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Austin, U.S.A. — The Game Developers Conference Online (GDC Online) concluded on Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, having brought together industry professionals and aspiring game developers for three days of insightful sessions, inspiring discussions and various networking opportunities in the areas of online and connected gaming.
In its tenth and final year, GDC Online featured more than 125 lectures, panels, keynotes and roundtable discussions presented by 187 industry-leading speakers and an expo floor with more than 60 exhibitors and 26 sponsors. The Game Developers Conference Next (GDC Next) will be the redesigned successor to GDC Online and will include the App Developers Conference (ADC), a brand new event dedicated to app technology, creation, business and marketing outside of gaming. GDC Next and the App Developers Conference will debut November 5 -7, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“Wrapping the last edition of GDC Online in Austin this year is bittersweet for us,” said Meggan Scavio, General Manager, UBM Tech. “The conference was once again an incredibly warm get-together of the online game development community to share ideas and celebrate the art and science of connected games. We would like to thank our esteemed and dedicated advisory board members for programming another incredible event – with a special recognition for the two founders of the original conference, Rich Vogel and Gordon Walton, who have served on the advisory board since the inception of the show. We will truly miss the city of Austin, but we are also incredibly excited about our new chapters coming with GDC Next and the all-new App Developers Conference in Los Angeles.”
Highlights of the tenth anniversary edition of GDC Online included a retrospective keynote given Tuesday by this year’s winner of the Online Game Legend Award at the Game Developers Choice Online Awards,Raph Koster. Koster, Legend Award winner for his work on Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, and now VP of Creative Design at Playdom San Diego, celebrated the tenth anniversary of the conference by looking back at a talk he gave 10 years ago during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
In his Design track keynote titled “A Theory of Fun: 10 Years Later,” Koster shared insights about what has changed in the game development community since his first lecture a decade ago. Koster examined what he referred to as the gamification of life with mobile and social games, which have moved far beyond the original experience of connected gaming, and discussed his belief that the pursuit of happiness is necessary and essential to a complete gaming experience, no matter the platform.
On Wednesday, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) president John Smedley gave the keynote for the Business & Marketing track. In his talk, “Free-to-Play: Driving the Future of MMOs,” Smedley offered SOE’s views on the shift in connected gaming to a free-to-play monetization model. He noted that the shift represents changes in technology as well as player tastes, new trends in media and, for SOE, a drive for to produce titles that represent and encourage the evolution of the community.
Also on Wednesday, Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts announced his return to the industry with an the all-new title Star Citizen , currently in development at Roberts’ recently formed Cloud Imperium Games studio, and revealed that contributors to the studio’s crowd-funding efforts for the title will be able to play a version of the game in late 2013, far earlier than its targeted 2014 release date. He noted that his goal was to engage fans directly and remind the industry that the PC is still a boundless platform for innovation in the genre.
GDC Online also played host to two new entries in the now-favorite series of sessions that debuted at the 25th Anniversary edition of GDC in 2011, the Classic Game Postmortems. Damion Schubert, lead designer of the first commercial 3D massively multiplayer role-playing game (MMORPG) Meridian 59, took the stage to share insights on the creation of the benchmark title, while Industry veterans Rich Vogel,Raph Koster and Starr M. Long gave attendees a behind the scenes look at what it took to create theUltima Online.
BioWare Austin and Riot Games took home the most wins at the 2012 Game Developers Choice Online Awards on Wednesday night. Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare Austin’s blockbuster massively multiplayer online (MMO) title secured four wins, including the categories for Best New Online Game and Best Online Visual Arts, while Riot Games’ League of Legends received top honors in both of its nominated categories, securing the win for Best Live Game and Best Community Relations.
League of Legends also won its second Audience Award honor. In addition to Ralph Koster’s receipt of the Online Game Legend Award, the awards ceremony also included the induction of Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft was into the Hall of Fame. For additional information about the 2012 Game Developers Choice Online Awards and the complete list of winners, visit the official website for the GDC Online awards at www.gdconlineawards.com.
Content from the 2012 Game Developers Conference Online will be available for download on the GDC Vault at www.gdcvault.com. For more information about GDC Online, please visit www.gdconline.com and to access Official GDC Online photos visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/officialgdc/. More information about GDC Next 2013 can be found at www.gdcnext.com and the App Developers Conference 2013 at www.adconf.com.
Image Courtesy of Official GDC