May 13-15, 2008, Seattle, WA
Lots of goodness happening this week at the ION Game Conference. So much so, that you must pick and choose. It's like halloween candy. It's all good.
The bags are packed, the badges are printed, and the stage is set for the ION Game Conference. The past several weeks have been a ramp-up of intensity as we've prepared to make ION an outstanding experience for each of you.
Although this is technically the second year for the conference, in many ways it feels like a brand new event. There are many new aspects to the conference this year we have a new name, a new venue, and many new types of networking activities. The conference has grown in both scope and attendance, and I hope in importance. We are not afraid to experiment, and so we are trying new things this year, like the mini-lectures and networking breakfasts. If these activities are a hit, we'll continue them; if not, we'll experiment with another new idea. Two things about ION won't change: our devotion to quality and our unwillingness to be satisfied with the status quo.
We have an outstanding line-up of speakers and sessions, and I think the hardest thing about ION is going to be deciding which sessions to attend. There are many times when I very much want to go to three or four sessions simultaneously. Here are some of my own personal picks for sessions at ION:
Tuesday: Lecture: Web 2.0: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet Adam Martin (NCsoft)
I think many of us have a lot of uncertainty, and perhaps fear, about how recent changes in the way consumers utilized and exist in the internet will impact our ability to create games. Will traditional game makers become the next dinosaurs? Adam "Strangelove" Martin is going to cover some highly interested technology topics in this lecture.
Tuesday: Lecture: WOW vs. Facebook: Is Social Networking the New Casual Game? Nicole Lazzaro (XEODesign, Inc.)
Nicole had a great interview last week in ION Connection, and she's a highly competent presenter. I'm looking very much forward to her full lecture on what I feel is one of the most important trends in the online game space.
Wednesday: Panel: Virtual Property: Issues in Buying and Selling Virtual Goods Kirk Soderquist (Perkins Coie LLP) Don McGowan (Microsoft Corporation) Neal Black (Live Gamer, Inc.) Sean F. Kane (Drakeford & Kane LLC)
Kirk and Don gave a highly engaging lecture last year, and I'm very interested learning about the breadth of topics covered by this panel of legal experts. Game developers often work in "gray areas" boundaries where they are unsure of their legal standing and risks involved. This panel will do a lot to clear up those uncertainties and perhaps tell us where we're completely mistaken about our assumptions.
Wednesday: Panel: Online Games 2013: A Five Year Glimpse into the Future Peter Freese (ION Game Conference) Erik Bethke (GoPets Ltd.) Scott Jennings (NCsoft) Damion Schubert (BioWare Corp.) Bridget Agabra (Acceleration Studies Foundation)
At the risk of sounding like I'm promoting my own session (I'm moderating) I think this panel is going to spur some outstanding discussion. Erik's keynote last year Games Industry 2012 is a logical precursor to this panel, and his predictions seem a lot more likely today than they did one year ago. In addition to Erik, the panel features Damion Schubert, one of the smartest designers I know, Scott Jennings, whom I first knew as Lum the Mad and whose opinion I always enjoy, and Bridget Agabra, whose experience with the Metaverse Roadmap brings a unique synthetic worlds perspective.
Thursday: Lecture: Pirates of the Burning Sea: A Postpartum Joe Ludwig (Flying Lab Software)
We're always interested in hearing first-hand from other's experiences in crafting MMOs, because we know how hard it is to ship them. Last year we learned some great lessons from Auto Assault's creators, and I'm looking forward to an equally revealing talk from Joe Ludwig on Pirates of the Burning Sea.
Thursday: Lecture: Reinventing Habbo Osma Ahvenlampi (Sulake)
I'm really thrilled to have Osma join us as a speaker, and I'm always keen to hear about other's development processes. I'm increasingly convinced that broken development processes account for the majority of failed and over-budget projects in our industry.
No matter what your role in the online games industry, I'm confident you'll find the sessions at ION to be educational, thought-provoking, and enlightening.
See you there!
For more, please visit ION '08.