Another look at the …

Posted: Sun, 06 May 2007 18:15:31 PDT

Vancouver International Game Summit (2 of 2)

Another conference has come and gone. Another enjoyable experience and this one didn’t require much travel time. The conference took place in the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel (Used in X-men 3 as the building Archangel narrowly escaped from). Taking place in an area of the hotel’s second floor pavillion, that meant close proximity to all the sessions and exhibits during the break.

When I first registered my initial impressions of the conference were that it would be fairly small because there didn’t seem to be much interest. But actually there was a fair-sized crowd present on both days, mostly composed of industry professionals but also included those “almost” in the industry/students and anyone with a general interest in the video games. The hotel, located in the heart of downtown, is walking distance from many of the video games companies in the city.

While conference sessions were going on, the exhibits area was pretty empty, just a few people wandering the foyer and stopping to play a game or visit the booths (striped shirted Rockstar employees can be seen in the image below). Various schools like Vancouver Film School and Digipen were present alongside companies like Rockstar Vancouver, Relic Entertainment, Vivendi Games, and Autodesk, Inc.
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
A few Wii Kiosks were present and there was a small crowd that congregated around this area just outside of the main ballroom but no PS3 presence.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Title Sponsor Electronic Arts also had a couple of kiosks set up in their own area right next to the escalators. EA held a reception after the Thursday Keynote and this gave everyone a chance to relax and reflect on the first day of the conference.
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Casual Games association sponsored lunches and had a booth on hand to advertise the growing presence of Casual Games in the industry and why this is may be a good thing.

The panel sessions were divided into 3 tracks: Technology, Design and Management, a reflection of the different groups of attendees. Keynotes were given by:

Rory Armes
Senior VP and Group General Manager EA Canada and

Alexander Seropian
Bungie studios and Wideload Games founder

Alexander Seropian’s Thursday Keynote:
“The Once and Future Game Developer”.
In this keynote, his transition from Bungie to Wideload Games and how the business of game development has changed since he started in the industry. The Man-power involved, market acceptance being highly subjective, and factors beyond a game maker’s control like retailers/manufacturers. From Economics to Market and Development Risk, there are a number of risks involved with being an independent game developer that you’re likely to encounter. You can read more about his keynote on Gamasutra.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Just a few of the factors that affect game development. Each of the factors increase year after year. From the costs to the number of people needed to develop a game, and the time it takes to bring that game to completion.

The first Vancouver International Game Summit has ended for this year but with Vancouver’s growing and maturing industry, there is no question that this conference will be around in the years to follow. It is unfortunate that the one-day festival the Northwest Games Festival didn’t go on as planned. It might just be postponed, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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