Top 5 Video Game Developers Conferences in 2013

The field of video game development has never been more accessible. The mobile gaming revolution has given aspiring developers the ability to create and market their games to a wide audience. A thriving industry means lots of conferences to attend. Here is a quick glimpse at 2013’s biggest events.

1. The Game Developers Conference

From humble beginnings as a gathering of 25 people in the living room of founder Chris Crawford in 1988, to an audience of 22,500 in 2012, its history provides the perfect metaphor for the exponential growth of the game industry in the past 25 years. The Independent Games Festival, an exposition for budding developers, is part of the conference as well as the Game Developers Choice Awards. The conference covers the gamut of gaming with session titles like “Why Won’t Farmville Go Away?” and “Static Lighting Tricks in Halo 4”.

The 2013 event will be held in San Francisco from March 25-29. For more information about the GDC, visit their website by clicking here.

2. The Electronic Entertainment Expo

E3 is probably more well-known among game fans due to the media coverage the conference usually receives. However, this knowledge is second-hand, as it is only open to developers. Unlike the more structured GDC, E3 has a more fair-like format, as publishers set up booths and attendees freely roam around the conference floor.

This year E3 will take place June 11-13 in Los Angeles. Click here to visit their website.

3. The Penny Arcade Expo

PAX actually hosts several conferences: PAX Prime and PAX Dev in Seattle; PAX East in Boston; and PAX Melbourne in Australia. PAX Dev, as the name implies, caters to developers and provides a more formal learning environment. The others are open to the public and are expositions similar to E3.

The dates for PAX Prime and PAX Dev 2013 have yet to be announced, but they usually take place in late August. PAX East will take place in Boston March 22-24. Visit the website for PAX East by clicking here.

4. The D.I.C.E. Summit

This event targets producers and executives and incorporates a variety of non-video game related social events like a golf tournament (with an actual golf club, not a Wii remote) and a whiskey tasting event. Past speakers have included the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto.

This year’s D.I.C.E. summit will be held in Las Vegas February 5-8. Registration is open at their website.

5. Games Beyond Entertainment Week

Though outside of the mainstream, serious games are starting to gain more attention, and GBEW provides a forum where developers and producers can network in this expanding market. The week is actually a series of mini conferences focusing on different topics, such as the Games for Health Conference and The Serious Games Tutorial Unconference.

The 2013 dates for GBEW are still TBA. Last year’s conference was in Boston. Click here to visit their website.

This is a small list of the hundreds of video game conferences that take place every year. The financial and technical barriers to producing games will likely continue to fall, birthing new generations that ensure events like these are not going anywhere anytime soon.

About the Guest Author

Mitch Grossman is a blogger and video game enthusiast from Anaheim, California.  He is pursuing a degree in video game design and offers his advice about game design schools at Top 8 Best Online Game Design Schools.

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