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GDC 2021 will be an all-digital event again this July

by Mark Tyson on 19 February 2021, 13:11

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The Game Developers Conference organisers have confirmed that the event will be all-digital this year. As the pandemic lingers on the US conference organisers reckon there are still too many unknowns to be able to be confident enough to schedule a physical event.

It is the 35th year of GDC conferences and this year there will be three GDC events to look forward to. From 4th to 5th March there are the GDC Masterclass sessions scheduled. These are "one and two-day small-group virtual workshops that deliver in-depth, hands-on training around some of the most important challenges facing game developers today". Virtual attendees can gain a lot from games industry tech leaders hosting these sessions.

Later in March, from 15th to 19th, the GDC Showcase runs as a free-to-attend, all-digital event. The showcase provides a mix of content and formats with examples being "spotlight lectures, AMAs with the people behind some of the industry's biggest games, interactive panels with renowned game developers, live podcasts, and more".

From 19th to 23rd July is the GDC 2021 main event. This will be the usual week-long, multi-track educational and business focused event – online. In the midst of this conference the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards will be doled out, and livestreamed via the official GDC Twitch channel.

MWC 2021 Barcelona

MWC 2021 Shanghai takes place as a physical event next week (23rd to 25th Feb). Normally the Barcelona event is the first of the season but it has been switched around as China is more open for gatherings right now. The Barcelona organisers, the GSMA, are hoping to see Shanghai as a blueprint for the European event which is scheduled to run in June/July.

These events will be scaled down due to the logistics of biosecurity, social distancing, and so on. For example the Shanghai event will welcome about 20,000 visitors, far less than the 60,000 that attended in 2019. In Barcelona later in the year the organisers are a bit more optimistic – expecting up to 50,000 attendees – but this is still a lot less than the usual 100,000+ visitors.

The biggest mobile technology conference is of course going to implement lots of safeguards. There will be pre-event tests needing to be done, in-venue tests, a touchless environment created at the venues, as well as obvious things like hand sanitisation, and compulsory mask wearing to minimise any infection/transmission.

Hopefully the Shanghai event goes without a hitch, but Spain currently has a pretty high daily case rate and death rate, which we must hope human precautions and vaccines will have a big impact on in the coming weeks and months.

Computex 2021

There has been no significant news about Computex 2021 since our last report – it is still scheduled as a physical event for 1st to 4th June in Taipei. 1,600 exhibitors, 5,500 booths and 42,000 visitors are expected.

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