GDC's postponement galvanizes the industry to come to the aid of indies 1

In an effort to stanch the bleeding caused by the postponement of the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) — a crucial event for indie game developers across the world — industry titan, Valve, and Game Awards host, Geoff Keighley, carry the torch for the indie game studios by launching a spring edition of the Steam Game Festival.

Aptly named The Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition, the event will run from March 18 until March 23 at 10 a.m. PDT and feature over 50 different indie game demos to download and play. And all completely for free.

The inaugural Steam Game Festival happened on December 12 and 13, 2019 alongside The Game Awards as a way to showcase indie games. The original roster included 14 indie game demos that could be played for 48 hours at no charge as a way to increase eyes on each game. Now, the Spring Edition of the event will showcase over 50 different indie games that would have otherwise demoed at GDC through the events of these organizations: the Indie Megabooth, Day of the Devs, and The MIX. A new addition for the Steam Game Festival is the WINGS Fund; games label, WINGS Interactive, took the initiative to partner with others in the industry and spearhead the establishment of the GDC Relief Fund as a response to COVID-19’s havoc on the indie game development scene.

“For an indie developer, attending GDC is a significant investment, not only on a financial level, but also with the time invested in travelling, preparing demos and pitches — all in hopes of meeting key partners, learning and sharing with industry peers. GDC’s postponement due to COVID-19 health concerns will strongly impact that investment.”

“Supported developers will be selected according to the estimated impact of the postponement on their organisations and the financial hardship they are experiencing.”

The WINGS Fund gives another opportunity for indies directly impacted by COVID-19 to pitch their games and offers these developers a life-raft in this tumultuous time. Already, the fund has raised $76,500 USD in a few short days.

The Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition features not only a plethora of unique games that may otherwise have never been booted up past a developer’s screen, but also a segment called “Watch the Developer Play,” a live broadcasting of the games being played by the developers themselves. No matter your level of interest in indie games, we are reminded of our shared humanity in these times: clear are the faces behind the games and the immense dedication that goes into creating them, as are the reactions of the community and the efforts to support one another in hardship. We are all in this together, so while you’re cooped up in your house, apartment, or whatever it may be, give some of your attention to these hidden gems and those who pour their life into making sure we have a way to heal from our own.

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