GDC + VRDC@GDC 2018 Session Scheduler

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by pass type, track, and format. With this Session Scheduler, you can build your schedule in advance and access it during the show via export or with the Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

  • Sponsor Speaker:
    Marja Koopmans (Amazon)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit
    Topic: Monetization
    Format: Sponsored Dev Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Mobile gaming competition is increasingly becoming a global sport. Hear Marja Koopmans, Director Mobile Esports at Amazon, discuss the future of mobile gaming and how Amazon is working with developers to build community and connect players through competitive play.
  • Summit Speakers:
    Matthew Weise (Fiction Control), Clara Fernandez-Vara (NYU Game Center), Dietrich Squinkifer (Concordia University), Laura Hall (Timberview Productions), Anna Megill (Remedy Entertainment), Leighton Gray (Game Grumps), Chris Bell (Independent)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Game Narrative Summit
    Format: Session
  • Speakers:
    Phill Alexander (Miami University), Ryan Stevenson (USC Games)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Design
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Esports Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    In this session, Phill Alexander will present his experience as co-director and the faculty lead for Varsity Esports at Miami University (the first division 1 school to offer varsity esports). He'll cover how they developed and implemented their varsity program for 'League of Legends', 'Hearthstone', and 'Overwatch', what the current varsity esports scene looks like, and offer a look into the future of varsity esports. Also in this session, USC Games student and esports club organizer Ryan Stevenson will speak about the work that goes into running a local student player community, and the importance of communication and collaboration in order for it to grow.
  • Speakers:
    Marcus Graham (Twitch), Morgan Romine (AnyKey), Scott Smith (Independent), T.L. Taylor (MIT)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Esports Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    The current esports landscape holds tremendous potential but it also at times falls prey to hype that keeps it from tackling tough issues. This session will offer frank discussion, rooted in deep experience, to address head-on a number of important topics that often get buried in popular coverage (or marketing decks). Bringing together several foundational esports professionals for a conversation geared toward improving the future of competitive gaming, the session will look at esports history and roots for key lessons. Drawing on their rich experience in helping build and grow esports from its earliest days, the panelists will tackle critical topics including the relationship between grassroots communities and commercialized esports, broadcasting growth and challenges, understanding current audiences and extending them, as well as issues around labor and player associations.
  • Speaker:
    Andrew Curley (Daybreak Game Company)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Esports Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    For Andrew Curley's master's thesis at SMU Guildhall, he analyzed survey responses from over 1,000 'Overwatch' esports fans using a model from traditional sports research. Through this analysis, he was able to identify and create two overarching
    motivations that specifically drive 'Overwatch' esports viewership.Come learn how the approach he took to study 'Overwatch' can be applied to other games as a reliable way to validate and correct business and design decisions when it comes to growing an esports title. Andrew plans to apply this method to his current project, 'H1Z1', as Daybreak Games has recently announced the creation of an official Pro League for the game.
  • Sponsor Speakers:
    Nikita Sherman (Game Insight), Pascal Clarysse (Eden Games), Jesse Cherry (nWay)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit
    Topic: Monetization
    Format: Sponsored Dev Day
  • Speaker:
    Rick Thiher (Twitch)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Esports Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Celebrating the drive of competitive players is the backbone of tournament ecosystems, but often isn't the primary focus of esports events. What does it mean to produce an esports gathering that isn't designed around viewership? What does it mean for brands aligned with the space? How does it serve the experiences of the player base and the culture? Is there value in refinement over growth? Twitch Event Director, Rick Thiher, will explore how the events he helped develop, particularly the fighting game convention Combo Breaker in Illinois, have helped empower communities by celebrating and improving niche activities. He will share how his goal has, and will continue to be, improving event experiences that instill camaraderie and create life-long community members; so that one day the culture is pervasive enough to support non-endemic fandom. It's a goal he'd like to see shared in esports at large.
  • Speaker:
    James Murff (Simplikation)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topics: Design, Business & Marketing
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Esports Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Esports is a burgeoning field, perhaps even a genre. But with so much competition, how do you ensure your game grows a competitive scene? How do you make the jump to esports tournaments? This session will discuss the basics of building a strong competitive foundation for your game. With such a foundation, building a player base and making the transition from "great competitive game" to "esports title" will be smooth and, hopefully, successful!
  • Speaker:
    Latoya Peterson (The Undefeated)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Design
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Esports Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    As esports grows, patterns are emerging where the industry is seeing a growing divide between PC based games (payments/prize pools/sponsorship) and console focused games, which has interesting implications for the racial demographics of who gets to play and who gets to get pro. This session will discuss this critical juncture in esports and examine how inequality manifests in the space even from unlikely connections.
  • Speaker:
    Ryan Garfat (ESPN Esports)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Esports Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    This session will present an overview of the traditional sports world coming into the esports scene with big money investments, specifically in regard to 'Overwatch' League and 'League of Legends'. ESPN.com Senior Writer, Darin J. Kwilinski, will discuss the timeline that got the industry to this point, the names involved, the teams, how involved these traditional outlets are in the scene, is/was it needed, and what it means for esports.
  • Speakers:
    Marty Strenczewilk (Splyce), Todd Merry (Delaware North)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Esports Day

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Splyce has been partnered with the Boston Bruins for almost 9 months now. Through that partnership they have seen first hand how companies from two different industries can find synergy, and where the challenges arise in working between sports and esports. In this session, the Splyce team will explore how esports is utilizing traditional sports infrastructure to grow the grassroots into the global, as well as how traditional sports is using esports to resonate with a new generation of entertainment consumers.
  • Speaker:
    Al Yang (NEOBards)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Production & Team Management
    Format: Tutorial
    Tutorials: Producer Bootcamp
  • Summit Speaker:
    Mike Sheetal (PlayBrain Inc.)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits
    Topic: Community Management Summit
    Format: Session
  • Sponsor Speaker:
    Jacob Navok (Genvid Technologies, Inc.)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Sponsored Session

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Developers are beginning to look at esports and livestreaming not just as a way to market their product to gamers, but as a way to reach and monetize a new audience of spectators. What kind of game designs will result from this new era? What technologies are needed to get spectators excited and interactive? And how will the game industry grow as a result? The past, present and future of games will be discussed alongside live demos.
  • Speaker:
    Will Bucher (Debevoise & Plimpton)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Session
  • Speaker:
    Kosuke Yabuki (Nintendo)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference
    Topic: Design
    Format: Session

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Spring-loaded fists hurled like rockets. Body blows from boomerangs, parasols, and robot birds. Up to four players juking and jiving in kaleidoscopic arenas. 'ARMS' is anything but run-of-the-mill. How do you make a family-friendly fighter that’s also rich and rewarding for serious players? Craft motion controls to excite esports pugilists? Nintendo’s Kosuke Yabuki, who directed 'Mario Kart 7' and 'Mario Kart 8' and served as producer on both 'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe' and 'ARMS', will talk about the challenges of creating a genre-bending fighting game for a brand-new platform. What lessons can a kart-racer offer a brawler that has players throwing corkscrew punches like tennis players volleying missiles? How do you ensure function follows form, using the Nintendo Switch system’s motion controls in ways that feel as natural and responsive as tapping buttons? And what’s the story behind a world where protagonists’ fists come unglued from their forearms anyway?
  • Speakers:
    Leroy Athanassof (Ubisoft), Geoffroy Mouret (Ubisoft Montreal)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference
    Topic: Design
    Format: Session

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Since its launch two years ago, Rainbow Six Siege has seen its playerbase steadily increasing. As the game's population grows older, making sure its gameplay remains fresh and interesting is vital but also challenging when dealing with a steady flow of new players and a growing eSport scene. While data-driven game design is well-suited for this kind of situation, we quickly realized that it takes far more than just report when it comes to balancing a Live game. We would like to present how taking an analytical approach has changed our design processes and not only helped us make insightful game changes, but enabled us to define the strategy for the brand's future.

    Firstly by showing WHY we are balancing and constantly pushing new changes:
    We believe that without any content input, competitive players fix the meta-game by min/maxing. Therefore, since it's only a matter of time before the meta becomes frozen for everyone, balancing is a way to ensure that the game is always evolving

    We also explain WHO we are balancing for:
    This is crucial when it comes to handling data and defining context. There are many types of players in Siege, and thus a lot of ways to play it. Contrary to the common assumption, we are not balancing the game for competitive players, we are balancing it WITH them FOR our advanced player base. We believe that every siege players has the potential to improve and therefore we want to balance for their future.

    Finally, we would like to insist on HOW we are doing this process:
    Corroborating the designers' game knowledge with in-game data allows us to optimize the impact of change on both balancing and player satisfaction. Through multiple iterations, we also realized that there is no clear correlation between the cost of the feature and the impact it has on the metagame. For example changing the amount of a shield hit points has completely redefine the meta while adding a new hero (heavy feature), sometime doesn't change anything in the game. We attached a video with a concrete exemple of this aspect.

    In the end, we believe that the collaboration between designers and analysts is key to the success of maintaining a live game and pushing new content. That's why in Rainbow Six Siege, there is no more Design team on one side and an Analytics team of the other side. Both teams are embedded together in a single entity working together on the whole creative process, from conception to release and live maintenance of a feature.
  • Sponsor Speaker:
    Erik Archer Smith (Treasure Data)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit, Student Expo Pass, VRDC@GDC Add On
    Topic: Monetization
    Format: Sponsored Session

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Since 2007 the gaming world evolved as mobile, DLC and microtransactions exploded. A new generation of game companies was born by taking a data-first approach and tracking / monetizing user behavior both in-game and out.
    In 2018, the market is shifting again with eSports, AR and VR; this time the opportunity is even bigger. Now it's BOTH player + fan experience that can be capitalized on, but you have to know how. In this talk, we'll look at real world examples of how companies are using data to better understand their players and fans to increase revenue across their portfolio.
  • Speaker:
    Bryce Blum (Catalyst Sports)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Session
    Tutorials: N/A

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    2018 will go down in history as the dawning of the modern era of esports. From the advent of franchised leagues to the growth of non-endemic sponsorships, the esports industry is finalizing its transition from serving solely as a marketing engine for the underlying games to an independently monetizable set of spectator sports. This session will provide an overview of the esports industry, and dive deeply into the power dynamics and economic relationships between all key stakeholders. In particular, it will focus on the role of the publisher in building, supporting, and growing the sports of the 21st century.
  • Speaker:
    Yauheni Hladki (StarLadder)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference
    Topics: Design, Production & Team Management
    Format: Poster Session

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    A statistical look at luck and skills in "traditional" sports vs esports. This session will discuss why it's so much harder to predict winners in esports than in traditional sports.
  • Sponsor Speaker:
    Jeff Lyndon (iDreamsky)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Sponsored Session
    Tutorials: N/A
  • Speakers:
    Stephanie Llamas (Superdata Research), Andrew Paradise (Skillz Inc.)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit
    Topic: Production & Team Management
    Format: Sponsored Session
  • Speaker:
    Steve Martin (Riot Games)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference
    Topics: Business & Marketing, Production & Team Management
    Format: Session

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Riot has spent the last 5+ years scaling 'League of Legends' Esports to match the passion shown by their players, resulting in a thriving ecosystem of global leagues, teams, and events with a worldwide fan-base. This talk describes the evolution of Riot Esports from inception to present day from a product and engineering perspective. Attendees will walk away with a thorough understanding of the history of Riot Esports engineering, the unique challenges and complex problems their teams continue to solve, how Esports products are built from the ground up to serve a global fan base, and early thoughts on future product direction.
  • Sponsor Speakers:
    Steven Ekstract (UBM), Ben Elliott (Warner Bros.), Careen Yapp (Mixed Dimensions and Women in Games), Russell Binder (Striker Entertainment)
    Pass Types: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Educators Summit, Indie Games Summit
    Topic: Business & Marketing
    Format: Sponsored Session
    Tutorials: N/A

    Matches Found in Session Description:

    Gaming remains one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the $118.3 billion entertainment licensing industry. This session provides an introduction to product licensing for gaming, AR/VR, eSports, and influencers. Together, we'll outline how to develop new streams of revenue through product development and partnerships with manufacturers and distributors. Industry insiders will share their expert insight, successes, and failures in this evolving marketplace experiencing exponential growth.