/////////////////// Ah, GDC. It’s that time of year when every young boy
and girl’s thoughts turn to flights of fancy—by which I mean big game
contracts, career moves, camaraderie, and the art and science of video
games, of course.
Truth be told, it seems as though the importance of the “big game
contract” has diminished significantly over the last few years. We used to talk
about games getting back to the old 80s idea of the bedroom programmer—
someone who can make a living developing and releasing games on their
own. But I don't think anyone imagined it would actually go so far.
With tiny, agile social game companies still doing well, intelligent iOS
developers cleaning up, and certainly not forgetting the MINECRAF TS of the
world, we are looking at a game industry that is increasingly about micro-studios exploring and expanding niches, rather than a culture where the $60
million blockbuster is the only path to success. But far from being fragmented,
these smaller niches seem to be moving toward convergence, with a new sort
of definition of “multiplatform” emerging—one that bridges consoles, PC, and
phones in ways that previously sounded like marketing jargon.
This year’s GDC reflects that shift in its summits especially, with social
games, smartphones, indie games, and other specific areas covered. The
main conference hasn’t been immune to industry shifts either, with talks
discussing network play and monetization alongside more traditional art
and tech talks.
As the industry changes, so too does the conference. And in these pages
we’ve provided an early look at some of the best talks and summits, though
more will be available on gdconf.com as this issue ships. We look for ward to
seeing you there!