Gamedev.world, a nonprofit group dedicated to creating online events for game developers, has announced that it will raise money for indie game developers affected by the postponement of next month’s Game Developers Conference.
Moments ago, the GDC announced that it will postpone the 29,000-person conference this March because of the spread of the coronavirus, which prompted many of GDC’s biggest sponsors and attendees to pull out over the last couple of weeks.
And so Gamedev.world, which last year staged a global online-only game conference that was translated in real time to eight different languages, is creating what it calls its GDC Relief Fund for “marginalized developers affected by event cancellations.” One of the organizers of Gamedev.world is Rami Ismail, cofounder of game studio Vlambeer and executive director at Gamedev.world.
The fundraising event will happen from March 27 to April 3, featuring a Pay-What-You-Want games bundle, a public game jam, and free online live talks and Q&A translated in the worlds’ largest languages.
“Even in the early stages of organizing these efforts, we can tell from the response to the initiative that the entire industry is concerned about the repercussions that current events have had on marginalized developers in our international community,” said Ismail in a statement. “As we continue to organize these efforts, we’re heartened by the solidarity and excitement among all layers of the industry to support those who are affected most by the heartbreaking cancellation of such a central event in our industry. While there is no way to replace all the opportunities of the Game Developer’s Conference, we hope to help alleviate and minimize the loss of opportunity and the financial damage to those that had hoped to attend.”
Gamedev.world said that many marginalized developers are worried that they’ve invested what sometimes comes down to years of savings into an event that will not happen. The combination of the uncertain circumstances surrounding the virus and the high risk and cost of health care in the United States has caused many developers from around the world to reconsider travel, but many feel beholden to their itinerary due to the sizable investments they’ve made.
Whether the tickets for the event itself will be refunded or not is unclear. But Gamedev.world said that many developers around the world won’t have a way to refund their visas, lodging, and travel costs. Many worry that they do not just lose the opportunity of attending this years’ conference but also the possibility to reroute the funds spent to other opportunities throughout the year.
“We’ll be raising donations throughout, and every single dollar the event makes will go toward our partners at the GDC Relief Fund and the marginalized developers most affected by these cancellations,” the group said.
To further support that fundraiser, Gamedev.world is also organizing a bundle and game jam in collaboration with itch.io. All submitted games — whether resulting from the jam or from developers that have made their existing games available — will be made available as a Pay-What-You-Want bundle, with all proceeds going toward the same goals of alleviating the financial burden of the developers most affected by these events.
Renee Gittins, executive developer of the International Game Developers Association, issued the following statement:
The IGDA strives to ensure game developers can successfully pursue their dreams. We support the personal growth of game developers, the betterment of the game industry, and also work to help developers overcome the many challenges in the industry and the world.
With the effect of COVID-19 on conferences and international travel, many companies and developers have not only lost business opportunities and access to valuable talks, but their critical funds invested in travel, booth space, and passes to pursue these opportunities. In light of this, the IGDA would like to announce a partnership with GameDev.World to support both affected and all developers worldwide.
The IGDA is partnering with GameDev.World’s online event and fundraiser to alleviate the financial burdens on developers affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. In addition to providing financial relief, this event will supply education opportunities via free talks about important game development subjects. Attendees across the globe will be able to hone their expertise and knowledge.
The IGDA is also partnering with Take This, a trusted leader in mental health practice in the game industry, to develop new materials and standards of support and professionalism to ensure the success of developers. This partnership will provide trusted resources for sustainable development practices by improving human resource practices and leadership development across the game industry.
We are proud to be a leading voice of the game development community as we come together to aid those in our industry in the pursuit of their dreams. Both of these partnerships will support game developers around the globe in achieving fulfilling and sustainable careers, and should lessen the burdens created by these recent events.
For more information about GameDev.World’s efforts, please visit: https://gamedev.world/relief/