GDC 2022 attendance was down 59% from pre-COVID shows

GDC 2022 attendance was down 59%

Despite the event returning in-person for the first time in years, we’ve learned GDC 2022 attendance was down 59% from pre-COVID shows.

The annual Game Developers Conference is held in San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, and has been held every year since 1988 – except the several years when the entire world shut down under COVD-19 concerns.

It’s worth noting while the city of San Francisco finally dropped its mandate for large events to require COVID-19 shots, they let events and other organizations still require them if they choose to do so. It’s possible this alongside lingering travel restrictions led to in-person participation being so low this year at the convention.

The Game Developers Conference still required at least two COVID shots and a negative test, or two COVID shots and a booster shot to attend this year. Individuals who haven’t received COVID shots or who had the disease naturally and recovered weren’t allowed to attend.

In comparison, other cities, countries, and events have allowed attendees to provide proof of natural immunity to COVID in lieu of the shots, but most have also completely dropped any requirements for COVID shots or boosters.

Other big games industry events like Gamescom 2022 and Tokyo Game Show 2022 have made no mention of COVID shot requirements, and are thus likely not needed.

While the show organizers officially announced attendance totaled around 17,000 people this year, notes 5,000 of those attendees were only attending virtually, so the actual figure is only 12,000 people. So, GDC 2022 attendance was down 59% from pre-COVID shows.

Alongside the show wrapping up last week is news that GDC will be returning once again to the Moscone Center from March 21st through the 25th, in 2023.


Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic

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