.
In his session, Parth Pathak from Polygon aims to break down how gaming companies can use blockchain technology to create connected game ecosystems and economies. Including, “how to make the most of player-owned digital identities and assets across gaming and metaverse environments”.
As more of our lives take place within the digital world, this concept of expanding ownership over digital identities and assets to make our ability to move around digital spaces with assets that retain value is huge. In a recent chat with our gaming specialist and regular gamer Jarrod Palmer, he said he believes “that feeling of individual ownership will inevitably keep user retention high because players feel more invested”.
I’m looking forward to learning more from Parth about a Web3 enabled future for gaming.
This panel is positioned as “looking for help navigating the current gaming environment?”. While the other talks I’ve selected are very topic-specific, it’s always great to have the opportunity to hear first-hand from experts across different parts of the gaming ecosystem, in one place, about what’s trending, why it’s trending and whether we should care.
With panelists including Phil Suh, VP at mobile advertising and monetization platform Zynga and Lauren Frazier, co-founder of multiplayer cross-platform VR game development studio Ramen VR, as well as product, engineering and production experts from successful game studios, it’s bound to be a lively and thought-provoking discussion.
It’s also going to be a great opportunity to hear from them about what’s going to be big this year and how to take advantage of these trends with tangible advice from those who are at the forefront of the gaming world.
I picked this talk for two reasons.
Firstly, I love the title because they’re likely right. To me, VR in gaming feels like a trend that keeps rumbling on but never really takes off. As does its close ally, the metaverse. And yet it’s the metaverse that is making VR in gaming much more of a credible idea by allowing users to connect to interoperable worlds that span VR games, spaces, and applications but in one single environment.
According to the synopsis of the talk, “VR is now officially mass market, and about to get even bigger” and “VR gaming is set to explode in a way that most working on flatscreen games are still unprepared for”.
And this is the second reason this talk is on my list. Because these are bold statements and if the speaker Patrick O’Luanaigh is right, it’s a topic to finally be paying proper attention to.
So, if you too are willing to be proved wrong about your perception of the VR games market, Patrick promises to provide “an overview of where the VR market is, how quickly it’s growing and how soon it will rival flatscreen counterparts”.
A veteran 3D artist and game developer, CEO of a generative AI company Promethean AI and a technical advisor in the class action lawsuit against Stable AI on the side of the artists, Andrew Maximov knows his stuff.
In his talk, Andrew will be providing a general overview of generative AI and its role in gaming today. But perhaps more importantly - and what made his talk stand out amongst others in the schedule - is that he will be giving “pointers on which technologies teams should consider adopting right now and which could be a technical, ethical and legal minefield”.
It’s always tempting to go after the new, shiny thing. And yet, when it comes to AI, it’s not a case of simple deployment. To be able to hear from an expert in his field providing very specific guidance on which parts of the gaming ecosystem can be augmented with AI today will make this technology feel much more real and achievable. It will be interesting to see if the recent integration of ChatGPT into gaming to allow players to chat to non-player characters (NPCs) will come up in the talk or following Q&A. It certainly seems to be a topic that generates heated debate.
I hope this list is helpful. If nothing else, it may provide you with some food for thought on which sessions you’ll look to prioritize at this year’s Game Developers Conference. And if you do end up going to one of these five talks, keep an eye out for me. I’ll be the one taking copious notes.
For our wordsmith Hannah, content is about driving new perspectives and giving our industry experts the voice they deserve.
Outside work, you’ll find Hannah gymming, renovating or growing veg.