Virtual Worlds News has good liveblogging coverage of the talks at the Austin Game Developers Conference, including the panel I was on, Startup Lessons from Recent Online Games (audio is available here, for a fee). There's also stuff at Gamasutra and Raph's site.
AGDC didn't have many overall themes, other than it feeling a bit like a bunch of MMO folks trying to ignore the social web crowd in their midst. So instead of a summary I'll do the same thing I did for GDC and give some snapshots of the last couple days.
On how teenagers live their lives online, and take that for granted.
"Fourteen year-olds playing our game were born in 1994, they've never not known the Internet. Pictures of them as a fetus could have been posted online before they were even born." - Sulka Haro (Habbo Hotel)
On user generated content, player control, and the feeling a player can
effect the world.
"It turns out that a sense of autonomy is the single
strongest relationship to sustained subscriptions [in an MMOG]." - Scott Rigby (Immersyve, Inc.)
On the dangers of not paying attention to the small percentage of hackers.
"Hacking is like a drug. If your whole guild is using it, you'll be pressured to use it too. Then, once our users try a hack tool they actually find it hard to get back into the game." - Minho Kim (Nexon America)
The cause of all our trouble is the belief in our pure identity. Religious, ethnic, historical, ideological. Ronald Godasman
It occurred to me this morning that perhaps all of the identity play that goes on in online worlds is not just therapeutic, but may - ever so subtly - have a very positive impact on this generations sense of self.
I don't really think an overall summary of the "themes" of GDC really makes sense, it's kind of like when reporters try to sum up billions of individual trades into how the stock market "feels" on any given day. So instead of trying to "sum up" the Game Developers Conference I figured I would just share some of the choice snippits from the week:
On changing the terminology from user generated content to player created content.
"Let’s kill 'user-generated
content.' Are they a power source, are they
generators, a battery? And even if they are junkies I don’t want to refer to them
"At Microsoft, we would sit down play testers with the game and a can of coke. When people hit a point of frustration, they would lean back in their chair and take a sip of the coke. We called it the "time-to-sip" and I would take a note of that moment and hammer away to fix it." - Mark Terrano (Hidden Path)
On why Media Molecule (who had one of the hotter demos of GDC) went after Sony as their publisher.
"At every GDC, Sony would throw some huge party that I wanted to go to but never got invited. So basically, we went to them first because they had the best parties." - Mark Healey (Media Molecule)