Event Round-up

Another rewarding experience this year, some interesting talks. A couple of turkeys on the first day, but on average certainly worthwhile. The most obvious emerging theme was, again, convergence of games with television, films, books and the Web. However while I think there is some evidence to back it up, I don’t think it is nearly as important as is being implied here. It feels like there is a need amongst the high level executives in the games industry to be seen to be thinking about something, and that convergence of the different media types is a convenient topic. Not so vague that it can’t be talked about, but not as embarassing as “we’re committed to making games so expensive that they rarely make their cost back”.

It seems like in all of the conferences, there is a lot of back-slapping and self-congratulation, but little self-examination. Yes, there has been massive growth in the last couple of years, and the transition to the new generation of consoles has gone pretty well (as long as you’re not Sony). But it has done well on the back of innovative titles, which push away from the hard-core gamers, and the ridiculously over-specced hardware, and back to what it should be: making fun games, that people like to play.

I’d like to see a conference where we look at the issues that are important to the average game developer, not just the EAs and Ubisofts (and companies who wish they were that size) – about what we can do about the recruitment crisis, about what we can do to make better games, more polished games. I’d like a conference that addresses issues like why we keep re-inventing the wheel every time we make a game, and why we don’t collaborate on technology and sharing of knowledge to benefit the industry as a whole.

Above all, I’d like to see a conference that dwells on the success stories, and how we can learn from those developers/publishers and emulate that success. With that in mind, I’d rate Hilmar Petursson’s talk on EVE as the talk of the show for me, not because I learned a whole lot from it, but because it was good to see a developer that stuck to their guns and made a game they were proud of, and have been proved right by the game-playing public.

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Last modified: February 06 2020.