The big conferences are back, as the Game Developers Conference returns to Moscone Center

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An estimated 10,000 or more video game nerds – including the guy from Wordle – have converged on Moscone Center for the return of the annual Game Developers Conference, although the event is only expected to have about half of its normal attendance.

When the scaled-down Dreamforce conference returned to Moscone Center five months ago (apparently with more paid staff than in-person attendees), it wasn’t actually Moscone Center’s first pandemic conference. That accolade went to the annual conference of the California Dental Associations, which took place just after Labor Day 2021. But it’s still healing to see the Moscone Center once again become a conference venue, instead of the haven for incredibly inadequate homeless or mass vaccination site. was once the vaccines arrived.

Image: official GDC Flickr account

And check out the scene above, as the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) returned on Monday and remains in town until Thursday. The long queues are probably due to the fact that they check the status of vaccinations quite strictly.

Image: official GDC Flickr account

Considering the footage we see on the official GDC Flickr account, it doesn’t seem crowded at all for a major event at Moscone Center. Yes, these images are from the event’s hired and paid photographers, so they may not accurately reflect the actual safety compliance (or diversity) of the event. And Monday and Tuesday are sort of warm-up “summit” days, while keynote speakers are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, like Wordle creator Josh Wardle.

So Wednesday and Thursday might be more accurate reflections, but to the untrained eye, it seems like a safe and responsible event.

“We are enforcing strict vaccine and mask mandates, which include booster shots for everyone who is eligible to receive them,” GDC says of their COVID protocols. “The Moscone Center has enacted additional regulations, incorporating enhanced cleaning protocols, advanced air filtration, and an abundance of hand sanitizing stations available to everyone in their event space.

And of course, it’s a much smaller than normal GDC, even though games and game consoles have exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. “Attendance figures were not available on Monday, but visitors booked more than 12,000 hotel rooms,” according to the Chronicle. “Attendance is expected to be around 50% to 60% of pre-pandemic levels, which peaked at 29,000 people in 2019, said Katie Stern, vice president of media and entertainment markets at Informa, the organizer of the event. ‘event.” (It’s her above.)

And San Francisco could use the reputation upgrade that comes with people actually visiting here, rather than just watching an onslaught of partisan media coverage targeting the city during these years of locked-down COVID isolation. (The gambling industry also suffered reputational damage during this time.) And even though clubs and venues are understaffed, the city has to accommodate those sweet tourist dollars.

And dollars are definitely needed for this event. An Expo pass alone costs $349 and an All Access pass costs $2,199.

Related: Video: Fantastic Post-It Mural Hosts Game Developers Conference [SFist]

Top image: @Official_GDC via Twitter

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