COLOGNE -- Over 1,500 game professionals representing more than 45 different countries congregated at the Cologne Congress Center East in Cologne, Germany for three days of learning, networking, and inspiration at Game Developers Conference Europe 2010 (GDC Europe). Thanks to a strong lineup of speakers, ranging from famed game developer Warren Spector of Disney’s Junction Point, to Hermen Hulst of Guerilla Games, the show presented an esteemed selection of 170 European and international speakers, a total of 40 exhibitors and sponsors and 275 media representatives covering game development on PC, social networking sites, consoles and mobile platforms. GDC Europe returns to Cologne, Germany on August 15-17, 2011.
Keynote speaker Warren Spector, creative director of Disney’s Junction Point Studios and creator of the critically-acclaimed Deus Ex series, helped usher in the event with a lyrical speech discussing videogames as a medium unlike any other, with an unparalleled power to transport the player to completely believable worlds. In the opening day’s second keynote, Tencent Games VP Bo Wang helped to put the bourgeoning Chinese tech/game market in perspective, detailing his company’s meteoric rise to earn more than 568 million active user accounts and $1.3 billion U.S. dollars in revenue from January 2010 to the end of June 2010. The opening day also saw the first of the “Focus Russia” series of sessions, in which Dmitry Lyust and Konstantin Popov offered their overview of the Russian market, and their assessment of how the already-lucrative market could expand from $223M USD in 2009 to $400-410M USD by 2012.
Day two of GDC Europe saw an eclectic mix of speakers take on a variety of topics, including keynote speaker Heiko Hubertz, CEO and founder of Bigpoint, who offered his audience a close look at how to conduct business in America as a European company, and the cultural and economic differences that need to be addressed to overcome the divide between European and America markets. On the console development side, Hermen Hulst, the managing director of Guerrilla Games, discussed the genesis of Killzone in his keynote, elaborating on how the team’s successes and failures ultimately culminated in the creation of a Sony-owned AAA console powerhouse.
On Wednesday, Lloyd Melnick of Playdom, Alex Ruzhentsev of 101XP Inc, Stefan Lampinen of Speltjanst and Chris Stanton-Jones of Catapult Business Solutions offered their takes on the expanding Russian games industry from the perspective of business leaders working in the Russian market. The busy roundtable gave voice to a growing chorus of industry pioneers seeking opportunity in the fertile Russian soil. From an booming geographic location, to a booming software platform, the PopCap Games postmortem on Bejeweled Blitz offered an insider’s look at how the wildly successful casual games publisher managed to bring their success to the world of Facebook and social gaming, ultimately gaining a loyal following of 10 million active players before being adapted on the iPhone and as a PC-downloadable product.
“GDC Europe is a truly international show, spotlighting not only pan-European developers and publishers, but covering markets in North America, Asia and everywhere in-between,” said GDC Europe Director Frank Sliwka. “With another great show completed, GDC Europe has shown that despite all the changes in the evolving world of game development, events like this help to unite all industry professionals with key insights into how to push the medium even further, and how to successfully develop for different parts of the world.
In addition to the conference content, GDC Europe offered several opportunities for creative exchange and business development, with venues including the GDC Europe Expo Floor, VIP Lounge, and the GDC Europe Business Lounge at gamescom, plus a host of industry parties. More than forty exhibitors and sponsors from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, the UK and the USA registered for the exhibitor zone measuring 650 square meters. Exhibitors included Crytek, Bigpoint, Epic, Howest University, Imagination Studios and Intel. In addition, GDC Europe also hosted for the first time a business Lounge at the accompanying games expo, gamescom, at which Autodesk, Crytek, Epic, Zotac, DigiProtect, Level 3 exhibited. All Access pass holders to GDC Europe will also gain access to the video, audio, and presentation recordings at GDC Europe shortly after the event through the GDC Vault.
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