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  • Writer's pictureNorman Praught

GDC 2024 Recap

It's the last day of Game Developers Conference (GDC) and we've had some great meetings and caught up with friends from all over the world! Despite the prevailing post-COVID economic challenges, a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial enthusiasm and optimism remains among attendees. Game creators, true to form, continue to be at the forefront of innovation in entertainment, technology, and community engagement.

Here are five takeaways from the event:

  1. The physical presence of larger game engines like Unreal, Unity and Godot was smaller compared to prior years. Even industry giants like Meta, Discord and Tencent had smaller booths with an emphasis on fewer, high quality immersive activities and free giveaways. Many spaces in the North and South Halls were empty and there were lots of available booths. Since there is no longer an E3 consumer event, there are fewer and fewer direct connection points for studios, artists and engineers. GDC is a critical touchpoint now, but exhibitors still chose to reduce their presence.

  2. AI is alive and well in gaming, but it wasn't an overwhelming part of the Exhibition. inWorld, for example, showed off character-centric games created with their AI game engine. Anything World impressed with a captivating balloon display to show off their prompt-driven asset creation tool. But the big players in AI - OpenAI, Stability AI, etc. - were not as visible. Though this isn't an AI-specific conference, there was a lot of energy around how AI can be used for game development. The industry is still in the early stages of fully realizing the potential of AI and we can't wait for more developments this year.

  3. Speaking of AI, Roblox announced two new tools to develop avatars and textures. These provide even more freedom to Roblox players to express themselves and it keeps Roblox current with tools that are already available outside their metaverse. Kids are incredibly curious about AI and this will be an exciting in-game addition.

  4. We had a great meeting with Niantic (makers of "Pokemon Go") to learn more about Lightship, their AR/world-mapping SDK. We have a unique use-case for one of the games we are developing for which they have an amazing solution. AR is still a huge opportunity for kids entertainment, especially mobile AR.

  5. Indy games showcased at atl. ctrl. GDC continue to make the impossible, possible. Creators turned traditional game mechanics upside down, creating everything from a "Low-Tek Lightbook" game called "Bib Goes Home" to a plush toy e-marionette game called "Puppet Master". You can learn about all the 2024 finalists here.

The IGDA party was a blast, but in truth we spent most of our time in a giant group hosted by SF-based Gamescape, playing the board game "Finger Guns at High Noon" (alas, unsuccessfully!)

We've posted a few pictures from the event below with captions. Reach out if you'd like more info on GDC or anything in this post.

Fortnite Llama

Anything World Demo

Low Tech Lightbook

Inworld Game Engine Game

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