Pitch Deck Deep Dive

Image of The Rabbit Haul pitch during GDC Pitch 2024

Let's talk about GDC Pitch and Pitch Decks!

What is GDC Pitch?

As you may have read in our last newsletter, our studio was at GDC last month and won the GDC Pitch Competition Day 2 organized by Jason Della Rocca. Every year, indie developers can submit their game to the GDC Play and GDC Pitch before the deadline found at this link. The process to apply to GDC Pitch is super simple. We filled out a Google form asking for basic information about The Rabbit Haul game. A few weeks later, we received an email to say that our game was chosen as a finalist for GDC Pitch, along with 9 other games. The 10 finalists are split into 2 groups and pitch on either Day 1 or Day 2 of the competition and a winner is selected for each day.

The competition is essentially a simulation of a publisher pitch. You have 5 minutes to pitch on stage in front of a panel of 3 judges and 300 attendees. The judges select a winner among the pitches for that day and the winners win 2 all-access passes to GDC 2025 and all the honour and fame that comes with winning!

When we applied to GDC Pitch, we didn’t fully know what we were signing up for and we didn’t expect to be selected since our game is still very early. For context, our game is still pre-alpha and we were competing with games much further along in their development and with much more impressive traction numbers. You can imagine our surprise when we received the news that The Rabbit Haul was chosen among all the games being shown at GDC. We were already planning on pitching the game to publishers at GDC, but these meetings are behind closed doors. It’s another story to pitch your game to hundreds of people and 3 publishers simultaneously. Suffice to say, the pressure was on, so we got to work on the pitch right away.

Image of Isael pitching to hundreds of attendees at GDC 2024

10-slide recipe by Jason Della Rocca

The competition allows each studio exactly 5 minutes to pitch their game. You will get cut off abruptly if you go even 1 second over, so you should aim for 4:50 in reality. It is very challenging to boil down a game to 5 minutes only while mentioning everything a publisher needs to hear to form an opinion about your game. To that end, we used Jason Della Rocca’s 10-slide recipe which he explains in the video below.

I highly encourage everyone to follow this framework, as it forced us to be succinct and cover all the details necessary. Here’s a breakdown of each slide’s primary goal.

  1. Catch attention from the start
  2. Articulate core essence of the game
  3. Show off the game (Video)
  4. Explain how your game is unique/compelling
  5. Demonstrate how you’ve proven the game’s potential so far
  6. Demonstrate the market of the game
  7. Show how you are going to complete the game
  8. Convince that your team is the best one to make this game
  9. Explain what you ask and expect from a publisher
  10. Summarize the pitch

In the end, this is the pitch deck we used for the competition: link.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once you have a good pitch deck, you need to practice running the pitch. We wrote our script as presenter notes in PowerPoint, and practiced it every day for weeks. You should aim to know your pitch by heart because you never know if you’ll have access to presenter notes. You should also practice your delivery so that you don’t sound like you are reciting from memory. We mostly practiced digitally among ourselves. Eventually, we asked one of our mentors — Clara Sia, a business development and Senior Influencer Strategist at Devolver Digital — to listen to our pitch and provide feedback. Clara hears hundreds of pitches in her role at Devolver Digital, and her thoughts were key to making our pitch the best it could be. I can’t stress enough how important it is to practice running your pitch before presenting. Although the competition was only a simulation, all the practice we did prepared us for the real publisher meetings we had at GDC.

For those that have access, you can hear our pitch as well as the other finalist’s pitches in the GDC Vault. Simply search for GDC Pitch and select Day 2 from 2024.

What do we get in return?

Winning GDC Pitch doesn’t guarantee funding for your game. However, the visibility and traction it provides paid dividends for us. For example, Global News Edmonton wrote an article about our win and it went viral on Reddit which gave us Steam wishlists and considerable brand recognition. We also get to add a cool badge on the game’s Steam page which legitimizes our game and studio even further in the eyes of customers and publishers. Finally, we also won 2 all-access passes for GDC next year, and we can’t wait to go back.

That’s it! We hope we could shed some light on what is GDC Pitch, as well as give you resources to create a pitch deck for your game.

Studio Update

The last month at Caldera was dedicated to writing an application to the Canada Media Fund to secure production funding for The Rabbit Haul. We’re now full steam ahead for the upcoming playtest in May. Stay tuned for details about that soon.

– Until next time! 👋

Topics: Events • GDC • Rabbit Haul • GDC Pitch • Pitch Deck • Publishers