GDC Online Adds Playdom, City Of Heroes, Cloud Gaming Talks

coh.jpgGDC Online has debuted several new sessions within the show’s Main Conference, featuring Playdom’s Raph Koster on the convergence of games and social media, NCsoft West on making City of Heroes free-to-play, and a panel of notable speakers on the future of cloud gaming.

Taking place Monday, October 10 through Thursday, October 13, 2011 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, GDC Online continues as the leading worldwide event dedicated solely to discussing the development and business trends surrounding connected games — including casual titles, MMOs, virtual worlds, and social networking games.

This year’s Main Conference will include tracks on Business & Marketing, Customer Experience, Design, Production, and Programming, as well as a sponsored track on Monetization.

As seen in the event’s Schedule Builder, the following lectures are highlights from this year’s Main Conference:

– In the Customer Experience track, Playdom’s VP of creative design, Raph Koster, will host a lecture dubbed, “It’s All Games Now! How Games and Social Media are Converging.” Here, Koster will outline the “cross-pollination” between games and online services, explaining what this means for game developers and the future of connected gaming experiences.

– Also in the Customer Experience track, NCsoft’s Ross Borden details how the studio turned the subscription-based City of Heroes into a free-to-play game in, “From Spark to Success: How Customer Influence Revolutionized City of Heroes.” Along the way, Borden will detail the design and technical challenges involved with introducing a brand new business model to an existing online game.

– Finally, in the Business & Marketing track, a panel of industry professionals will host a panel on the implications of cloud gaming in “Cloud Gaming: Present and Future.” Speakers in this panel include Riot Games CEO Brandon Beck, GameStop’s David Wilson, Gaikai’s David Perry, and Microsoft’s Brian Prince, and all of these panelists will discuss the challenges, trends, and current trajectory of streaming game services.

Other recent announcements for GDC Online include a keynote announcement from renowned writer Neal Stephenson, who will take part in an on-stage Q&A with veteran game journalist Geoff Keighley. Event organizers also recently debuted a handful of new lectures within the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, featuring speakers from Zynga, Limbic Software, and more.

GDC Online organizers would also like to point out that voting for the Game Developers Choice Online Audience Award will remain open until September 22, and everyone is welcome — and encouraged — to vote for their favorite currently-operating persistent online game at the official Game Developers Choice Awards website.

For more information on GDC Online as the event takes shape, please visit the official GDC Online website, or subscribe to updates from the new GDC Online-specific news page via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS. GDC Online is owned and operated by UBM TechWeb.