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GDC 2022 Global Game Jam Scholarship – a quick report

Hi folks, I have recently returned from my trip to Game Developers Conference (GDC). The Global Game Jam’s scholarship program was instrumental in my ability to attend this industry event. More details here.

I’m currently self-isolating at home feeling very fatigued as I recover from Covid-19, which I seem to have contracted during my visit to the states.

In brief…

I learned a great deal, and my personal scholarship mission was to be taken in two parts. Part one is to take in as much as knowledge as I can, while meeting with as many people as I can, in order to be a bridge back to Galway. Part two is to maximise the effect of that learning for the community in any way I can, by connecting people and sharing knowledge, and anything else. Part one is a great success. Part two will have to wait until I recover! While there I also represented my own game studio, but was unable to get meetings with publishers due to my short notice of travel confirmation. Quite a pity, but I did learn some valuable lessons (and know where lots of the meeting venues are now!)

I enjoy genuine conversation so I didn’t get a high volume of contacts, but rather I think I connected well with people who I talked with. I hope I did a good job telling people about our small yet powerful gamedev scene in Galway. I certainly learned a lot, about the wider industry, but more about the Irish game industry which was somewhat unexpected and welcome!

Once I am well and able I will begin the process of tidying and sharing my notes, and talking with the community about what I have learned, sharing contacts and doing introductions.

There’s clearly something missing – the “Irish Games” pavilion!

My biggest takeways for our industry is that there were several country booths. There were Swiss, French, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Belgian, Brazilian, Italian, Chilean, Pakistani and Welsh booths. Lots of these were medium sized pavilions housing several small booths for studios. Some where smaller trade missions. It surprised me that there was no Irish presence here. Creative Wales but on a great show of talent and support for their devs. If Wales can do it, certainly Ireland can too!

I know that the UKIE booth at Gamescom is a thing, but I was quite surprised that this did not feature at GDC either. This is my first year at GDC, so I may be missing out on some context, however it does seem like there is more work to be done for representing our space in the industry, and championing our contributions to gaming. I am in contact with GDC sales about organising an Irish Pavilion for 2023. We have some big games being made in Ireland, and these studios could use a large space. Smaller studios would not be able to afford the high booth prices for this event. However they would benefit greatly from the connections possible by being with there larger neighbours. Copying the trend of chipping in together with a trade mission, perhaps with a collaboration between Imirt and Enterprise Ireland, and perhaps even a co-op with NI Screen just over the border, we can get some all-Ireland studio representation landing in the bay area next year. I think I have found my side-quest for the rest of the year!

Reach out to me!

If you would like to be a part of my post-event community resource and network sharing please get in touch with me either on Twitter, Discord or Linkedin. If you have any other enquires, simply reach out there too. Thanks!

Links:

https://globalgamejam.org/news/announcing-our-2022-class-gdc-scholars

Country pavilions at GDC 2022: https://expo.gdconf.com/2022/exhibitor-list/#country_pavilions-tab

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