Sep 092006

My overall opinion of the Austin Gaming Conference.
September 8, 2006.

I?m somewhere over some western state, maybe Nevada by now. The plane is passing a storm over a city. The clouds are all raised up like a mushroom cloud from some documentary on PBS. Lightning strikes and lights up the center of the white and black mass and reminded me of some sci-fi electrical storm. The top of the cloud extends high into the air and cuts through another smoother, higher cloud layer making the whole thing appear like an iceberg which is kind of what I feel the AGC was like

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. Even with all the talk, with all the experts and all the time we had, we only barely scratched the surface of what could have been discussed or presented. Much like the iceberg, there was an entire unseen part just under the white, fluffy, and cute surface that we?ll never see or get to explore.

The AGC presented itself as a melding of the minds for me. A kind of Gaming Woodstock where the stage was filled with what I would consider classic and modern rock stars. It held for me something to gauge what others in the industry are thinking about and what the industry thinks is important. Of course the MMO was the main focus of this years agenda, but so was casual gaming and the idea of community. Talks ranged from very small panels of one to larger panels of 5 or 6. I found myself pulled towards wanting to know more about community and events as well as what casual gaming had in store for our futures. I was impressed to find out that though not all but most shared my opinion of how things should come together. My main concern for the future will be how developers want their communities to self regulate themselves, but don?t want to provide any type of standard that their communities should live up to. They want people to use VOIP or Web video to communicate, but their answer to everything is ?the person can turn it off if they don?t want to see something offensive, or content that they disagree with? and as everyone in the CS world knows, that?s not exact what the customer expects or will do. They want their community to have rules, boundaries and protection built in.

Overall though I was very impressed with the way the AGC ran and what topics were discussed. I can only hope that next year is bigger, longer and provides more opportunities to discuss and debate topics that will be the main concerns of companies in the next few years. Mainly, how will I support the community I?ve built, and how will I provide a service for that community that is not based on ?best price? but ?best practice? something I found was lacking this year and was more in favor of the ?best price? solution.

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