Last week, event organizers officially announced that this year’s Game Developers Conference has been postponed at least to the summer. Even though the price of passes will be refunded and those who booked hotels through GDC will not pay penalties, many of the small indies and games businesses who have already paid for flights and other accommodation are severely affected, especially if their budgets are not as flexible. Many developers save the entire year to attend and count on the event to boost their business, all the cancelled meetings and missed opportunities are a big hit.

Painfully aware of the effects of this cancellation, a number of organizations are arranging relief efforts to help attendees that have been the most affected. We’ve collected here below some of the relief initiatives and alternative options you might want to look at if you are also affected by the cancellation or even if you were simply looking forward to the event and want to get some options of what to do instead.

We will try to keep this list updated as we learn about more opportunities. Please email us if you’re planning to support the indies affected or if you have additional information that should be added to this post.

Relief Funds

For those who already invested in GDC and are heavily impacted by the cancellation, there are a few Relief funds initiatives.

GDC Relief Fund

Wings Interactive has created the GDC Relief Fund aimed at indie game developers. The fund is open to all indie developers who had invested in attending GDC and recipients will be selected according to the estimated impact on their business.

GDC Relief Package

The team at Reboot Develop set up a GDC relief package. They offer 50x Conference Standard Passes and 20x Indie Expo Slots applicable to Reboot Develop conferences (Reboot Develop Blue in Dubrovnik, Croatia in April or Reboot Develop Red in Banff, Alberta in October). Applications are accepted until March 14th.

Local Alternatives

For those who are already in SF or cannot cancel their flights and accommodation, several teams are organizing local meet-ups during the time GDC was supposed to happen.

Plan B Project

The PLAN B Project is a gathering that will take place during the week of 16-20th March. They aim to provide an alternative for people who will still find themselves in San Francisco providing them a forum for talks and discussions, as well as networking time!


altGDC is a free three-day conference focused on game design and development and is taking place from March 16th to March18th.

Game Connection America

Game Connection is an international event for developers, publishers, distributors and service providers to find new partners. This is a deal making type of event, very business oriented and will take place March 16-17 at the Oracle Park and March 18-20 at the Tabletop Tap House. Today they reaffirmed that the conference will not be cancelled.

The Media Indie Exchange San Francisco 2020

The Media Indie Exchange is an event where developers have a chance to share their latest builds for press, streamers and the rest of the industry

Important note: the local alternatives are intended to make the best of an unfortunate situation. If you’ve already cancelled your GDC plans you might want to look into the online alternatives below.

Organizers advise to not plan to attend if:
– You are immunocompromised, or live with / have close contact with someone who is immunocompromised
– You are traveling from abroad and have concerns about US health care, or are otherwise concerned about travel in any way

If in doubt, please check in with your doctor.

Online Alternatives

A list of events and conferences that are purely online and you can attend safely from all over the world


NotGDC is an online-only conference that runs every year during the main event. They are welcoming speakers who still want to deliver their presentation through its website — either as a written article, podcast or video.

Spring Thing

Spring Thing is an annual online festival celebrating new interactive fiction from all kinds of people. This year it opens on April 2nd.


LudoNarracon is an online conference dedicated to narrative games fully hosted on steam. They have reopened submissions in line of the GDC cancellation.

Other Conferences

Conferences coming soon that you may want to consider if you’re looking to cover some of the learning gaps you are missing from GDC.

Nordic Game

The Nordic Game conference is one of the bigger game conferences in Europe held annually in Malmö, Sweden. The 2020 edition of Nordic Game will take place on 27-29 May at Slagthuset. Submissions for talks are still open until March 4th for main program and post mortem tracks, respectively March 27th for fast track.


If you were planning to attend the narrative summit, you might want to take a look at this small affordable conference focused on narrative games, adventures, and interactive fiction of all sorts! Conference is held on May 29-31st in Urbana-Champaign, IL.

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