GDC 2022 is officially back with a full schedule of live events. The schedule brings together all aspects of the game development industry and this year will have a key focus around diversity in game development. The biggest game conference in the USA is returning to an in-person event in San Francisco from March 21-25th 2022.
Diversity and Inclusion in the Business of Games
It is no secret that the business of games has long suffered by falling short in its D&I goals. The game industry has come under public scrutiny in recent years. Observers and employees are making calls for more inclusivity. This has spawned several calls to action and began positive change towards making game development a more welcoming for industry. The talent in the business of games and their broad diversity are a key focus at GDC this year. Several discussions will highlight broader issues of social advocacy in the game industry.
The statistics don’t lie. Women remain a minority in the industry, with around 24% of game developers identifying as female as of 2019. In 2009 that number was closer to eleven percent. The leadership at big game companies and the majority of game directors are still mostly men though. Despite the fact that American gamers are almost evenly split between men (54%) and women (46%), according to the Entertainment Software Association., leadership is heavily weighted to the male gender.
While data from the International Game Developers Association shows that just 24% of game developers are women, only 2% identify as Black and West Asian while only seven percent Hispanic.
GDC is says it will provide closed captioning in multiple languages for many of the sessions available on-demand. They can be accessed through Swapcard and GDC Vault. The virtual component encourages attendees from anywhere in the world to join.
Diversity Tracks Lead Discussion at GDC 2022
GDC has led the charge for inclusiveness over its long tenure. As part of GDC’s commitment the conference maintains over 20 partnerships with organizations promoting D&I. These include Girls Make Games, I Need Diverse Games, Game Devs of Color, and Gay Game Industry Professionals. These partners are helping to amplify the work of game developers from underrepresented communities.
Diversity goals has found their way into the competitive e-sports scene. Several top executives at professional gaming organization FaZe Clan recently quit. They wanted to start a competing venture to bring more women, people of color and LGBT people into the sport.
Attendees can expect access to a diverse array of talks aimed at supporting aspiring game devs. These include “Black Developers Matter Roundtable (Presented by the IGDA),” “Making ‘Temtem’ Gender-Inclusive Across Languages: Case Study,” and “UX Summit: Sensory Overload: Accessibility Best Practices.”
Global Consultancies, like TEKSystems, bring expertise to D&I transformation
No industry is being challenged by the talent war and diversity goals quite like gaming.
Global goliath business transformation consultancies with recruitment engines such as TEKsystems Global Services have built programs specific to game studios seeking to mature their talent and cloud services. Through a customized rising talent program the company helps diverse developers “up their skills” through free marketplace bootcamps. The accelerator program goal is to give aspiring diverse talent in underserved communities the knowledge and skills to be successful in high-demand environment and align executive leadership D&I training in tandem. To date the program has seen graduates stay with their sponsor company at a rate of almost 90%.
“While TEKsystems has a long, successful history of helping clients reach D&I goals the gaming industry presents unique challenges”. Representatives at the company encourage game developers/publishers to schedule time at GDC to discuss implementing a fully curated game studio plan with the TEKsystems game services group.
Climate and sustainability a key action item at GDC 2022
The Game Developer Conference has a Net Zero goal this year. This year a focus on sustainability means that people will carry a digital Tote Bag. This is an effort to reduce paper and plastic use. Energy efficient lighting and equipment will be used throughout the event.
GDC 2022 is hosting a variety of talks about climate issues and sustainability. A full-day of Advocacy workshops called “Use Your Game Developer Superpowers to Fight the Climate Crisis“ on Monday, March 21 from 10:00am to 6:30pm PT is available for all pass holders.
Attendees will have the option to view those sessions and network from anywhere in the world through the game conference’s virtual platform. You can check out the Session Viewer for more details on the topics being discussed as GDC returns for the first time in two years.
The GDC All-Access Online Only pass ensures you can participate no matter where you are. This lower-cost pass provides some unique special features, along with full access to the entire virtual portion of GDC:
- 3-Month GDC Vault Access
- Selection of 100+ top-rated GDC 2022 sessions
- Live, interactive sessions
- Virtual Networking
- GDC Online Expo and Sponsored Content
- GDC Main Stage Sessions Livestream