GDC Day Two

Day Two started with Unity’s much-anticipated announcements, including Unity 5 Personal Edition. Perhaps the most interesting part was Mike Capps appearance. As the former head of Epic, their Unreal Engine and Unity battled for dominance. Since Epic was sold to Tencent, rumors have spread that Capps was unhappy with the direction they took, and this appearance seemed to confirm that, without him ever mentioning Epic or Unreal.

One thing that is good to see this year is the very visible presence of large, non-game industry companies like Google, Apple, Twitter and others. This is part of why a big part of everyone’s focus this year is on ads in and around games. While this has been happening in games for years, it really seems to now be a major factor. I am actually rather proud that our Mall Tycoon game more than a decade ago was one of the first, with good players getting to build Gamestops. I actually think ads are a good part of a game when they fit it well, which is true for maybe one percent of ads in games.

The best way that I saw to include ads in games was Kongregate’s AdVenture Capitalist. First of all, I am very amused by the idea of Idle (or Incremental) games. Second, the ads were provided on a opt-in basis, and if you looked at the ads, you received power ups – very fitting in a game about capitalism

I went to a few good presentations yesterday, but most of my day was meetings. I don’t usually post about those, but I do want to share some of what came from the Game Industry Support meeting. No, this isn’t a support group for people who have been in the industry too long, though goodness knows we need that. This is for trade associations, government groups and the like who work to build and improve the industry.

We had a great discussion on game industry surveys that I won’t inflict on you. I do want to share some of what Jason Della Rocca is doing in Canada. Jason, former IGDA president and, more importantly, former SIEGE keynote speaker, runs an accelerator in Montreal for game studios. These are rare around the world, and Jason’s Execution Labs is easily one of the best, if not the best. They have expanded their operations, starting a cowork space in addition to the accelerator. I would be interested in thoughts of indie developers as to its model: http://executionlabs.com.

Random thoughts through the day:

1. Yep, convention wi-fi is still the Sux0R

2. Are eSports events more like pro sport events or music festivals?

3. Should eSports be spelled Esports, ESports, or eSports?

Hope to see you at 3:30 today in North Hall 111 for the IGDA’s Advocacy Training!

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