GDC GM Scavio explains GDC Next’s new agenda

mscav.jpg The game industry is rapidly evolving, and in response, Game Developers Conference’s organizers and advisory board are programming the second annual GDC Next – being held this November in Los Angeles – to answer a simple question: Once you’ve made your game, what comes next?
The first GDC Next show (held in LA last year) ranged more widely across a multitude of future-leaning subjects.
But organizers have zeroed in on a key issue – the contemporary game market is constantly inundated with new titles, resulting in peak saturation. That can make it hard for even an experienced developer to drum up interest in their game.

That’s why this year GDC Next seeks to provide attendees with knowledge about how to gain exposure, broaden your audience, and highlight what makes your work unique.
Nobody is better qualified to explain the evolution of GDC Next than GDC general manager Meggan Scavio, and as the show’s call for lectures ends this Friday. she took the time to answer a few questions about how the show is changing, and why game industry professionals should care.
Last year’s inaugural GDC Next conference was focused on exploring what’s next for the game industry at large, but this year the theme of the show is a little different. Can you tell me a bit more about how the show is shifting focus?
Meggan: GDC Next is an ever-evolving event. In brainstorming this year’s theme, we were really struck by something someone said: “So you’ve made a game, what’s next?” That resonated in a way nothing else had.
It’s a saturated games market and there are a lot of developers adept at making games but unsure of their next steps. How do you gain exposure? How do you broaden your audience? How do you build community? How do you manage growth? Will you incorporate social media? E-sports? Streaming? There is a lot of practical knowledge that can be shared on these topics, and we’re happy to provide a venue for that.
What inspired the change?
For us, it’s a matter of trying to find what best serves the community. GDC in San Francisco is a massive event that covers all aspects of video game development, and much of the editorial content programmed focuses heavily on best practices. We thought there was an opportunity to host an event that was less “how did we do that” and more “here’s what we want to be able to do.”
But we discovered that’s really hard to talk about! So we got together with our advisory board and seriously considered current developer needs. Identifying the industry’s shift toward independent development & self-publishing coupled with a crowded games market, our road became a lot clearer.
Why should developers consider attending a show that is more focused on what comes after you’ve made your game than on the game development process itself?
I think it’s really complicated for developers to adapt and find success in this fast-changing industry. There are a lot of moving parts and I think GDC Next can help devs get a handle on them all in a productive, intimate environment.
Not to mention we’re bringing back the App Developers Conference this year, and there is much to be learned from that community. App developers from every segment (enterprise, education, entertainment, lifestyle, etc.) have to contend with discoverability and engagement issues as well.
Last year we had sessions from top app-makers such as Evernote, Tumblr, and Pandora sharing experiences about transitioning from web to mobile; navigating the “always connected” myth; and designing for a positive first impression through practical UI. I think GDC Next is a great opportunity for both communities to learn from each other and identify best practices.
So what are your goals for GDC Next this year?
My goal for every GDC is that the attendees leave feeling inspired and motivated. Basically I want successful, happy devs so they can keep making awesome games.
::Runs off to go play awesome games::
This year GDC Next featuring ADC takes place November 3rd-4th, 2014 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Registration will open in the near future, but submissions for presentations are still being accepted through this Friday, May 30th. For additional details about GDC Next and ADC, visit the event homepage.
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