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Game Developers Conference Makes Less of an Impact on the Environment

bike valet

SAN FRANCISCOFrom partnering with the City Bike Share program to organizing walking tours to being powered by renewable energy, this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC), an Informa show, held in San Francisco March 18-22 at the Moscone Center focused on sustainability. Its efforts had a positive social and environmental impact on the game industry, the city of San Francisco and the larger global community.

Approximately 30,000 registered attendees were on hand as well as 1,000 speakers across 730 sessions, workshops and roundtable discussions. More than 300 game industry companies exhibited.

GDC is committed to reducing the event’s carbon footprint and bringing attention to climate change issues to produce a more sustainable event.

Attendees were encouraged to do their part by contributing to a carbon offset related to their travel.

GDC also collaborated with the venues and general service contractors it used to compile data on the waste produced by events and the amount of electricity used. Studying this data will help GDC improve year after year.

Related. Sustainability is the Theme of This Year’s Global Exhibitions Day

Signage was printed on recyclable materials whenever possible. In addition, multiple-use carpet was used, and aisle carpet was eliminated. While the bulk of aisle carpet does get returned to inventory for reuse, it’s inevitable that some makes its way to landfill. Additionally, the carpet that is returned to inventory is professionally cleaned, usually with petroleum-based solutions, and emissions are exhausted from the trucks that transport the carpet to and from the warehouse to the show site. As part of GDC’s commitment to achieving a net zero carbon event, eliminating aisle carpet is one step in that direction.

Energy Star-rated projectors, monitors and speakers were used as well as LED lighting. Attendee bags were replaced with paperless digital tote bags to reduce waste.

Partners who take sustainability seriously were selected and include the Moscone Center and Freeman.

A bike valet was available for free, managed by San Francisco Bike Coalition, to encourage attendees to ride bikes to and from events. GDC also partnered with the City Bike Share program to offer each attendee a $5 credit for classic bike and e-bike rentals during the week of GDC.

Moscone Center has a dedicated bike lane in front. In addition, a map of bike lanes from area hotels to the center was available. Several hotels in the area also had bicycles on hand for guests.

The GDC Travel Together program helped attendees form networking walking groups.

An on-site sustainability lounge was where attendees could learn more about GDC’s sustainability measures and meet its first ever sustainability partners: WeMade, Gala Games, and Freeman.

GDC 2024 also included a variety of talks about climate issues and sustainability, including Concrete Climate Action in the Games Industry: What Should Your Studio Do Today?Building a Climate Resilient Games Industry Roundtable, and Educators Summit: Prototyping Afrofuturism, Abolitionism, and Climate Justice Through Games Education.

A full-day climate crisis workshop entitled, Climate Crisis Workshop: Use Your Game Developer Superpowers to Fight The Climate Crisis, was held for all attendees. The third time this interactive workshop was held, it focuses on teaching teams and individuals how to integrate climate change and climate resilience messaging into their games.

At the end of the event, attendees were asked to drop off their badges at registration, as GDC provides recycling for the full badge and lanyard. There were also bins for them as well.

GDC will be back at the Moscone Center next year, March 17-21.

“GDC exists to give developers a space to meet, network and learn. The need for that connection has never been more urgent. We were gratified to witness first-hand as aspiring developers and veteran game makers convened to share their knowledge and ambitions to create the amazing games that we will enjoy in the years ahead,” Stephenie Hawkins, GDC Event Director, said.

Reach Stephenie Hawkins at

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