Esports Day | Game Developers Conference

Esports Day

GDC 2018 Content. GDC 2019 coming soon.

Learn how to attract and support professional players and teams, journalists, content creators, and grassroots player organizations in a day-long series of panels and presentations. Join Esports Day on Monday, March 19, 2018 and learn about growing your esports ecosystem alongside long-time developers, publishers, and esports community leaders. Seating is on a first-come, first served basis.

View all Esports Day sessions

Featured Sessions

All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, or GDC Summits Pass required.

Esports Day: Crossing Over: Traditional Sports Come to Esports
Ryan Garfat (ESPN Esports)
This session will present an overview of the traditional sports world coming into the esports scene with big money investments, specifically in regard to 'Overwatch' League and 'League of Legends'. Senior Writer, Darin J. Kwilinski, will discuss the timeline that got the industry to this point, the names involved, the teams, how involved these traditional outlets are in the scene, is/was it needed, and what it means for esports.
Esports Day: Developing Competitive Communities through Conventions
Rick Thiher (Twitch)
Celebrating the drive of competitive players is the backbone of tournament ecosystems, but often isn't the primary focus of esports events. What does it mean to produce an esports gathering that isn't designed around viewership? What does it mean for brands aligned with the space? How does it serve the experiences of the player base and the culture? Is there value in refinement over growth? Twitch Event Director, Rick Thiher, will explore how the events he helped develop, particularly the fighting game convention Combo Breaker in Illinois, have helped empower communities by celebrating and improving niche activities. He will share how his goal has, and will continue to be, improving event experiences that instill camaraderie and create life-long community members; so that one day the culture is pervasive enough to support non-endemic fandom. It's a goal he'd like to see shared in esports at large.
Esports Day: Putting the Horse Before the Cart: Building Foundations for Esports
James Murff (Simplikation)
Esports is a burgeoning field, perhaps even a genre. But with so much competition, how do you ensure your game grows a competitive scene? How do you make the jump to esports tournaments? This session will discuss the basics of building a strong competitive foundation for your game. With such a foundation, building a player base and making the transition from "great competitive game" to "esports title" will be smooth and, hopefully, successful!
Esports Day: Building Collegiate Esports from Student Clubs to Varsity Teams
Phill Alexander (Miami University)
Ryan Stevenson (USC Games)
In this session, Phill Alexander will present his experience as co-director and the faculty lead for Varsity Esports at Miami University (the first division 1 school to offer varsity esports). He'll cover how they developed and implemented their varsity program for 'League of Legends', 'Hearthstone', and 'Overwatch', what the current varsity esports scene looks like, and offer a look into the future of varsity esports. Also in this session, USC Games student and esports club organizer Ryan Stevenson will speak about the work that goes into running a local student player community, and the importance of communication and collaboration in order for it to grow.

Esports Day Organizers

Patrick Miller
Patrick Miller is a game designer, writer, and editor based in the Bay Area, and he's currently working at Riot Games. He's also helped organize GDC's esports talks for three years now. Follow him on Twitter @pattheflip.

GDC Tutorials offer a full day of in-depth information and cover a range of game development disciplines on Monday and Tuesday, March 19-20, 2018. View all GDC Tutorials on Session Scheduler.


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