The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the largest annual gathering of professional video game developers in the world, and the pinnacle for showcasing industry excellence. It’s only natural, then, that Wales’ biggest and brightest games companies would want – and deserve – to attend the conference that focusses on learning, inspiration, and networking. 

Launched in 1988 as the Computer Game Developers Conference, the event is a must for industry professionals seeking to attract attention, support, promotion and credibility. For the last few years, the conference has been held in San Francisco and attracted more than 29,000 game industry professionals in 2019 alone. They all come together to attend an expo, networking events, awards shows and a variety of tutorials, lectures, and roundtables led by industry heavyweights covering topics such as programming, design, audio, production, business and management, and visual arts.

The Welsh contingent of creative industries has attended for several years as part of the wider UK and Ireland team. In 2017, Wales decided to branch out to run a dedicated Welsh Pavilion stand. It gave both the Welsh Government and the creative industries team at the time, important exposure. The stand was distinct in having an open environment, so conference attendees were able to easily network with the Welsh studios and professionals, and a total of £2.6m worth of deals were recorded from activity at the 2019 conference.

Interesting in joining? Welsh studios can apply to attend the conference and receive a heavily sponsored package from us to break down the barriers and gain access to this very lucrative event. Visit Business Wales for more information and advice about attending. (2024 applications now closed).

Two people dressed all in black viewing a screen at the Games Developer Conference
Two people dressed in black talking in front of a black display at the Games Developer Conference
In 2019 the GDC attracted more than 29,000 game industry professionals. 

A cost-effective way of visiting a world-renowned trade show, participating companies can benefit from networking and engagement with key businesses and decision-makers in the market, share knowledge and information with other participants, get inclusion in any marketing materials, and receive access to business matchmaking systems to organise meetings before travel.

Having a physical presence at these events to demonstrate their video games gives studios the best opportunities to showcase their products and secure either investment or find a distributor for the game. For more advanced studios, such as Penarth-based Wales Interactive, it can create much-needed exposure and create pre-orders.

It can be difficult to source finance deals in the video games industry so attending events such as the GDC is crucial for companies that are at the point in development where securing deals can take them to full commercial release. 

The Welsh Government subsidy to assist companies to attend is crucial, as attending these events individually could be prohibitive from a financial point of view for small studios. With the recent inclusion of video gaming within our production funding, we are now able to look for potential leads to encourage video game companies to consider Wales as a potential business location.

Check out some of the achievements over the past few years of attending the conference:

  • Between 2015-2019, companies attending GDC have attracted £3m of deals done
  • In 2019, a Welsh games company – Goldborough Studio – won game of the show
  • In 2022, Wales was the only home nation to exhibit at the event
  • In 2023 we took our biggest delegation to date. Read more about the 17 companies that joined us at GDC.