GDC 2014 adds talks on Plants vs. Zombies 2, China’s game market, and more

plants.jpgPasses for the Game Developers Conference 2014 are going fast, and today we’re announcing even more sessions for the Main Conference that you’ll want to check out.
Today we’re showcasing some excellent talks that address the challenges and potential rewards of localizing games for foreign markets, including a behind-the-scenes look at how Plants vs. Zombies 2 was adapted for the Chinese market, a high-level data-driven analysis of the current state of the global free-to-play game market, and more.

Now in its 28th year, GDC is the world’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event, and will once again take place at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California during March 17-21, 2014.
Lessons learned from bringing Plants vs. Zombies 2 to China
Anyone considering bringing a foreign game to the lucrative Chinese game market should check out Lessons from Launching Plants vs. Zombies 2 in China from PopCap’s Leo Liu. Liu serves as general manager of operations in greater China for PopCap, and as part of that job he oversees PopCap’s Chinese game operations, including both its publishing organization and the studio responsible for adapting and expanding PopCap’s casual games according to local consumer habits and market requirements. During his talk he plans to share advice on localizing games for the Chinese market and offer tips for developers looking to bring their own games to China.
How to localize a Chinese game for Western markets
Shaun Newcomer serves as vice president of Reality Squared Games, where he started as the founding member of the Chinese company’s localization department in 2011. Now he’s coming to GDC to share his experience localizing Chinese games for Western audiences in his Localization Summit talk Journey to the West: A Chinese Game Localization Primer. Newcomer intends to offer attendees advice on how to efficiently adapt Chinese games — everything from the language to the UI, gameplay and monetization systems — to appeal to foreign players.
Analyzing the free-to-play market on a global scale
Also, don’t miss Analysis and Lessons from the Global Free-to-Play Market, an excellent two-part rundown of the current state of the global F2P market. In the first segment of the talk Glu Mobile’s president of publishing, Chris Akhavan, will provide a high-level assessment of global trends and examine the keys to success in both Eastern and Western markets. Akhavan hopes to leave attendees better prepared to evaluate foreign publishing opportunities and plan for global distribution, while in the latter segment of the talk Tom Nichols, Aeria Games & Entertainment’s VP of PC games, will explain how Asian free-to-play games can drive such high monetization, and discuss how Western developers can apply these ideas to their games without sacrificing proper game balance.
How Ski Safari found unprecedented success in China
Yodo1 CEO Henry Fong is coming to GDC 2014 to give a talk outlining how Australian indie studio Defiant Development managed to successfully bring its casual mobile title Ski Safari to Chinese iOS and Android markets. Fong plans to explain how game was modified to appeal to Chinese players — including the transition from paid to free-to-play — and how those changes, coupled with a culturally-appropriate marketing plan, helped the game gain more than 50 million players in just over a year to become one of the most popular mobile games in China. The talk, as you might expect, will be titled simply How Ski Safari Became a Chinese Hit.
More essential GDC details
Earlier GDC 2014 announcements include the news that Keiji Inafune, Yu Suzuki, and other Japanese gaming luminaries will be giving talks with live translation from localization firm 8-4, the reveal of this year’s lineup for the ‘Doing It On The Table’ board game exhibit, and the news that Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine will be giving a GDC talk about Narrative Legos. Developers on Papa & Yo, Ryse, and Destiny will also be giving talks.
All of the announced talks are now available in the online GDC 2014 Session Scheduler, where you can begin to build your conference week and later export it to the up-to-the-minute GDC Mobile App, coming soon.
GDC 2014 itself will take place March 17-21, 2014 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. You can register for the event by visiting the info page on the official GDC 2014 website.
For more information on GDC 2014, visit the show’s official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.
Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech