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GDC Online highlights top speakers, reminds on early reg deadline

GDC Online 2012, organized by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, is just a few short months away, and will host a robust schedule of more than 100 lectures, panels, keynotes, and roundtable discussions led by notables in the connected, mobile, and social game development sectors.

The annual event returns to Austin on October 9 through October 11, and Early Bird registration for GDC Online is still open through Friday, August 24.

Mobile and social games will have an increased prominence this year, reflecting developments across the games landscape. Vijay Thakkar, Zynga technical director, will lecture on the importance of searching for and developing new IP while Kabam general manager Justin Lambros and art lead Josh Viers give a joint session to offer attendees a behind-the-scenes review of the design development decisions they made while creating the studio's hardcore social-strategy game, Trojan War.

Gary Gattis, CEO of Austin-based mobile and social MMO developer Spacetime Studios, will also be on hands to detail his applied "engagement and respect" philosophy at Spacetime, which has retained more than 90 percent of its employees for several years.

GDC Online will also continue to adhere to its core focus on online games. Damien Schubert, principal lead systems designer at BioWare Austin, and one of the minds behind Star Wars: The Old Republic, and John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment, will both offer lessons from their experiences developing and launching big-budget, large-scale MMO titles.

As a special treat, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the challenges of developing, launching and maintaining a landmark MMORPG title during the Ultima Online classic game postmortem. Rich Vogel, Raph Koster and Starr M. Long, three chief members of the original Ultima Online team, will be on-hand to discuss the challenges they faced during the creation of the seminal game.

Introduced at the 2011 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, classic game postmortems provide a forum for the game creators behind legacy titles to deconstruct what they learned during the process of development.

Other key 2012 GDC Online speakers and sessions include:

- Electronic Arts' EVP of digital, Kristian Segerstrale, discussing the best approach to creating fully immersive game ecosystems that create an emotional connection with consumers.

- Zynga CTOs Jason Pearlman (mobile) and Allan Leinwand (infrastructure engineering) offering tips to game developers and engineers on how to cope with the infrastructure demands of modern online games.

GDC Europe sees record 2012 attendance, reveals dates for 2013

The 2012 Game Developers Conference Europe (GDC Europe) saw more than 2,100 game industry professionals through its doors last week, breaking the event's previous attendance record.

Running from August 13-15, GDC Europe saw keynotes from industry leaders like Ubisoft Montreal's creative director Alex Hutchinson, CEO of Wargaming.net Victor Kislyi, and Epic Games senior engine programmer Niklas Smedberg.

IGF China seeking indie game submissions for 2012 event

The Independent Games Festival China - which will take place alongside this November's GDC China in Shanghai - has opened its call for submissions and is accepting indie game entries from the pan-Pacific area from now through September 10.

Following its success from previous years, GDC China will once again host all three main elements of IGF China, including the IGF Summit, the IGF Pavilion, and the prestigious IGF Awards.

Now in its fourth year, the IGF Summit at GDC China will feature sessions from some of the world's top developers, while the IGF Pavilion will showcase some of the region's best independent and student games.

And of course the IGF Awards - which are split into both Main and Student competitions - will honor the many talented developers in the pan-Pacific area.

The 2012 IGF China Main Competition will give out awards and cash prizes in five categories, including:

- Best Game (RMB20,000 ~ $3,150 USD)
- Best Mobile Game (RMB10,000 ~ $1,570 USD)
- Excellence in Audio (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)
- Excellence in Technology (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)
- Excellence in Visual Arts (RMB5,000 ~ $780 USD)

The Student Competition, meanwhile, will offer two awards, for Best Student Game (RMB10, 000 ~ $1,570 USD, 1 Winner) and Excellent Student Winner (RMB3, 000 ~$470 USD, 2 Winners).

Finalists -- who will receive two All Access passes to attend GDC China and the IGF awards ceremony on November 18, 2012 -- will be chosen by a panel of expert jurors including Kevin Li (CEO, TipCat Interactive); Monte Singman (Founder/CEO, Radiance Digital Entertainment); Xubo Yang (Director of Digital Art Lab and Assistant Professor; Shanghai Jiaotong University's School of Software), Haipeng Yu (Producer, Tencent Shanghai), and jury chairman Simon Carless, IGF Chairman Emeritus and EVP of the GDC shows, Gamasutra, and Game Developer magazine.

Check out the origin of Ultima Online at GDC Online 2012

GDC Online's robust session lineup continues to grow this week, as show organizers have debuted new sessions including a 'classic postmortem' on the groundbreaking MMO Ultima Online, as well as in-depth sessions on Zynga and the ethics of modern game development.

These new talks all fall within GDC Online's Main Conference, which offers some of the world's leading content on persistent and online games. The event will be held Tuesday, October 9 to Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

The full details on these newly announced sessions are as follows:

- Over in the Design track, attendees will get a behind the scenes look at the creation of Ultima Online, which was not only one of the first graphical MMOs, it also helped set the standard for player versus player combat and sandbox gameplay for years after its launch. Even today, it's remembered as one of the greatest online games of all time.

And at this October's GDC Online, three of the game's creators -- Raph Koster (Playdom), Rich Vogel (ex-BioWare), and Starr Long (Disney) -- will reflect on the ambition, struggles, and "idealistic cluelessness" that fueled the development of this influential title.

- Also in the Design track, Zynga's SVP of product development, Mark Skaggs, will host "The Lessons I Learned from Making FarmVille and CityVille," shedding some light on the latest trends in the social game space.

Looking at Zynga's titles in particular, Skaggs will explain how social games have changed over the past few years, how developers can overcome the challenges of making data-driven decisions, and what studios should be planning for as the market continues to evolve.

- Finally, GDC Online attendees will have the opportunity to check out what promises to be a lively panel on the ethical challenges developers face in the modern game industry.

The session, dubbed "Ahead of the Game - Ethics of Modern Game Development," will feature speakers including Amazon.com senior game producer Nikolaus Davidson, Bobber Interactive COO Scott Dodson, and moderator, Immersyve president, and game motivation and psychology expert Scott Rigby, all of whom have plenty to say about the most pressing issues facing today's developers.

GDC Online adds CastleVille, CCP design talks

The lineup for this October's GDC Online continues to grow this week, as show organizers have added a trio of new design-focused sessions featuring a postmortem of Zynga's CastleVille, EVE Online developer CCP on sandbox game design, and a look at how to enhance your franchise with complementary companion games.

These new talks all fall within GDC Online's Design track as part of the show's Main Conference, which offers come of the world's leading content on persistent and online games. The event will be held Tuesday, October 9 to Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

The full details on these newly-announced sessions are as follows:

- In "CastleVille Postmortem: What Went Right and Wrong," Zynga designers William Lemons and Bruce Shelley will peel back the curtain on one of the social game giant's newest and most popular Facebook titles.

Zynga Dallas, the studio behind CastleVille (and formerly known as Bonfire Studios) was founded by a number of veterans from the popular Age of Empires franchise, and in this session Lemons and Shelley will explain how the team leveraged its experience working on RTS games while meeting the demands of modern social game design.

- Elsewhere, Matthew Woodward of EVE Online developer CCP Games will share his thoughts on the design theory behind sandbox online games.

His session, dubbed "The Other White Meat: Design Architecture for Sandbox Games," will pick the genre apart piece by piece, analyzing the importance of social networks, emergent gameplay, and self-sustaining systems. Woodward will also discuss a number of practical design lessons developers can apply to their own sandbox titles.

- Finally, Ben Miller and Matt Griswald, two of the lead developers behind the Resistance 3 companion web-based strategy game Global Resistance, will discuss what it takes to make a robust and successful complementary title that benefits a larger, AAA release.

Their session, "Take Your Companion Game to the Next Level," will examine the design of Global Resistance, demonstrating how the game's design, format, and online community helped draw attention to its AAA big brother on PlayStation 3.

2013 Independent Games Festival submissions now open

Organizers are now officially opening submissions for the 2013 Independent Games Festival, to be held at GDC 2013 in San Francisco next March.

The longest-running and highest-profile independent video game festival, summit and showcase is now accepting entries to the 15th annual Festival, with deadlines in the Main and Student Showcase categories by October 17th and October 31st respectively, and finalists to be announced on January 2013.

Following over 850 entries to IGF 2012, the Festival has expanded each existing category to six finalists, all of which will be available in playable form at a larger, expanded IGF Pavilion on the GDC show floor, and will compete for nearly $60,000 in prizes.

These include the $5,000 Nuovo Award, honoring 'abstract, shortform, and unconventional' games, as well as the Excellence in Art, Audio, Design, Technology, Student Game and Audience Award prizes, each worth $3,000, and the crowning $30,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Notable former Independent Games Festival winners over the previous 15 years include Spelunky, Fez, Minecraft, Limbo, World of Goo, Braid, Castle Crashers, Everyday Shooter and many more of the game industry's breakthrough independent titles.

Winners will be announced on stage at the high-profile Independent Games Festival Awards on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, with the IGF Pavilion open from March 27-29, and the sister Independent Games Summit event taking place on March 25 and 26.

All of the Independent Games Festival events take place as part of the 2013 Game Developers Conference, which is held March 25th - March 29th, 2013 in San Francisco, and the IGF continues as the most vital showcase of independent game talent across the wide spectrum of artistically- and commercially-aimed development.

"All of us here at the IGF are eager to see this year's selection of games. Each year, the community manages to outpace itself in innovation and artistry, and we expect nothing less for this 15th anniversary Festival," said IGF Chairman Brandon Boyer.

GDC Europe 2012 details the top sessions for next week's show

It's been many months in the making, but GDC Europe 2012 is starting this coming Monday in Cologne, Germany, and will feature a slew of exciting, must-see sessions for the European game development community.

Over the past several months, GDC organizers have announced major keynotes, panels, and presentations from the best and brightest in the game industry, and with so many talks lined up, this year's GDC Europe promises to be the most robust and varied yet.

And even though we're just days away from the event, GDC organizers are highlighting two recent additions to the show's lineup:

- The first talk comes from independent developers Martin Jonasson (Jesus vs. Dinosaurs) and Petri Purho (Crayon Physics), who will demonstrate some tricks that can help make your games more interesting to play. During the Independent Games Summit session closing out the show on Wednesday, the pair will spruce up a game live on stage, showing attendees exactly how these tips can benefit or enhance game design.

- In addition, Harald Riegler, CEO of the Australian studio Sproing (Silent Hunter Online, Panzer Tactics DS) will discuss the importance of company culture in his Business Track talk, offering tips on handling leadership, managing team dynamics, and creating a studio that works effectively as a single unit.

Of course, these new sessions are just two of the more recent additions to GDC Europe's extensive lineup. Here are some of the other notable talks to be held at next week's show:

Business, Marketing and Management Track

- Track Keynote: World of Free-to-Play - AAA by Wargaming.net (Victor Kislyi, Wargaming.net)
- Leveling Up Your AAA Game - BioWare's Post Release Content Insights (Fernando Melo, Bioware)
- Financing Options for Smaller Games (Nicholas Lovell, GAMESbrief; Patrick O'Luanaiagh, nDreams; Ciaran O'Leary, Earlybird; Jonathan Newth, Tenshi Ventures)

Production Track

- Passion for Entertainment: 10 years of Battlefield/20 Years of DICE (Karl Magnus Troedsson, DICE)
- Mafia II Postmortem (Jarek Kolar, 2K Czech)
- The Long Journey (Robin Hunicke, formerly of thatgamecompany)

Game Design Track

- Track Keynote: Assassin's Creed: Maintaining Momentum on a Blockbuster Franchise (Alex Hutchinson, Ubisoft Montreal)
- Ambiguity and Abstraction in Game Writing: Lessons from Dear Esther (Dan Pinchbeck, thechineseroom)
- Classic Postmortem: GoldenEye 007 (Martin Hollis, Zoomani)

GDC Europe details Dead Trigger, Gree talks, reminds on online registration

With just one day to go before online registration closes for GDC Europe, show organizers have revealed new details on a trio of upcoming sessions, featuring a behind the scenes look at Madfinger's Dead Trigger (pictured), a postmortem on Gree's Animal Days, and a panel covering the ins and outs of critical writing and reporting in the game industry.

These talks all fall within GDC Europe's Main Conference, which takes place Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012 at the Congress-Centrum Ost Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

Those looking to attend the show should act soon, as lower-cost online registration will close tomorrow, August 7 -- after that date, passes will only be available for purchase on-site.

And without further ado, here are the full details on the latest sessions to be announced for GDC Europe:

- As part of the Programming track, Madfinger Games CEO Marek Rabas and senior programmer Petr Benysek will host "Bringing Dead Trigger into Life," offering an inside look at how the team created its visually stunning mobile shooter. The pair will provide a step-by-step look at the game's production, detailing everything from AI behaviors, design decisions, performance optimization, and much more.

- Over in the Game Design track, Gree development manager Hiroyuki Haga will discuss some key mobile development lessons in "Animal Days Post-Mortem: Developing a City-Building Game That's Ready for Quick Content-Iteration." Using the just-released city-building mobile game as a reference, Haga will explain how Gree quickly generates game content, and maximizes the performance of all of its new releases.

- Also in the Game Design track is "How Gaming News Works: A Guided Tour," giving attendees a chance to learn about the past, present and future of critical writing and reporting in the game industry. While the session was first revealed earlier this year, the panel is now confirmed to consist of news writers including Alexander Sliwinski (Joystiq), Ben Gilbert (Joystiq), Pat Garratt (VG247), and Oliver Menne (Eurogamer).

GDC Europe 2012 reveals full Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit lineup

With GDC Europe nearly upon us, show organizers have revealed the entire lineup for the event's Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, including new Galaxy On Fire, Flurry, and Game Insight (Paradise Island) talks.

The Summit will take place Tuesday, August 14 at the Congress-Centrum Ost Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany alongside Gamescom, and will feature some of the best and brightest in the mobile space discussing the future of the business on both smartphones and tablets.

The newest sessions to be announced for the event include a look at Fishlabs' Galaxy on Fire 2 (pictured), a breakdown of mobile game data from analytics firm Flurry, and a presentation from Russian studio Game Insight on making successful multiplatform games.

The full details on these new sessions are as follows:

- In "Galaxy on Fire 2 - from AAA Premium on iOS to Freemium on Android," Fishlabs CEO and co-founder Michael Schade will discuss how the studio's popular mobile title went from premium to freemium for its Android debut. The game sustained a $9.99 price tag for more than 18 months on iOS, but as Schade will explain, that model just wouldn't work for its Android release. During this session, he'll explain how and why the Android version needed such a massive overhaul.

- Elsewhere, Flurry managing director Richard Firminger will share the firm's latest data on the mobile market, shedding light on some important trends developers will want to keep track of. His session, "Mobile Application Analytics & Consumer Insight: The Biggest Content Revolution of Our Lifetime," will give attendees a better understanding of mobile game development, and drive home the long-term value of detailed data analysis.

- In addition, Game Insight's vice president of business development, Darya Trushkina, will explain why developers should always be looking to get their games on as many platforms as possible. In "Cross-Platform Mobile Game Development: What, Why, and How Much?," Trushkina will reference Game Insight titles like Mystery Manor and Paradise Island to demonstrate the best (and worst) ways to ensure your game will work across multiple platforms.

Of course, these new talks join a number of other sessions featured in the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit. Other talks at the show include a detailed examination of mobile game audio, a session from Beat Sneak Bandit's Simogo on breaking away from industry trends, a postmortem on Wooga's popular Diamond Dash for iOS, and a sponsored session on why mobile devs should keep an eye on the Blackberry platform.

GDC Europe 2012 details Expo Floor, sponsored session highlights

GDC Europe is just a few short weeks away, and this year's show is certainly shaping up to be the biggest and most robust thus far. Show organizers have already revealed a slew of exciting sessions, lectures, and panels, and today they've debuted new details for the show's Expo Floor and its numerous sponsored presentations.

As in years past, GDC Europe will offer a full exhibition hall, where attendees can talk directly to some of the industry's leading developers and game companies, making it a great opportunity to network and reach out to some of the biggest names in the game business.

This year's Expo Floor will host major game companies including CCP (EVE Online), Crytek, EA, and Wooga, as well as notable software firms like Perforce and Havok. For a full list of exhibitors, check out the official GDC Europe website or download the show's floor plan [PDF].

In addition to the packed Expo Floor, GDC Europe will also feature a number of informative sponsored sessions from these and other influential companies.

Here are just a few of the numerous sponsored sessions at this month's show:

- Major middleware provider Autodesk will showcase its Gameware technology, detailing how the studio's software promises to improve production pipelines and streamline common snags in the game development process.

- Elsewhere, Intel will discuss the importance of developing games than can run smoothly on mainstream PC hardware. Attendees will learn a handful of useful techniques to optimize their games and create products that can reach a larger consumer base.

- Management software firm Perforce will host its own session to discuss how its software versioning solution can help small teams better manage their production cycles and chart the development of their current projects -- all at no cost to their studio.

- In a mobile-focused session, Blackberry developer Research in Motion will show off its new Blackberry10 platform, arguing why it could help mobile studios monetize their games and focus on cross-platform development.

- In addition, middleware firm Havok will outline how developers can use the company's Vision Engine and other game development tools to create detailed and dynamic games that can exist across multiple platforms.

GDC Online 2012 reveals first details of Game Dev Start-Up Summit

Starting your own game studio is a great way to pursue your independence and enjoy complete creative freedom, but as it turns out, building a new business requires a lot of hard work. There are plenty of factors to manage and keep in mind.

With that in mind, the inaugural Game Dev Start-Up Summit at this year's GDC Online in Austin promises to offer plenty of help for developers looking to strike out on their own.

This one-day Summit, put together by GDC Online organizers and veteran game industry lawyer Jim Charne, will include a host of sessions that provide a step-by-step look at the issues, challenges, and realities of getting a new game company off the ground.

The Summit will take place alongside the rest of GDC Online, which will be held Tuesday, October 9 to Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, and will be open to all Summits & Tutorials and All-Access Pass holders.

And now, GDC Online organizers have revealed the first three talk themes in the upcoming Game Dev Start-Up Summit. The full details on these newly announced sessions are as follows:

- To kick things off, the Summit speakers will host "Pre-launch - Preparing to Take the Plunge," a robust discussion of the concrete steps developers need to take to move from their previous employment to their brand-new startup.

- Next, multiple speakers will discuss how to put all the pieces of your company together in "Formation: Legal and Accounting Issues." The speakers will give attendees the insight they need to find and lease an office, to select a good bookkeeper and lawyer, to establish a useful employee handbook, and much more.

- In the Summit's third session, the speakers will host "Finance: Sources and Timing," covering perhaps the most important resource to a fledgling business: Money. The session will cover everything from bootstrapping, venture capital, bank loans, and many other resources that a new company will have to keep in mind.

Confirmed speakers for the Game Dev Start-Up Summit thus far include notable game developers, businesspeople and legal counsel including Don Daglow (Daglow Entertainment), James Niesewand (Illyriad Games), Rob Shillingsburg (Jetbolt Games), Dan Offner (Loeb & Loeb), David Rosenbaum (Law Offices of David S Rosenbaum), David Baszucki (Roblox), Bill Graner (Crater House), and Gary Gattis (Spacetime Studios).

GDC Europe highlights Social & Online Games Summit talks, reminds on reg deadlines

With GDC Europe just a couple of weeks away, show organizers are highlighting a trio of new talks in the Social and Online Games Summit, and are reminding that the deadline for regular registration is next Tuesday, August 7.

Those who register online before the August 7 deadline will be able to secure reduced-pass prices for this month's show. Be sure to pick up your tickets soon, as all ticket sales after that date must be done on-site.

Meanwhile, the new Social and Online Game Summit talks are just the latest to join the growing lineup for GDC Europe, which will be held Monday through Wednesday, August 13-15, 2012 at the Congress-Centrum Ost Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

Here are the full details on these newly-announced sessions:

- In "Core Games, Real Numbers: Comparative Stats for MMOs & Social Games," Kongregate co-founder Emily Greer will look at the data from the service's numerous online games, sharing the details for how and why certain titles find long-term success.

During her comparative analysis, Greer will outline the basic trends in the online space, noting which mechanics and game types will make your game more likely to make money.

- Elsewhere, Riccardo Zacconi, CEO of social giant King.com will host "Building A Multi-Platform Game Business Out of Facebook and Onto Mobile & Tablet." Here, he will peel back the curtain on King.com's development process, detailing how the company designs, markets, and monetizes social games that can exist across Facebook, mobile, and other platforms.

- Finally, Papaya Mobile's Oscar Clark will present his case for why almost all mobile games need to embrace the free to play model, lest they be destined for obsolescence and eventual failure. The talk, "A Developer's Guide to Surviving the Zombie (Freemium) Apocalypse," Clark will explain why he thinks developers that follow the traditional premium model are looking more and more like the walking dead.

GDC Online Awards nominees led by Star Wars: The Old Republic, Draw Something

Organizers of GDC Online have announced the finalists for the third annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards, which honors the best in connected online gaming, from social network titles to major MMOs and beyond.

The most-nominated titles this year include BioWare Austin's MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, which grabbed six nominations, as well as multiple nominations for diverse titles including Omgpop/Zynga's addictive social mobile app Draw Something, Playfish/EA's Facebook treatment of one of gaming's biggest franchises, The Sims Social, Blizzard Entertainment's record-breaking PC online-integrated title Diablo III, Tiny Speck's quirky casual MMO Glitch, and more.

The range of nominees this year highlights the constantly evolving online game ecosystem, which is particularly reflected in the Awards' top prize categories, Best Live Game and Best New Online Game.

In the Best Live Game category, Rift (Trion World) and League of Legends (Riot Games), the latter of which was nominated in the same category at last year's Awards, compete against titles including fan favorite CityVille (Zynga) and cornerstone title World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment). Best New Online Game nominees include the aforementioned Star Wars: The Old Republic, which runs against Omgpop's Draw Something and F2P mobile standout Rage of Bahamut (Cygames/Mobage), among others.

The Game Developers Choice Online Awards are a sister event to the Game Developers Choice Awards which takes place annually at GDC in San Francisco. The ceremony will be held on the evening of Wednesday, October 10, 2012 during the GDC Online, which takes place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas October 9-11.

The Choice Online Awards-specific International Choice Awards Network (ICAN Online) is responsible for selecting both the finalists and the winners for each regular awards category. ICAN Online is comprised of an invitation-only group of 400 leading game creators from all parts of the online game industry.

Returning to the Game Developers Choice Online Awards for 2012 is industry veteran and popular host Mike Goslin of Rebel Entertainment, who will once again act as master of ceremonies during the "for developers, by developers" awards ceremony.

The complete list of finalists for the 2012 Game Developers Choice Online Awards, presented in association with 2012 Platinum Sponsor EdgeCast, are as follows:

Best Social Network Game:

- CastleVille (Zynga Dallas)
- Rage Of Bahamut (Cygames/Mobage)
- Draw Something (OMGPOP/Zynga)
- Empires & Allies (Zynga LA)
- The Sims Social (Playfish)

Best Audio:

- Star Wars: The Old Republic (BioWare Austin)
- Tribes: Ascend (Hi-Rez Studios)
- Marvel: Avengers Alliance (Playdom/Disney)
- Diablo III (Blizzard Entertainment)
- Indiana Jones Adventure World (Zynga Boston)

Best Online Game Design:

- Glitch (Tiny Speck)
- Realm of the Mad God (Wild Shadow Studios/Kabam w/Spry Fox)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (BioWare Austin)
- DragonVale (Backflip Studios)
- Woodland Heroes (Row Sham Bow)

GDC Online debuts Smedley, Old Republic, MMO community talks

With GDC Online inching ever closer, the show has added a trio of new talks featuring Sony Online Entertainment's John Smedley on transitioning to the free to play model, BioWare on the platform supporting Star Wars: The Old Republic, and CCP on nurturing an MMO community.

These new talks all fall within GDC Online's Main Conference, which offers come of the world's leading content on persistent and online games. The event will be held Tuesday, October 9 to Thursday, October 11 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

The full details on these newly-announced sessions are as follows:

- First, John Smedley, the president of Sony Online Entertainment, will discuss how the company transitioned its entire game lineup to the free to play model in the Business and Marketing track lecture, "Free-to-Play: Driving the Future of MMOs."

Referencing games from EverQuest to Planetside 2 (pictured), Smedley will share some of SOE's insights and lessons learned to help other developers successfully adopt the free to play model. With this knowledge, attendees will walk away understanding how to grow not only their player base, but also their overall revenue.

- Over in the Production track, Dave Moore, BioWare's senior director of platform services, will explain how he and the studio established a robust and scalable platform for the major MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

During the session, "Building the Scalable Platform for SWTOR," Moore will discuss how the studio prepared for the game's launch, sharing the technical details and implementation decisions that helped ensure everything worked once the game went live.

- Finally, CCP senior researcher Petur Oskarsson will host the Customer Experience track session, "Ear to the Ground - MMO Community Feedback & Metrics for Decision Making," during which he'll share his insight on how to best nurture an online game community.

Using examples from CCP's own EVE Online, Oskarsson will outline the dos and don'ts of metrics-driven community management to help developers identify common pitfalls, learn how to best incorporate player feedback, and make their games better and their communities more active.

 

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