Game Industry Conferences

Edit on Github | Updated: 29th October 2023

Introduction to Retro Games Industry conferences

When taking a historical look at the Games Industry one of the most important sources of information are the Conferences that were held to share information before the mainstream internet.

This page will talk about the main Game-related conferences that took place over the period of time that we classify as “Retro”, they roughly fit into two distinct categories:

  • Development - Conferences for Sharing Game Development Information (SIGGRAPH, GDC, Develop)
  • Showcase - Conferences for Showing off the latest Games and Gaming Hardware (CES, E3)

This table below lists all the conferences that we are aware about taking place up until 2007:

Conference Dates Category Notes
32XPOSED November 10th 1994 Development SEGA 32X Developer’s Conference
3DO Developer Conference 1992-1994 Development  
Gamer Developers Conference (GDC) 1988-Ongoing Development  
CES 1967-Ongoing Showcase  
Develop 2006-Ongoing Development UK Game development Conference
D.I.C.E. Summit 2002-Ongoing Development Stands for: “Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain”, mainly game design and buisness topics, not programming or 3d content creation
Dreamcast Developer’s Conference 1999 Development Dreamcast Developer’s Conference - Sega Retro
Saturn Developer’s Conference May 1994 Development DTS: The SEGA Developer’s ‘Game Mag’ – SHIRO Media Group
Sega DevCon 1995-1996 Development First one in March 14-17 1995
E3 1995-Ongoing Showcase  
Digital World Conference 1990-1995? Development  
Intertainment 1988-1993? Showcase ACE Issue 40 covers the November 1990 Intertainment Conference
xFest Aug 21st-23rd 2000 Development Microsoft Xbox Developer Conference
Quakecon 1996-Ongoing Development ID Software
Unite 2007-Ongoing Development Unity Technologies

In the sections below we will try to list any audio or video recordings we can find for the sessions, but bare in mind many of the early sessions will now be regarded as lost media.

GDC - Game Developer’s Conference

GDC stands for the “Game Developers Conference,” which is an annual event held for professionals in the video game industry. GDC serves as a hub for game developers, publishers, artists, programmers, designers, and other industry experts to come together to discuss, share, and learn about the latest trends, technologies, and practices in game development. The event includes a wide range of sessions, panels, workshops, and networking opportunities.

We have so much content on the GDC that was had to split this section out into its own post you can find it below:

Game Developers Conference (GDC) - Full list of historical sessions

For more information about the Gamde Developers Conference check out this post.


SIGGRAPH stands for “Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.” It is an annual conference and organization that focuses on computer graphics, interactive technology, and various related fields. SIGGRAPH is highly regarded in the computer graphics and interactive technology industry and is known for its conferences and publications.

SIGGRAPH is an interdisciplinary platform that covers a wide range of topics, including computer graphics, visual effects, gaming, virtual reality, computer-aided design, art, and more.

The conference features technical paper presentations where researchers and experts share their latest findings and innovations in the field. SIGGRAPH publishes research papers, proceedings, and a variety of resources that contribute to the advancement of computer graphics and interactive techniques.

The SIGGRAPH conference has a long history, dating back to the 1970s, and it continues to be a vital forum for sharing knowledge, showcasing innovations, and connecting professionals in the field of computer graphics and interactive technology.

They are not always related to game development but many real time rendering techniques used in modern games were first presented at SIGGRAPH.


The website Gamasutra (now Game Developer) posted an article about the 2000 version of the conference from a game develoer perspective, you can read it online here: Siggraph 2000 From a Game Development Perspective.

It discusses the new hardware and software for game development shown off at SIGGRAPH 2000 such as Sony’s GScube and the Xbox. Improv Technologies also demoed their new products, Orchestrate3D and Catalyst. The conference also featured presentations on new shading languages and rendering techniques.

D.I.C.E Summit

D.I.C.E stands for “Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain” and was first held from February 28th to March 1st, 2002 in the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas 1. The main focus is game design topics along with business rather than game programming or asset creation.

It is part of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences and they record the presentations which they would sell footage on DVD, but the modern conferences host the videos online for free.

D.I.C.E 2002

The first ever D.I.C.E Summit was held from February 28th to March 1st, 2002 in the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas 1.

The presentations that took place are listed in the table below:

Name Presenter Notes
“Laughing Matters” Lorne Lanning - President & Creative Director, Oddworld Inhabitants  
“Planning, Scheduling and Other Bad Habits of Game Development” Mark Cerny - President, Cerny Games  
“The Games People Play…For Money” Joe Kaminkow - Vice President, Engineering and Design, IGT  
“Differentiate and Innovate, Don’t Imitate” Bruce Shelley - Senior Designer, Ensemble Games  
“The DINO Project: Three Glorious Failures” Sid Meier - Chairman and Director of Creative Development, Firaxis Games  
“Attack of the Killer Sequels” Richard Garriott - CCO & Executive Producer, Destination Games  
“Designing for the Mass Market” Jason Rubin - President & Co-Founder, Naughty Dog  
“Invoking Emotions through Gameplay - The Present and the Future” David Freeman - Writer/Producer  
“Audience Developed Products - How to Involve the World” Will Wright - Chief Designer, Maxis  
“Can Music Make or Break Your Game?” Michael Giacchino - Edgewater Park Music  
“Games for the Rest of the World” (Roundtable) Bruno Bonnell, CEO, Infogrames; Larry Probst, CEO, Electronic Arts; and Brian Farrell, CEO, THQ  
“Is Corporate Creativity an Oxymoron?” (Roundtable) Cliff Bleszinski, Chief Designer, Epic Games; Louis Castle, General Manager, Westwood Studios; and American McGee, Chief Creative Officer, Carbon6 Entertainment  

The 2002 D.I.C.E. Summit DVD set was available for $250 to Academy members and $450 to non-members. The DVD was produced by Ziff Davis Media (who publish the GMR magazine).

Here is an Advert for the DICE Summit DVD from issue 1 of the US magazine GMR from February 2003, it has 4 DVDs which has 9 hours of presentations: DICE Summit DVD from GMR_01

Develop (Brighton)

The Develop conference, which is held in Brighton, UK, had its inaugural event in 2006. The conference focuses on the video game development industry and covers various aspects of game development, including programming, design, audio, and business. Since its inception, the Develop conference has become an annual event, providing a platform for professionals in the gaming industry to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and network.

Develop 2006

The first ever Develop conference was split into the following tracks:

  • Coding
  • Design
  • Production
  • Business
  • Art
  • Audio
  • The Next Wave

The sessions from Develop 2006 that we know about are listed in the table below:

Title Presenter Track Notes
Advance Programming Techniques on PlayStation Portable Igor Makaruks, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Coding  
Animating Emotion Ken Perlin Coding  
Connected mobile gaming on Java Matt Levy, SNAP Mobile & Markus Huttunen, SNAP Mobile Manager Coding  
Developing with PSSG, a PlayStation 3 optimised cross platform engine Richard Forster, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Coding  
DirectX 10 for Techies Nick Thibieroz, ATI Coding  
Lost in translation: The coder’s guide to team communication Jonathan Shaw & Tak Fung, Lionhead Studios Coding  
New Techniques for Lighting: From Theory to Practical Implementation Chris Doran, Geomerics Coding  
Next Generation Games with Direct3D10 Miguel Sainz, Nvidia Coding  
Optimize Your GPU with the Latest NVIDIA Performance Tools Raúl Aguaviva, NVIDIA Developer Tools Engineer Coding  
PlayStation 3: A Parallel Universe István Fábián, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Coding  
Profiling and Debugging Your Game with PIX on Xbox 360 Bruce Dawson, Microsoft Game Technology Group Coding  
Pros and Cons of Developing Your Own Middleware Andrew Oliver, Blitz Games Coding  
Shaders: The Sky is the Limit Sébastien Dominé, NVIDIA & Richard Stenson, Sony Computer Entertainment America Coding  
Software engineering: Games programming for large scale projects Jeremy Chatelaine, Electronic Arts Coding  
Xbox Live: Now and in the Future Jeff Sullivan, Microsoft Game Technology Group Coding  
ARG: immersive gaming for the mass market Adam Martin, MindCandy Game Design  
Design by democracy: How to keep your vision - while taking on board everyone else’s Peter Molyneux, Lionhead Studios Game Design  
Design DNA: 10 new game designs ideas from the past 12 months worth stealing Margaret Robertson, Edge magazine Game Design  
Designing new kinds of games for the masses David Amor, Paulina Bozek, Rob Kay, Michael French Game Design  
Everything you know is wrong: four new developments that will turn the MMOG world upside down Janus Anderson & Thomas Bidaux Game Design  
Games design room 101: Four designers each consign a game design horror to the dustbin Mike Goldsmit, Jonathan Smith, Simon Byron, Barringon Harvey, Peter Molyneux Game Design  
Hacking Through the Jungle: Interactive Storytelling Made Easy and Profitable Ernest Adams Game Design  
How to win battles and influence publishers Chris Deering & Jamie Macdonald Business  
Genre: dirty word or developer’s friend? Clive Fencott & Jo Clay, Strange Agency Business  
Global Directions: A Holistic View of Game Development Jason Della Rocca, IGDA Business  
I’m with the brand: Developers as the stars Alison Beasley, Miles Jacobson, Chris Lee, Mark Ward Business  
Leveling the Playing Field William Latham, Games Audit Business  
Money for Non-Suits Jonathan Smith, TT Games Publishing & Nicholas Lovell, GameShadow Business  
The Next Generation of Mobile Gaming Kay Gruenwoldt, Nokia Multimedia Business  
Sega - UK’s new Games Powerhouse Mike Simpson, The Creative Assembly, Guy Wilday, Racing Studio, Miles Jacobson, Sports Interactive Business  
Towards an industry standard publishing agreement: the TIGA Model Contract Vincent Scheurer Business  
Which Ferrari should I drive to work today? Andrew Eades, Relentless Software Business  
Why good online games go bad Frank Puranik, Director, Itheon Networks Business  
Audio Programming, Tools & Techniques For NexGen AAA Games John Broomhall, Andy Mucho, Nick Wiswell, Nick Laviers Audio  
Black: A Case Study Steve Root, Electronic Arts UK Audio  
Buy now, pay later! Dave Ranyard, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Sergio Pimentel, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Audio  
The Future of Audio in Interactive Entertainment: A Personal Vision Marty O’Donnell Audio  
PS3 Audio: Meet The Team Jason Page, Oliver Hume, Nik Kennedy, Paul Scargill, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Audio  
Recreating Reality Kenny Young, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Audio  
Talking Sense: Raising The Bar For Speech In Games Nick Laviers, Electronic Arts UK Audio  
Creativity led production: How to bring new ideas into line Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Q Entertainment Next Wave  
Lights, Camera… Where Movies and Videogames Meet Rob Fahey, & Andrew McDonald, DNA Films Next Wave  
The Opinion Jam: Twelve speakers. Three minutes each. One winner. Ste Curran, Rob Kay, Ernest Adams, Ken Perlin, Dan Bardino Next Wave  
Buy now, pay later! Dave Ranyard, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Sergio Pimentel, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Production  
Gotham Racing 3: A Post Mortem on developing a XBOX 360 launch title Gareth Wilson, Bizarre Creations Production  
Working with Hollywood: The Storytelling Professionals Mark Green & Katie Ellwood, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Production    
Animating characters within Maya & showcasing the real-time workflow within MotionBuilder along with FBX Nick Jovic, Autodesk Art  
Bridging the Uncanny Valley: Style versus Realism in future games Cumron Ashtiani, Steve Boxer, Susie Green Ben Lee Art  
Masterclass: Character Animation Nick Jovic & Kevin Booth, Autodesk Art  
Motion synthesis and unique game moments Torsten Reil, NaturalMotion Art  
Showcasing the interoperability between 3ds Max, Maya and MotionBuilder Kevin Booth, Autodesk Art  

Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

CES stands for the “Consumer Electronics Show.” It is an annual trade show and convention that serves as a showcase for the latest consumer electronics and technology products. CES is one of the most significant and influential tech events globally, and it’s where many companies, including industry giants and startups, unveil and demonstrate their innovative products and technologies.

CES is known for its extensive exhibition of consumer electronics and technology products, ranging from smartphones and televisions to smart home devices, automotive technology, gaming hardware, and more.

CES attracts a large number of journalists, bloggers, and media outlets from around the world, generating extensive press coverage and reviews of the showcased products.

CES has played a crucial role in unveiling groundbreaking technologies and products that have subsequently shaped the consumer electronics and technology industries. It is a significant annual event for both industry professionals and tech enthusiasts interested in the latest advancements in the world of electronics and innovation.

The first Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in 1967. CES was initially held in New York City and later moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Although it features gaming products they have always brushed the games industry aside in favour of more mainstream consumer electronics.

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)

E3, which stands for the “Electronic Entertainment Expo,” is one of the most prominent and anticipated events in the video game industry. It serves as a showcase for the latest video games, gaming hardware, and interactive entertainment. E3 brings together game developers, publishers, hardware manufacturers, and gamers to unveil and celebrate upcoming titles and innovations in the world of gaming.

Creation of E3

SEGA was instrumental to setting up E3, in an interview with Tom Kalinske (former CEO of SEGA America) he had this to say about the formation of E3:

In the early Nineties, CES was huge but it treated the gaming industry poorly. We were put in the back, past the new gadgets, computers and stereos and TVs. One year, we were in a tent and it was raining. Out Genesis machines got wet and I said, “That’s it, we’re not coming Back”. We set out to form our own show with favoured third-parties. It became E3. 2

E3 1995 - The First E3

E3 1995 marked the first E3 event, created as an alternative to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where the gaming industry was often overlooked.

At E3 1995, the gaming industry was undergoing significant changes, with the Super Nintendo still the most popular console in North America but with new hardware on the horizon, such as Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation, and the yet-to-be-released Ultra 64 (later Nintendo 64). This event was mainly focused on the Sega-Sony rivalry, with Nintendo’s console release delayed until the following year.

E3 1995 consisted of exhibits and presentations, but unlike modern E3 events, there were no livestreams, special guest stars, or musical performances. The target audience was gaming industry professionals, retailers, developers, marketing teams, investors, and journalists, rather than gamers. As a result, these early E3 conferences were more subdued and focused on industry announcements rather than generating excitement among gamers.


QuakeCon is an annual convention and gaming event that primarily focuses on the Quake series of video games, as well as other titles developed by id Software, the company behind Quake. The event has been held since 1996 and is known for its emphasis on competitive gaming, LAN parties, and the celebration of the gaming community.

QuakeCon typically features a variety of activities, including tournaments, panel discussions, exhibitor booths, and opportunities for fans to meet and interact with game developers. It has become a significant event in the gaming calendar, attracting thousands of attendees from around the world.

While QuakeCon started with a primary focus on the Quake series, it has expanded over the years to include other games, including those from Bethesda Softworks, which acquired id Software. The convention has also been a platform for showcasing new game releases, updates, and announcements, making it an exciting gathering for both fans and industry professionals.

Quakecon 2004

John Carmack gave the Keynote speech at Quakecon 2004 where he reflects on Doom 3 Engine Decisions, you can watch it on youtube below:

The key points from Keynote are as are as follows:

  1. Evaluation of Doom 3 Engine Decisions:
    • He reflects on decisions made for the Doom 3 renderer over four years ago.
    • Acknowledges some flaws, such as seams on character heads due to mirroring repeat in texturing.
  2. Specularity and Lighting Improvements:
    • Talks about limitations in skin tone realism due to a single level of specularity.
    • Introduces new technology for specular maps, allowing control over the breadth of specular highlights.
    • Addresses issues with specularity on broad surfaces and introduces reflection vector calculation for more accurate highlights.
    • Discusses the use of cubic environment maps and normalization for better quality highlights.
  3. Anti-Aliasing Challenges:
    • Highlights the aliasing challenges in surfaces with normal maps and specular highlights.
    • Mentions ongoing work to combat aliasing, considering the analysis of surface normals and specularity factors.
  4. Multi-Channel Texture Considerations:
    • Discusses the complexity introduced when combining multiple maps (normal, diffuse, specular, etc.) and the need for coordinated adjustments.
    • Notes potential challenges in scaling and rotating independent maps.
  5. Quality Improvement through Renormalization:
    • Describes the benefits of renormalization of normal maps before lighting calculations for improved surface quality.
    • Addresses the issue of denormalization in cases where normal vectors deviate significantly.
  6. General Improvements and Considerations:
    • Mentions the need for reevaluation and development of a new rendering engine based on current hardware capabilities.
    • Indicates ongoing efforts to enhance the Doom 3 graphics engine, considering issues like aliasing, specularity, and normal map quality.

Overall, he outlines the evolution of the Doom 3 graphics engine, addressing past limitations and describing efforts to improve realism, lighting, and overall graphical quality in the context of current and future hardware capabilities.


  1. D.I.C.E. Summit - February 28 March 1, 2002  2

  2. Tom Kalinske in RETRO volume 9 (page 25)