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GDC Online Adds Riot, PopCap, Playdom, Blizzard Veterans To Advisory Board

UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the Game Developers Conference Online are revealing the latest game industry leaders from the worlds of social and connected gaming, serving on both the Main Conference and Summit-specific advisory boards for this October's Austin-based event.

These industry luminaries, each of whom have rated, commented on and discussed the more than 340 lecture submissions for GDC Online 2011, represent companies including Zynga, ngmoco, PopCap, Playdom, CCP, Blizzard and Riot Games.

GDC Online - the leading worldwide event for social and online game developers - focuses on social network titles, free-to-play web games, kid-friendly online titles, large-scale MMOs, and all types of connected and cloud-centric games.

New members of the GDC Online 2011 Main Conference advisory board, who met in person in Austin, TX to choose lectures last week, include:

- John Blakely, a former vice president at Sony Online Entertainment, and now acting general manager at the Austin operations of Zynga, the company behind major games such as Farmville, Frontierville and Cityville.

- J. Allen Brack, an industry veteran in the online gaming space, and current production director at Blizzard Entertainment, where he is responsible for the incredibly popular World of Warcraft MMO franchise.

- Brandon Beck, co-founder and CEO of Riot Games, creators of flagship online game League of Legends (pictured). The popular multiplayer title won five 2010 Game Developers Choice Online Awards, including Best Online Game Design, Best Online Visual Arts, Best Online Technology, and Best New Online Game, as well as the Audience Award.

- Industry veteran Gordon Walton, vice president and executive producer at Playdom Austin, the Disney-owned firm behind social online titles such as Gardens of Time, City Of Wonder and Sorority Life.

- Joe McDonagh, director of production at PopCap Games, creator of franchise titles such as the 50 million unit-selling Bejeweled, as well as marquee titles with increasing online reach like Peggle, Plants Vs. Zombies, and Zuma.

- Programming expert Chris Mayer, founder of Night Owl Games, the company behind massively multiplayer Facebook strategy title Dungeon Overlord, and a veteran of companies such as NCSoft, EA and Sony Online.

In addition to the above Main Conference advisory board contributors, the existing line-up includes veteran board members Richard Vogel, Co-Studio Director, Bioware Austin; Eugene Evans, Vice President, Studio General Manager, BioWare Mythic; Cindy Armstrong, President and CEO, Electric Bat Interactive; Thomas Bidaux, CEO, ICO Partners; Mike Goslin, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Mindspark Worlds; Min Kim, Vice President, Nexon America; Raph Koster, Vice President of Creative Design, Playdom; and Sheri Graner Ray, Studio Design Director, Schell Games.

GDC Online 2011 will also feature new representation on the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit and GDC Virtual Items Summit advisory boards. Graeme Devine, the veteran game developer who oversaw iOS gaming strategy in Apple's iPhone Game Technologies Division, joins the Smartphone & Tablet Gaming Summit advisory board as the owner of GRL Games, which focuses on bringing interactive entertainment titles to iPhone and iPad.

He is joined by Caryl Shaw, executive producer for iOS and Android publisher ngmoco (We Rule), which specializes in connected mobile games and middleware, and also was purchased by Japanese mobile portal and e-commerce website giant DeNA Co. in 2010.

In addition, industry veteran Hilmar Petursson, chief executive officer of CCP, publisher of the player-driven, persistent world massively multiplayer online title EVE Online joins the board for the brand-new GDC Virtual Items Summit.

"These notable professionals from all corners of the online, social, and connected gaming industry bring prestige, insight and expertise to the GDC Online Main Conference and Summit advisory boards," says Izora de Lillard, event director of GDC Online. "Their contributions further serve to create a robust program for attendees, and keeps Austin at the forefront of new developments in this unique and interesting area of interactive entertainment."

GDC Online will take place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas on October 10-13, 2011. For more information about the GDC Online Main Conference and Summit advisory boards, please visit the official GDC Online website.

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