The Game Developers Conference, more commonly referred to as GDC, is an annual industry conference that takes place during the last week of February/first week of March each year. The conference's location has shifted back and forth between San Jose and San Francisco, California.
Unlike other conferences and trade shows, such as E3, GDC is not specifically a media event, though the media are invited. Rather, it is a conference geared toward those in the game development industry, and offers panels and lectures that discuss all aspects of game design as well as the industry's development in general. In recent years, however, it has become more open to the general public, and some publishers have used GDC as an event to debut and preview upcoming titles.
The first GDC was organized in 1988 by Chris Crawford
and was called the Computer Game Developers Conference and brought in about 27 attendees. The year after over 150 developers gathered in a Holiday Inn. Ernest Adams
became the director from 1991-1995. During that time the conference was held in Santa Clara, San Jose, and Long Beach. Each consecutive year brought more attention and popularity towards the convention. During Adams stint as director, the convention grew from 525 to over 2300.
GDC has hosted the Spotlight Awards from 1997 to 1999, the Independent Games Festival
since 1999, and the Game Developers Choice Awards
from 2001 on. It is also host to the International Game Developers Association. The IGDA sponsors 25 students to attend the conference each year.
In 2005, GDC was moved to San Francisco
and brought in over 12,000 attendees. GDC in 2006 saw the conference moved back to San Jose and reported over 12,500 attendees. Finally, in 2007, the conference was brought back to San Francisco where event organizers have stated that it will stay for the foreseeable future.
Different events have been included in GDC as technology has increased. GDC Mobile was created to help developers learn how to create games for mobile phones. In 2004, Game Connection, which is a live matchmaking service for video games, sponsored with GDC to bring outsourcing and other services to developers and publishers.
Game Design Challenge
The Game Design Challenge was created by Eric Zimmerman
with the goal of getting developers to think about new types of games. The goal of the second design challenge was to create a game based upon Emily Dickinson. Will Wright
won that year by creating an Emily Dickinson personality simulator that the players had to navigate through.
Other challenges included creating a game worthy of a Nobel Peace prize and to create a game that was a religion.