GDC 2019 - Will Google Go Big on Games?

March, 8 2019

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This month the Games Developers Conference returns for another year, taking over San Francisco from 18th-22nd March (and when we say ‘taking over’ we’re not joking!).

What began as a gathering of developers in founder Chris Crawford’s living room has now escalated into the world’s largest professional game industry event. We’ll be there exploring the latest trends, developments and hopefully rubbing shoulders with others who share our passion for gaming and apps!

With that in mind, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re going to the show and would like to meet with us. 

Industry professionals, designers, programmers and gaming enthusiasts will be emerging from behind their screens and ditching the VR headsets for a week of networking, big reveals and discussions that will shape the future of gaming technology. GDC has earned a reputation for encouraging outside-the-box thinking, making it the go-to place to witness the most exciting and innovative developments in all aspects of gaming.

The conference also incorporates the Game Developers Choice Awards, hailed as “The Oscars of the gaming world”, which are being held on Wednesday and streamed live globally on Twitch.

Mobile app games have continued to assert themselves on the mainstream gaming sphere, and the success stories of games like Florence show their influence is ever evolving. Developed by Mountain Studios, Florence has transgressed the ‘Best Mobile Game’ category and received nominations for ‘Best Narrative’, ‘Best Debut’ and the ‘Innovation Award’; all categories typically dominated by console or PC based titles. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops in coming years, as app-based games continue to benefit from mobile innovation and unlock new potential.

Also worth noting is the return of the GDC Film Festival after its introduction last year, and the Independent Games Festival (IGF); recognising the best in gaming-themed video content  and independent game development respectively.  

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In terms of the conference, the 28,000 attendees are spoilt for choice. With 750 lectures, panels and discussions over the week it’s easy to feel overwhelmed so we’ve selected some highlights that we’re most looking forward to. (Tip: Read to the end, we’ve saved the best till last!)

Wednesday 20th March, 11:30am-12:00pm, Room 3020, West Hall

App Store Optimisation (ASO) & Mobile Traffic Monetisation (Presented by Lab Cave)

In case you missed him at the White Nights conference in Berlin last month (insert link to Iva’s White Nights blog -, Lab Cave CMO Enric Pedro will be back, sharing his knowledge on how to increase your app’s traffic and visibility.

Monday 18th March, 1:20pm-1:50pm, Room 2016, West Hall

Expanding the World of ‘Candy Crush’: A Postmortem on ‘Candy Crush Friends Saga’

As our data will tell you, Candy Crush Saga is one of the most successful gaming apps of recent years. This talk will provide insight into the ways King have maintained and expanded the franchise over the 6 years since the original release, paying particular attention to game design and art.

Monday 18th March, 10:00am-11:00am, Room 2016, West Hall

The Year in Mobile Games: 2019 Edition

Kicking off the Mobile Summit, which spans the first 2 days of GDC, is the annual review of the mobile games industry - giving you the comprehensive guide on everything iOS, Android and more. Who knows, it might even help you sort out those knowledge blind spots and avoid any embarrassment over a coffee with colleagues.

Monday 18th March, 11:20am-12:20pm, Room 210, South Hall

Evolving Mixed Reality: Designing on the Real World

Mixed reality apps are no longer a fanciful, futuristic concept. Arguably thrust into the mainstream by Pokemon Go, new AR apps continue to flood app stores and improve in quality. This lecture will give AR content creators and game developers the tools to contribute to this growth themselves.

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However, if you find yourself distracted by the myriad of game demos or get a bit too comfortable relaxing in the new Gardens space, and only find time in your schedule for one speech, be sure to make it this one...

Tuesday 19th March, 10:00am-11:30am, Room 155, South Hall

Google Keynote (Presented by Google, Inc.)

Last month we started getting excited about rumours that Google was preparing to launch a ‘Netflix for games’ subscription service that will allow users to stream console-quality games to cheaper hardware. Although little information has been officially released by Google, this new technology (only one part of their larger gaming venture, known as ‘Project Yeti’) has already been labelled as ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘a game changer’. Make sure you join us in the room for this potentially industry-shaking announcement!

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