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GDC ’13 Recap: Day 1 Grindin’ Jack

GDC '13

Day 1: The moment I entered San Francisco’s Moscone Center, I was humbly overwhelmed. The location is naturally sprawling so pinpointing where to start was a little troubling. Thankfully, the expo portion is not opening until Wednesday and that was my first relief. Equipped with my traveler’s guide (or map) and my GDC app, I composed myself and learned a lot in what seemed not enough time to consume all that I had heard. Today marked the beginning of several “Summit” discussions that had a wide range of topics that encompassed Free-to-Play, AI, Game Narrative, GDC Education, Independent Games, Localization, QA, and my lane, Smartphone & Tablet Games. In full discloser, I am a one sentient being, and there is no way to see everything by your lonesome. Yet, what I did see was excellent and happily enjoyed. The north and south hall housed the majority of the summits and the primary expo floor (still closed). The west hall had a very cool and retro arcade with many "old school" consoles and a play section where popular mobile games like my fav, Super Hexagon, could be sampled on flatscreens. It is all so interesting and all so grand. Here is a taste of mobile’s side of GDC:

There's More to Life Than Press Releases and Promo Codes

Toucharcade.com’s Eli Hodapp gave a very candid presentation about the scale of the app store, setting proper expectations for apps, and how to give your app the best possible exposure without doing the standard “press release” marketing format. I wasn’t quite sure where the presentation was intending to direct the audience but soon it became a very educational and “common sense” like approach to marketing through gaming sites. Main points were:

  • Stay Patient: It takes time to create a decent app that grows. Individuals who are not hitting the high mark of 1mil downloads are not failing as long as those who download the app are enjoying it continuously. It takes time to grow an audience who continues with your development team to other titles.
  • It’s Easy to Get the Wrong Idea: Developers are trying to create the next “temple run” or any other duplicate game. Trying to create something unique and seamless to get hardcore and casual gamers alike to buy the app and keep it.
  • Understanding the Audience: The vast majority of iOS device owners don’t read gaming sites.

Free Indie Games

Intense and impassioned discussion about the state of video games and how the development of indie games gives voices to those who are typically not represented or well-represented in the mainstream market. These games tackle issues of race, gender, depression, and the overall human condition. The website freeindiegames.com was developed to embrace games by all people and have a more open dialog about world issues as well as a better representation of good games rather than games for capital. Titles discussed included:

  • At the Bond Fire
  • 19
  • Goblet Grotto

Avengers Initiative: Transition from console to mobile

How console games transition to our ever-growing mobile world is becoming more important and creatively challenging. Utilizing cross-platform achievements, Avengers Initiative allowed for mobile gameplay to impact console gameplay and vice versa. However, challenges were still abound; these included but were not limited to:

  • Cultural Shift: Monetization, aggressive schedule, no previous genre expertise
  • Technical Strategy
  • Premium Appetite
  • Scope
  • Discipline Mix

We have some interviews lined up as well as more coverage of the huge announcements that are on the horizon. Enjoy.


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