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Question Regarding GDC Passes

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A bit of background first; I'm a graduate from one of those silly art schools which offer a prep year-and-a-half course in Game Programming. And if the previous sentence's demeanor didn't tip you off, I feel like I got jipped -- but I'm not going to get into that, old news. So anyways, I've been working at a company outside of the game industry full time, programming, for aprox. 16 months, and have moved up the ranks rather quickly thanks to my work ethic and attitude. Still, as much as I love programming, my sights are still set on breaking into the games industry, and am pretty confident in myself and my abilities to learn and adapt myself to it. Oh yeah, also, I'm 22 and located smack dab in the middle of Vancouver (although more specifically, Burnaby). So in short, I know next to nothing (still a new guy), but at least I'm a crazy-hard worker; and a little crazy, but who isn't these days. Now, don't worry; I'm not going to ask how to break into the games industry. Sadly (or gladly, depending on how you view it), I have a much easier and far more trivial question to ask: (Question): What pass to GDC should I get? Or rather, in your opinion, which would you suggest? All Access Pass - $795 CAD Main Conference Pass - $550 CAD Game Career Seminar Pass - $149 CAD Additional details on each pass can be found at: http://www.gdc-canada.com/attend/passes.html My main source of my confusion lies in the Game Career Seminar; something that I'm interested in, which surprisingly isn't offered under the Main Conference Pass. Because of this I'm a bit torn: I want to check out the Game Career Seminar, but the Pass doesn't allow for much. Ideally I should get the All Access Pass, however my budget would be very tight for the next few months (although workable), and as this is my first real foray into the industry (or rather, my first expo/conference of any kind), I'm worried it could overwhelm me. I've read through countless tutorials and articles posted, as well as Tom Sloper's wonderful, wonderful collection (which ended up being the deciding point on whether to go this year for me), but it's not the same as actually getting yourself out there. So, needless to say, I'm pretty revved for checking everything out and networking myself out there, and hopefully finally breaking into the industry that got me into Programming and Game Design in the first place, following my passion, and all that jazz. So, a simple question worded elaborately long: which would you suggest I get?

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I have never been to GDC, though I have been to the Austin GDC (now called GDC Online or something). At the time I didn't have a job in the games industry and was hoping that GDC Ausitn might provide some opportunities, though this wasn't my reason for attending. I would say that the Careers Expo was by for the most valuable aspect from this point of view, as it allows you to meet HR representitives in person, and over you CV, and make a good impression. The careers seminars on the other hand were largely just the kind of material you can find online (you've already seen Tom Sloper's page).

I should point out that I didn't land a job as a result, but the main reason was that it was mainly US companies which would have required a work visa. I did get some promising leads from Canada which I didn't follow up as I landed a job in the UK. I feel confident I could have found a job if the visa wasn't an issue, and I'm sure it would have come from handing out my CV in company booths rather than attending the seminars.

So in short, spend you money on the cheapest pass which gets you into the Careers Expo. You will only need one day (if that is an option). Any other money you spend will be interesting but non-essential.

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I'm confused as the game career seminar is offered under almost all the passes. I am going with a tutorials and summits pass (HOPEFULLY THEY NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS! :'(...) and staying till the career seminar.

Are you sure you're looking in the right place?


If you have the money, I'd go all access. Even though you might be going primarily to get a job, the tutorials/summits and the main conference have a load of great discussions that really will help you as a developer.

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Thank you for the quick, and speedy, response!

That's definitely solid advice, and I really appreciate it. To be honest, the way they're describing the Game Career Seminar, it's that its focus is on networking new people into the industry -- something I'm always interested in.

I'm not expecting to get a job, but rather to meet interesting people, see neat things, and just enclose myself with as much 'culture' as I can. Put simply, it's my attempt to push myself off a cliff directly into the industry. Exciting and scary at the same time. So just about everything offered is of high value and use to me I believe. I'm interested in seeing what other people suggest as well.

Once again, thank you for the response.


Ahh, sorry. This is my bad. I'm specifically referring to GDC Canada, which is in May. I was under the impression the seminar was offered under the Main Pass as well until I went to double check just a few hours ago.

I have to say though, the All Access Pass is extremely enticing, with access to keynotes and workshops from previous years, so I may just go with it; although my wallet's not going to like it. Thanks for the great suggestion!

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Sorry for reviving this, however I'm still having trouble deciding.

It's funny how caught up I am in something so simple, but I'm at a loss still regarding which is worth more to me. So once again, apologies for the indecisiveness and just general newb'ness of my questions. Once again, the main question portion has been preceded by a Q: for easier identification.

Due to budget constraints, it comes down to this:

Main Conference Pass (CA$550.00)
Thursday (May 6th) - Friday (May 7th)

Get the best onsite experience at Game Developers Conference Canada.

The Main Conference Pass Includes:
- Access to over 40 sessions including lectures, panels, roundtables, and keynotes
- Access to the GDC Canada Expo Floor
- Access to all GDC Canada hosted events
- Access to Conference Proceedings (available online after event close)

Main Conference Pass DOES NOT Include:
- Game Career Seminar, Friday, May 7th
- Access to premium vault content, including video and audio recordings from all Game Developers Conferences from 2009-2010--including recorded content from the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Game Career Seminar Pass (CA$149.00)
Friday Only (May 7th)

Get into Games! Taking place on Friday, May 7th, this full day program is designed for students and individuals interested in learning how to break into the video-game industry.

Attendees will: network with industry professionals; meet with HR executives from leading game companies; and hear from top game developers and industry experts who will share their perspectives and insights.

The Game Career Seminar Pass Includes:
- Access to the Game Career Seminar
- Access to Game Career Seminar hosted events at GDC Canada
- Access to the GDC Canada Expo Floor (Friday only)
- Access to the GDC Canada Keynote (Friday only)

The Game Career Seminar Pass DOES NOT Include:
- Access to over 40 sessions including lectures, panels, roundtables
- Access to all GDC Canada hosted events
- Access to premium vault content, including video and audio recordings from all - Game Developers Conferences from 2009-2010--including recorded content from the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.


The issue, that I can't seem to get over, is that they present the Game Career Pass as being the definitive networking experience.

I don't doubt that they're dressing it up a lot, but it does sound enticing. Especially due to the cheaper price. Ideally though, I'd like to go both days (Thursday & Friday), and check out as many lectures / panels / roundtables and events as I can. As this is my first Expo / GDC, I'd like to get the most out of this that I can, but the Game Career Seminar sounds like the best networking opportunity.

So now, basically, I 'think' I've decided to go for the (CAD$550.00) Main Conference pass, but am worried I'm making the wrong decision.

Q: Which of the two do you, as assumed GDC vets (don't worry if you aren't), think is of greater value?

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