GDC under the Trump administration

GDC is a dream come true to many student game designers, especially some who currently attend Bradley University, like me. But it will be different this year under the Trump administration.

GDC, or Game Developers Conference, commences in a week in San Francisco. Professional game developers will come to learn and network amongst other game developers. The week-long conference features an expo, networking opportunities, award shows and a wide range of lectures and tutorials by professionals.

We know Trump’s immigration ban has affected countless people, from temporary workers to students. We also know Trump’s ban has impacted tech companies like Google, which hires talented foreign workers.

The immigration ban has affected game developers, especially some who were planning to attend GDC. Regardless if they had already bought their GDC tickets (which can range from $80 to $2,400 based on the amount of access), many developers will be canceling their plans to travel to San Francisco. Fortunately, GDC organizers are understanding to the unfortunate situation and are assuring refunds for the developers.

This sucks, especially for those who have paid and waited for this highly-anticipated event only to be impacted by Trump’s immigration order. I would be devastated to finally have a chance to attend GDC and meet big-time developers only to find out I was denied entrance to the US.

Developers of known companies, like Insomniac Games and Playdots, are voicing their opinions against Trump’s immigration ban and are showing support towards the game developers who were hoping to attend GDC this year.

In fact, Devolver Digital’s co-founder, Mike Wilson, decided to have a section of the company’s showcase zone used for developers who are unable to attend GDC, so they can still display their own work without having to attend.

I am glad to see companies are not only showing their generous support to those who are struggling against Trump’s immigrant ban, but they are also contributing in various ways, such as encouraging people to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union.

I believe games can bring people together, allowing players and developers to enjoy the games and work together to make games better for everyone. It’s upsetting that something like Trump’s immigrant ban could create barriers, but seeing leaders in the game industry trying their best to keep bridges connected rather than setting more obstacles is inspiring.