The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is arguably the most coveted event for game developers around the world. It is attended by scores of industry veterans and new comers alike as it promises to provide myriad opportunities of networking, learning sessions and an overall unforgettable experience to game developers.
While the event is placed at the zenith among any other such events around the globe, it’s not always feasible for developers to attend it. The major concern for Indian developers at least, is the monetary aspect of it. The passes to the conference alone cost quite a lot, this coupled with the additional expenses brings the enthusiastic developers to a standstill most of the time.
However, a handful of developers from the country have been attending GDC, thanks to the endeavours of Game Designers Network. “Our objective is to provide an all expenses paid trip to San Francisco for GDC, which amounts to $3000. This includes airfare, hotel and a conference pass. While we openly consider all applications, generally we look for candidates who have either published a game of their own or have been part of a larger team which has. This is because we want a person who has acclimated to a certain level of industry knowledge and experience so that they can make the most of their opportunities at GDC. We have begun collecting funds for 2018 at the GoFundMe page,” says Game Designers Network India founder Blake Merriam.
At the Conference, developers of the best games from the past year talk about their projects. Every discipline of the industry is represented. Art, music, design, discussion about different platforms (mobile, console, PC, VR, browser, etc.) take place. All the big publishers are represented. This is the ultimate event for game developers to network, learn, and be inspired.
Says Merriam, “My urge to reciprocate has found an outlet in my charity fund named after a friend who’s family had migrated from India in 1995 to North Carolina. Priyesh and I shared a love for the video game industry and we always saw each other at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco each year. Priyesh passed away due to cancer in 2016 at the age of 27. In Priyesh’s honour, 2016 was my first year to successfully raise enough funds to have one game developer from India attend GDC.”
The process of selection is apparently “super selective” and is conducted by a group committee of several successful game designers from India. The motive is also to seek a balance of both male and female recipients. Evidently, most applicants are male, and the network especially encourages female members of the game industry in India to apply.
The last date for applying for the passes for this year is 14 November, 2017. The candidates will be announced a few days after the date and the winners will receive one Main and Summit pass valued at over Rs. 1 lakh.
When asked about his thoughts on the current scenario of the Indian Gaming Industry, Merriam said, “It continues to grow! I have not had a chance to attend NASSCOM Game Developer Conference (no relation to GDC in San Francisco) but I hear it has gotten much bigger since the years it was held in Pune. Marketing I think is the biggest challenge. The app stores for iOS and Android have gotten more and more crowded. The same will probably happen on PC/Steam now that Greenlight is no more. My organisation that hosts the scholarship, Game Designers Network India, specialises in helping Indie devs in India with publishing and marketing their games.”
So if you’re a developer from India and would like to have a shot on visiting GDC at heavily subsidised expenses, this is your chance!