That I can understand. The venue is a limited size, and having a room half full of students just isn’t going to be useful given the subjects being discussed.
When I was at my first GIG I was a CS student. My girlfriend was in model making. She got an internship with Bitsmith out of the event and I got to meet lots of new and old friends.
My takeaway from the event was I understood what the games scene was like in Ireland and it had been difficult to put faces to names until then. I also opted to become a hobbyist developer instead of going fully down the games career path. Last year was more or less the same result.
This year they’ve opted to go invite only and regardless of intent, it makes me feel excluded. I do hope they have an audio or video report but that won’t help the butthurt. Going forward I’d say socializing for newbies among the game dev scene will have to be done at other events.