GDC 2010 Debuts Major Business-Focused Talks

The organizers of Game Developers Conference 2010 have revealed major Business Track talks for the March 9th-13th event, including EA DICE’s Ben Cousins on “what Wal-Mart tells us about gaming”, and the Tripwire and Tiger Style founders on game biz success.
The announcements come as part of the first of a series of GDC 2010 track-specific announcements, this one focusing on the Business & Management Track, which “looks at the game development process from the standpoint of running the business, and offers proven strategies for the developer who needs to understand complex business issues.”
The subset of the Game Developers Conference 2010 Advisory Board tasked with programming this track include notables such as Epic Games president Mike Capps, InstantAction CEO and Westwood Studios co-founder Lou Castle, and Warner Bros. Seattle studio GM Laura Fryer.
Some of the highlighted Business Track lectures already announced for the San Francisco Moscone Center-based event include the following:
Crushing The Overhead: Case Study of A Microstudio Start-Up
In this lecture, Thief designer Randy Smith explains his indie studio Tiger Style released Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor on the iPhone, topping the App Store charts amidst praise from players and press and netting over a quarter of a million dollars. He will discuss “team building, infrastructure, sales, compensation, process, schedule, project direction, product design, marketing, and more.”

Why Owning Your Own IP is a Bad Idea: Giving Up Your Rights for Fun and Profit
Foundation 9 VP Chris Charla presents an interesting argument: “Conventional wisdom says you should always own your own IP. In the games space, we argue that the conventional wisdom is no longer valid. For independent developers to maximize their chance of popular and commercial success (and getting action figures made of your characters!), retaining ownership of your IP may be the worst decision you can make.”
Kings of Convenience – What Walmart Tells Us About the Future of Gaming
EA DICE’s Ben Cousins (Battlefield Heroes) presents an intriguing lecture on “using the historical analogy of the rise of the supermarket in the post-automobile world to inform us about a possible future of the games industry.” Cousins explains: “How can we apply the technological revolution of the motor car and similar technology-driven business revolutions to our own rapidly changing industry as we react to the technological revolution of the internet?”
Console Wars Revisited: Are We Breaking the Mold or Reliving History?
Don Daglow has led development teams on every generation of game hardware going back to the Atari vs. Intellivision era, and he argues that “we’re reliving many patterns of games industry history” in this business lecture, pointing out “why PS3 and 360 sales are following historical patterns — and what you can expect to happen next,” as well as how to identify a few key elements of any platform and quickly evaluate its potential for developers.
Other notable Business Track talks include Pocket God iPhone creator Dave Castelnuovo on Ongoing User Engagement: How to Listen to Your Community, Tripwire’s Alan Wilson (Killing Floor) on Funding Small Studios: So Many Sources of Funds, So Little Cash, and veteran researcher Dmitri Williams on Leveraging Your Data by “modeling user behaviors with data captured from game logs and surveys”.
Alongside the full set of announced GDC 2010 lectures thus far comes news on reduced conference pass prices for the event, with the introduction of optional lunch packages. Game Developers Conference 2010 will also play host to the GDC Expo Floor, the GDC Career Pavilion, the 12th Annual Independent Games Festival and the 10th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards.

Early Bird rates for GDC 2010 end on February 4, 2010 — for more information on the 2010 Game Developers Conference, visit the official GDC 2010 website.