GDC Europe 2010 Ends With Record Attendance, Confirms 2011 Return

The Game Developers Conference Europe 2010 has concluded a second successful year, confirming record overall attendance across paid attendees, media, speakers and exhibitors to the August 16th-18th show.

At the same time, organizers have revealed a return to Cologne, Germany for a third GDC Europe show -- again opposite GamesCom -- on August 15-17, 2011.

Produced by UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the leading worldwide Game Developers Conference series, GDC Europe is the largest professionals-only game event in Europe, presenting the latest trends and technology in all aspects of the online gaming space for developers, consumers, publishers and trade professionals.

Highlights of day two and three major talks at the show, reported by sister website Gamasutra.com, include the following notable talks:

Day Two

-In the day's first keynote, Heiko Hubertz, CEO and founder of Bigpoint, advised attendees that to conduct business in America as a European company, the time to do it is "right now." Throughout the talk, Hubertz elaborated on the differences between the U.S. and European markets and educated the audience about how to be successful in America as a European, based on Bigpoint's experience there. Hubert advised "There are only two existing markets in America, the console market and the Facebook market."

-In his keynote, Killzone developer Guerrilla Games' managing director Hermen Hulst discussed his studio's genesis, and its successes and failures in evolving into a Sony-owned AAA console powerhouse. Hulst began with the mantra: "to survive and to grow... you need to consistently improve yourself. He took attendees through examples of how Guerrilla's experiences have informed their history and the key decisions made from the time Sony signed the title that would become Killzone through to today. Plus, he revealed the studio is expanding to work on a "game with a scope and a level of ambition that once again makes us nervous" -- specifically a "brand new IP."

- Eric Chahi, creator of Another World, spoke about his newest project: He's director of Ubisoft's wildly ambitious downloadable title tentatively titled Project Dust, which allows players to re-terraform the world around them, creating islands, rivers, and life using simple tools that interact with each other intelligently. Chahi's talk centered on the idea that a correct meeting of technology and game design can allow for the creation of something truly unique. To do that, Chahi said one must "keep only the essentials for the purposes of optimization, and to keep these things simple for the player."

- Zenimax Online head Matt Firor talked about the complex definitional relationships between the 'casual' and 'hardcore' in games, showcasing how games like Zynga's FarmVille have "serious hardcore gaming characteristics." Going back to the beginnings of the industry, Firor pointed out that early, iconic titles like Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros. weren't actually that casual -- they were, if anything, "fun but hard." These days, he says, "games aren't casual or hardcore... the gamers are."

Day Three

- Researcher and Malmo University associate professor Mikael Jakobsson says achievements aren't extrinsic to games, and suggests the Xbox Live Achievement experience is akin to its own MMO. If you think about it as a metagame, then the achievements aren't outside the gaming experience, "they're just part of the other gaming experience," he suggests, discovering that console users who judgmental of PC gamers and "addicted" MMO players might be doing the same kinds of things.

- Diverse engine makers, including Epic's Mark Rein, Terminal Reality's Joe Kreiner, Crytek's Carl Jones, StoneTrip's Philip Belhassen and Unity's David Helgason -- valiantly refereed by Google's Mark DeLoura -- traded jokes, caused chaos and squared off as they discussed new frontiers like the web and the 3DS, noting along the way that "we all seem to be converging into the same space."

- PopCap CEO Jason Kapalka explained why Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook hasn't taken the same hit to its user numbers as many other games on the platform since Facebook changed some of its viral aspects -- and described in fascinating detail how the company built an early Facebook success in a time when "nobody actually liked Facebook games." Social games are just a little bit "evil", suggests Kapalka, highlighting how the team had to get over the "disturbing" sense that "a large part of the social game industry is about finding loopholes in the system."

Another highlight of the show was a talk headed by Google's Mark DeLoura, in which the developer advocate showed off the progress the search engine giant has made in the gaming space. The company plans on launching an app store for its increasingly popular Chrome web browser in October, and games will be a major focus of the company going forward.

In addition to the conference content, GDC Europe provided several opportunities for creative exchange and business development, with venues including the GDC Europe Expo Floor, VIP Lounge, and the GDC Europe Business Lounge which continus to take place at Gamescom until Saturday, plus a host of industry parties. For more information on the show, which has just concluded, please consult the official GDC Europe website.

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