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GDC Losing Focus In E3's Wake? 42

In the wake of E3's breakup, developers and attendees going to the annual Game Developer's Conference this week are wondering out loud: is the event losing its focus? As GDC expands, what was once (even just a few years ago) a somewhat quiet and intimate affair is taking on the airs of the now-deceased videogame extravaganza. The key for the Conference this year, the first post-E3, is going to be to make sure that the community aspect of the event remains intact in the face of over 12,000 attendees. As conference director Jamil Moledina points out, "The main lesson from (the transition of E3) is that we have to stick to what we do best: providing learning and inspiration to independent developers." Here's hoping the coming week bears that out.
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GDC Losing Focus In E3's Wake?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @04:15AM (#18235008)
    The main reason you go to GDC was to give a passing head nod to guys you used to work with but didn't like enough to bother getting their number when or they left the company.

    Or job hunting.

    The lectures/presentations are nothing more than public ego masturbations. The last thing the vast majority of game developers want to do with the cutting edge tech we've developed is stand up in front of the entire game development world and talk about it.

    • by Anubis333 ( 103791 ) on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:44AM (#18237748) Homepage
      As someone presenting at GDC who works Crytek, a very tech heavy developer that many believe sometimes defines the 'cutting edge'. I would like you to know that there are some companies who work hard to foster understanding of 'cutting edge' tech, and share knowledge with others, even when it can be detrimental to them.

      We are doing lectures and tutorials. Our graphics/programming tutorials are very in depth and not only offer a behind the scenes look, but code examples as well. We also author articles in many shader/game programming texts to offer a decent level of transparency in the work we do. Lastly, when we released Far Cry, it came with an SDK and many of the assets on their non compiled forms (3dsmax files).

      Though yes, this hurts us sometimes. For instance, another large developer has mirrored a lot of the feature set we have shown in the past two years, with only about a 6 month lag, then put the R&D money into a large marketing campaign, to make people think that the features (renamed) are original, and their own.

      The game development community, and sharing knowledge matters a lot to us. Game developers don't have to act in the manner you described; many just choose to. We are presenting some really great stuff this year, if you are in SF you should check it out!
    • Dunno about you, but the AI and gamne design lectures I attended where in-depth, well thought out and cutting-edge (at least with respect to dev shops). Yeah, I had just finished my masters in AI and most of that stuff was old hat to me, but for anyone who hadn't specialized in AI and wanted to find out more about it, the lectures were the place to go: a quick primer on what works and what doesn't, and what to bone up on if you want to improve your games.

      Maybe I went to the lectures who weren't given by peo
  • GDC = E3? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Baddas ( 243852 ) on Monday March 05, 2007 @04:15AM (#18235010) Homepage
    Well, someone has to fill in for E3. Why exactly did they stop having E3 anyway? Seems silly.
    • by jchenx ( 267053 ) on Monday March 05, 2007 @04:45AM (#18235138) Journal

      Well, someone has to fill in for E3. Why exactly did they stop having E3 anyway? Seems silly.
      As someone who's been to a few E3s, I can definitely tell you that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Every year, it's like an arms race, with all the companies trying to build these larger, and larger booths. However, the venue itself was a horrible place to show off your game to retailers/press, since it's loud, crowded, lots of distractions, and rarely do you have time to honestly try out a product or talk to representatives. Thus, lots of companies started actually hosting their own private functions at hotels outside of the main E3 venue.

      To a lesser extent, E3 always put a lot of demand on developers for having that E3 build ready for demo. Eliminating E3, or at least having it moved later, theoretically makes things easier. Some would argue, though, that having E3 as a milestone isn't necessarily a bad thing, and for many companies, they'll continue to have some sort of early milestone build target anyway (if you won't show it at E3, you can always show it off at other events, or private showings).

      Back to GDC, that's not really an appropriate 1-for-1 replacement of E3. GDC really is supposed to be a gathering for developers, not just one big marketing bonanza. There are some E3 replacement ideas being kicked around, such as the Entertainment for All [] show, which is actually open to everyone (not just those in the games industry). There is also the Penny-Arcade Expo [], a gathering of gaming fans that's getting larger and larger each year. Personally, I think those are better fits for a true "E3 replacement", but one that's really focused towards the fanbase.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sony Home - This is the one to watch for. 4 []

    Heavenly Sword: [] [] []

    Warhawk - Downloadable Playstation Network Game
    32 players online play with dedicated servers 6 [] /693580/ignweekly_episode38_flvlowwide.flv []

    Tekken 5DR - Downloadable 1080p Playstation Network Game 2
    • by Rycross ( 836649 )
      If Warhawk turns out to be good, then that would be a tick for me in the PS3 camp. 32 player sounds pretty good.

      Of course, if Sony really wants my money, they'd convince Kojima to make Zone of the Enders 3. Number 2 is still one of my favorite PS2 games.

      I'm not sure why people are hyping up Flow. It's an OK game, but lost my interest after about 15 minutes. And you can already play it online for free.
  • Pointless article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @04:44AM (#18235136)
    GDC has very little in common with E3 and the atmosphere is completely different. The main purpose of GDC is for developers to interact with other developers and publishers and for the talent to exchange ideas, and for recruiting purposes.

    E3 was a tradeshow for the publishers to interact with the distributors and the media. The problem was that because that was where all the new product is unveiled, it was overrun with people who must have that sneak peak, yet are inconsequential to any potential business opportunites that are to be had. Distributors like Wal-Mart and Best Buy were complaining that they couldn't get business done because the place is just so damned packed with college students, bloggers, and low level game industry employees who weren't there on business.

    Big publishers, mostly Sony and EA, looked at the millions they spend preparing for the show, the amount of manhours involved, and compared it to how little was actually accomplished and they said 'screw it'. They realized they could fly all the journalists, executives, and sales people first class to their own offices, wine and dine them, developing a one on one personal relationship rather than being in a flimsy cubicle at E3, yelling at one another because DDR is blasting full volume behind you and Paris Hilton is throwing t-shirts for a game she's endorsing, but can't remember the name.
  • With all current-gen game consoles having internet capabilities, the game companies should just feed game trailers and info to the consoles.

    We'd watch it.

    Wii might need more storage space though.
    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
      Problem is that won't hype those that don't put their console online.
    • Because GDC is not for you. The clue is in the name.
    • Wii has 2GB SD cards available for it. And there's technically 8GB SD cards out there, and the numbers are getting bigger each year. Storage shouldn't be a problem for Wii.
  • dinosaur (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrshowtime ( 562809 ) on Monday March 05, 2007 @05:00AM (#18235194)
    The GDC was in many ways the direct opposite of the E3 and should always remain that way. In this day and age of instant information, are trade shows for videogames even necessary? I would say up until now the CES (previously) and the E3 was necessary, but now it's no longer important. If Sony, for example wants to announce the PS4 in five years, they won't be doing it at an "E3." Why spend all of that money when they can just call up and invite a few of the big news agencies, important bloggers, etc., to their corporate headquarters and then announce the big announcement in a controlled environment? It's not 1983, technology is not changing every five seconds like it was back then. Sure, there are new gadgets/cell phones/gizmos, but the "wow" factor of technology is not like it was in the 80's and early 90's.
  • Isn't it obvious? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ka D'Argo ( 857749 ) on Monday March 05, 2007 @05:14AM (#18235256) Homepage
    Ok, so they chucked E3 (to later be replaced anyway) cause it wasn't focusing on the industry and it's people more so than the average day gamer getting into it, and all the hype etc They are saying GDC is becoming the same, more flashy big name stuff rather than it's usual routine.

    It's simple, and obvious, make a gaming/technology industry show, that is for the people. Developers, businesses etc are all welcome regardless, and could setup booths of their own. I know, someone will quote me PAX but for every video game or console promoting itself there, there are another couple hundred people sitting around playing CCG's and such which while cool in their own right wouldn't fit in too much with a video game themed place such as an E3-like show. So you host this show, stick it some place neutral for god sakes, no West Coast, no East Coast. Make'em meet in the middle, hold the shit somewhere in north Texas or something. A large building, open to the public via purchased tickets, booths to be rented. No need to fake some industry connection to get in. Keep the booth babes but tame them up some, other wise you run the risk of having your show being labeled as adults only, which would cut into the fan base that could attend.

    It would suck, as an idea, if no companies came out for it. If Nintendo, MS, Sony and others didn't show up, you'd basically just have one giant LAN party where people walked around from console demo unit to demo unit playing various games. But it could work. It would solve the "omg E3 ain't what it used to be, cancel it" or the "omg GDC is turning into E3" bullshit and make way for a more open E3-style show that is more accessible to the entire country.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nintendo really needs to start talking about their 2007 plans because right now me and many other Wii owners are starting to wonder if we all paid 250 dollars for another GameCube. Last year Nintendo wouldn't stop talking about how they were going to revolutionize the console world with the Wii and ever since Christmas its like the company forgot they were competing in the console market.

    The online stuff appears to be in shambles.
    The Wii games so far have been underwelming. Zelda was good, and stuff like Wi
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by miro f ( 944325 )
      it seems to have taken third parties a while to get on board the Wii, look for their releases around the end of 2007 and the start of 2008

      Nintendo needs to support their developers more, these rumours of no third party Mii support and no online till 2008 don't make me happy =/
    • From what I heard, they are unable to talk about any of their new stuff at the GDC due to an impending stock trade(And apparently, Japanese law forbids companies from talking about anything new during this stock trade, fearing the stock may take a plunge.)
    • by Rycross ( 836649 )
      The situation with ports is definitely disappointing. I'm hoping there's some great announcements around the corner for the system.
  • Its all in the name (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Monday March 05, 2007 @05:45AM (#18235412)
    GDC: Game Developer's Conference

    E3 (previously): Electronic Entertainment Expo.

    The focus of each event seems to be pretty clearly stated in their names.

    • Well that's exactly the point of TFA, that so many posters seem to be missing. Will the GDC become more like E3 due to E3 being kaput?

      Are the GDC organizers making sure that GDC sticks to what it should be?
  • E3, while brought up in the article, has little to do with the main point of the article. This isn't about a fear that the event will now become what E3 is trying to move away from being. This is about GDC becoming too big in its own right.

    "Now that the industry is big enough to sustain (several other) segment-, market- or platform-specific developer conferences, will GDC still continue to be mecca for game developers? We'll see," Pallister said.

    It is still all about the developers.
  • GDC is similar to what E3 was supposed to be, private. It works that way because of the price of the show, it costs almost 1K to do anything worth while. However at the same time GDC is slowly going the way of E3. The focus isn't on the game developers as much any more as the focus is now on the big names and what they will bring.

    We have Sony going all out to start a pissing contest in the Expo room (something that will likely come up next year when EA, Activision, and Microsoft jump on that bandwagon an
  • The GDC used to be more technical, but that's because the field is more mature now.

    Back in the late 1990s, people were struggling with trying to get game physics, programmable shaders, NPC control, and MMORPG services to work at all. So there were heavy technical sessions on subjects like that. Most of those problems have been solved now; improvements continue, but the basic problems are understood.

    Today, most of the problems in game development aren't algorithm-related. They're more concerned with

  • Sure it keeps getting bigger, but it's been a long time since a get together in Chris Crawford's living room.
  • GDC is more than just about disseminating information, although that's the basic pretense for getting everyone together. Obviously, all that information could simply be transmitted online.

    One of the biggest draws for developers is the opportunity to network among their industry peers. For individual developers, it's a chance to meet other devs and industry reps. Smaller game studios have an opportunity to talk to publishers. Vendors can meet-and-greet their clients and potential clients. Game developme

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein