Choose a language:


|    Advocacy

Please note: this information refers to GDC 2014, check back for updates.

The Game Developers Conference Advocacy track presents a number of topics that address new and existing issues within the realm of social advocacy. Topics covered range from diversity to censorship to quality of life. With these sessions, we hope to offer a forum for discussion and ultimately a place to effect change for the development community.

Advocacy Track sessions are accessible by all GDC pass types.

Arrow Search for all Advocacy Track sessions


Accessibility: Lessons Learned from Designing for Gamers with Disabilities
Ian Hamilton (Ian Hamilton DC)
In recent years, accessibility has exploded for the more than 20 percent of gamers who have disabilities, with the establishment of new design patterns, improved quality of life for gamers with limited recreation opportunities, and broader customer bases. Best practice guidelines are in place, studios from the largest AAA to the smallest indie are publicizing their efforts, support from fellow gamers is at an all-time high, and trade and government bodies are investing in raising awareness. But we're not in the Promised Land yet, and although there are huge benefits, there are also some common pitfalls. This talk shares experiences from both ends of the spectrum, lessons learned from when it hasn't gone well, and examples of success stories - both human benefit stories and examples of business cases. The talk goes beyond basics to give some real insight into how and why to broaden your game's audience to include gamers with disabilities.
How to Depression-Proof Your Studio Culture
Russ Pitts (Take This, Inc.)
The jury is still out on whether or not the games industry is recession-proof, but we're certain it's not depression-proof. Between 20-25% of adults in America are estimated to suffer from some form of emotional ailment. And in our experience, the video game industry is susceptible to even higher rates of emotional distress due to the unique nature of the industry itself, those who are attracted to it, and the cultures which game developers function within. Considering the fact that we spend roughly one third of our lives at our place of employment (and in the games industry, this figure is often higher), ensuring the workplace can be a positive environment for those suffering from emotional distress is critical. Many emotional ailments can worsen in the workplace, and if left untreated, can result in tragic outcomes. The cost to companies themselves should also not be overlooked. According to a recent Harvard Medical School study, depression alone accounts for over 200 lost workdays a year, at a cost of billions of dollars in productivity. This one hour lecture will empower developers to take positive steps to improve the quality of their workplace experience, and provide managers and CEOs with perspective on implementing larger programs to foster greater mental wellness at the studio level.
Global Game Jam Organizers Roundtable
Zuraida Buter (Global Game Jam)
This roundtable will be an opportunity for members of the vast GGJ community to come together, meet in person and review the 2014 GGJ. The focus will be on global accomplishments, games, review of research, sites and growth. This year's meeting will establish goals and ideas for the upcoming year.
Mob Rules: The Destructive Power of Opinion and Online Community
Adam Orth (Three One Zero)
Adam Orth will present an in-depth and unfiltered look at toxic online behavior and destructive mob mentality within the gaming and Internet community. He will do this by examining the phenomenon through the lens of his personal experience, highlighting the progressive methods the game industry is currently using against the epidemic, and inspiring developers as a community to rebuild the foundation of online and community through positive academic, communal and mechanical revolution.


Mike Capps
Dr. Michael Capps has been a game designer, executive producer, lead programmer, and studio executive. He's best known for his decade as the president of Epic Games, makers of the mega-hit Gears of War and Infinity Blade franchises and the award-winning Unreal Engine. Michael currently serves on the boards of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) and the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Michael also serves as a member of Governor Beverly Perdue's North Carolina Innovation Council as well as Change the Equation, a non-profit, non-partisan CEO-led initiative to drive innovation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Michael was named 2009 Technology Executive of the Year by the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) and is listed in Game Developer magazine's Game Developer 50, which recognizes significant contributors to the game industry. Prior to entering the games industry, Michael served on the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School.
Kate Edwards
Kate Edwards is the Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), appointed in December 2012. She is also the founder and principal consultant of Geogrify, a Seattle-based consultancy for content culturalization, and a unique hybrid of an applied geographer, writer, and corporate strategist, built upon a passion for global cultures and media technologies.

Formerly as Microsoft's first Geopolitical Strategist in the Geopolitical Strategy team she created and managed, Kate was responsible for protecting against political and cultural content risks across all products and locales. In the Microsoft Game Studios, she implemented a "geopolitical quality" review process and was personally responsible for identifying potential issues in all 1st party games between 1995 and 2005. Since leaving Microsoft, she has provided guidance to many companies on a wide range of geopolitical and cultural issues, and she continues to work on games such as the Dragon Age series, Modern Warfare 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dance Central series, Mass Effect 3, Halo 4 and Ryse.

Kate is also the founder and former chair of the IGDA's Localization Special Interest Group, a former board member of IGDA Seattle, the co-organizer of the Game Localization Summit at GDC, and is a regular columnist for MultiLingual Computing magazine.
Mitu Khandaker
The Tiniest Shark
Mitu Khandaker is a game designer and programmer, who founded one-woman indie studio The Tiniest Shark, currently working on sci-fi parody life-sim "Redshirt". She is also completing a PhD in video game controllers and aesthetics at the University of Portsmouth, UK. Mitu is a co-founder of "Dear Ada", a website supported by the Feminists in Games initiative, inviting letters from men and women reflecting on gender issues within the industry. She occasionally writes for various games publications, and was named one of Develop magazine's Top 30 Under 30 upcoming developers of 2012. Mitu was named as a BAFTA 'Breakthrough Brit' in 2013.
UBM Tech