Venatus’ 5 Key Takeaways from GDC 2024!‍

Is GDC the new E3? 🤔🎮

April 15, 2024

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco has always been a hotspot for innovation and collaboration within the gaming industry, but this year they really took things to a new level. Without missing a beat, the Venatus team was there on the show floor, meeting with the beautiful people of San Francisco and coming away with powerful insights and memorable highlights. Without further ado, here are our top five takeaways from GDC 2024:

1. The new E3? 

One thing that our team could all agree on, it's really beginning to feel like GDC has evolved to fill the enormous gap left by E3 — a premier showcase not just for game developers but for big tech companies that are increasingly blending their technologies with gaming. This year, we saw significant presences from Meta, Google, Unreal Engine, Microsoft, and TikTok, among others. This showing-up made for countless exciting opportunities for Venatus to forge deeper relationships with both burgeoning indie developers and major players. 

Gareth and Tom love Fortnite.

2. A spotlight on small and medium-sized publishers

This year's GDC highlighted a shift towards small and medium-sized developers and studios, with monetization becoming an increasingly common theme across talks and panels. Clearly the word is getting out there that powerful monetization can turn their side-hustle into their main job.

Meeting with these up-and-coming publishers was made easy via the GDC app — a game-changer for booking and meeting clients, facilitating seamless interactions with publishers, and opening discussions around advertising opportunities in-game, around-the-game, and away-from-the-game.

Hanging out with the Discord team!

3. Browser games are bigger than ever

While it was no surprise to us (ahem, ahem), it’s great to see that the world is waking up to the fact that browser games are very much alive and thriving! 

Largely driven by the rising fees and frustration associated with app stores, mobile game developers are seeking alternate routes to get their games into players hands. On top of this, browsers are more powerful and capable than ever, meaning even complex games can now run smoothly in a humble browser tab. Venatus and AdinPlay had many conversations throughout the event, supporting publishers and developers in porting their projects and monetizing them effectively. 

AdinPlay, a Venatus company, is one of the few companies worldwide that specialize in ads for browser games. They monetize through top notch programmatic demand and powerful direct ad demand - delivered via in-game video ads, rewarded video ads, and banner ads — easily enabling developers and publishers to generate revenue without relying on app stores.

4. Big tech trends

Uh oh, it’s time for us to talk about everyone’s favorite topics: Web3 and AI. Seemingly everywhere, GDC was no exception — one billboard stood out, boldly claiming “WEB3 GAMING SUCKS” pulling in haters and believers alike to get the discussion going. 

With many emerging AI tools on display, it’s impressive and somewhat mesmerizing to see what’s rapidly becoming possible with minimal difficulty. However, we couldn’t help feeling like there’s still a long way to go before traditional game developers and designers need to worry. Open-world games with new AI-powered NPCs are still mind blowing though. Elder Scrolls VI anyone? Or will we have to wait until VII? 🤔

Big message = big crowd.

5. UGC is making waves, like it or not

As gaming advertisers, we know that UGC (user-generated content) is having an undeniable impact on the industry. We can’t think of many better ad methods for building communities on platforms like Roblox and Fortnite, but it’s clear that not everyone is on the same page. Larger, more traditional brands seem slow to learn from the successes of their industry peers — however, sessions like that hosted by NetEase, and their success with Eggy Party, are doing their best to bring everyone up to speed.

And there you have it! Whether we had the pleasure of meeting with you at GDC, or we didn’t get the chance, let’s get the conversation running. Reach out here.