GDC 2024: Exploring The Future Of Gaming Technology

GDC 2024: Exploring The Future Of Gaming Technology

Apr 2, 2024

Over the last few months, we’ve been hard at work building The Genies Tool Kit to create games and experiences in Genies Party - and especially for 3rd party developers and studios to use in the future. With this in mind, we decided it was time to make our way to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. As one of the largest conferences in the world for game developers, we sent our team of industry veterans and even some first-time attendees to see what trends are taking over.

The Community Looks Forward

With the ongoing waves of industry layoffs, it was a key talking point for everyone attending. However, the energy of the community was incredible to see, as folks were actively trying to help and support those who were affected. In particular, it felt like so many events were creating space to include individuals who were looking for their next opportunity. 

Especially for events, there seemed like a much larger push of community organized events to get back to the roots of GDC. This year’s Day of the Devs featured over 70 indie games, highlighting the hard work of passionate devs. One of our team’s favorite community events was the Merienda Mixer, hosted by Filipinos at Riot - bringing together the small community of Filipino folks in the industry. As a testament to the growth of communities, one of our own teammates even DJ’d the SF Game Development Meetup afterparty, which had grown from a small meetup of 30 people in 2019 to hosting events with over 1,500 attendees. Sponsored by Unity, HashiCorp, and Discord, the event took place at The Midway with over 40 indie game demos and tech talks throughout the night.

One of the coolest community shifts on the show floor has been the evolution of country pavilions to create shared spaces for studios and universities to showcase the best of their regions. Within the Moscone South Expo Hall, you could find Wales, Germany, and Japan amidst all of the tech and tools companies. As you journeyed through towards Moscone North, you could find a hallway full of pavilions - from Quebec and New York State to France, India, and Chile. It was exciting to see how these groups came together to collectively represent their home.

User Generated Content is Key

As we look at the power of communities, companies are creating more ways for user generated content (UGC) to thrive. With the success of Lego Fortnite, Epic Games is bringing Lego into UEFN, so that folks can start creating their own Lego themed Islands. In addition, within the expo floor, other companies have also been working on their own platforms to bring UGC to the average user. It’s not just about modding anymore - it’s enabling people to build whatever they can imagine.

In particular, Avatars are starting to become more of a focus for UGC. As the constant for any player, Avatars are the centerpiece of a user’s experience, and we were excited to see interest in our own Toolkit - from the aesthetics to the features and particularly how auto-rigging was playing a role in our ease of use. Across tools for UGC, AI tooling was displayed throughout the conference, leveraging prompts to create models and textures for 3D assets and even generating environments to make it easy to create.

The Trend of GDC 2024: AI

All of these AI tools at GDC bring us to our biggest takeaway: AI is here. In the last few years, we’ve seen the waves of new technologies sweep through the show floor. From XR to Web3, tools and products leveraging these technologies have retained segments of the expo floor. However, AI feels different - much different.

Ahead of GDC, A16Z announced their investment in Kaedim, who had their own booth on the expo floor. These tools will truly revolutionize the workflows of artists and developers - making it easier for folks to create individually or in small teams. While this has created additional stress on industry layoffs, it will be interesting to see how leaner teams will be able to build faster.

Build With Us Before GDC 2025

As the year continues, there’s a lot of potential for our Tool Kit, creating more opportunities for people to build in XR and games. It’s more than just a development kit - it’s a collection of avatar and AI tools to enable UGC and build incredibly immersive, personalized Experiences. From the tech we saw to the conversations we had, at GDC there was clear demand for what we’re building.

So let's reimagine the future of interacting with digital identity together - apply for our Developer Incubator today to build Experiences for Genies Party.