At the close of the 2008 Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year we heard rumblings that change was in store for the industry event. After achieving a record setting 18,000 attendees, about 1,000 of which were press, event coordinators are contemplating an invite only stance to the media.
Speaking with Kotaku, GDC event director Jamil Moledina expressed his fear for the industry learning event, "I am concerned that if we don't focus on what makes GDC work we will face some complications down the road." To alleviate those fears, GDC is considering changes to who will be allowed to cover the 2009 event from the show floor.
While other industry professionals lineup to question the validity of press presence, we're reminded of the invite changes made to the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) and Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) to streamline the event coverage.
When the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced two years ago that they would be downsizing E3, slashing the number of attendees and only allowing invited press to attend, a fear within the industry became public.
What if the invited press, which are selected by participating publishers and developers and an ESA created master list, were selected purely based on their positive coverage? Would an outlet that had been negative toward anything in the past have their invitation lost in the mail?
While, based on what we saw at E3 2007, this fear was not apparent but the recent changes to DICE and, seemingly, pending changes to GDC are making us put our tinfoil hats back on in paranoia for what it could mean for unbiased press coverage.