Gaming and game development have been around for decades, and the industry only continues to grow bigger every day. Ditto with the gaming population. New platforms and interfaces keep hitting the market so often. And best of all, gaming’s gone social! So, where do gaming enthusiasts and game programmers meet, greet and game? Let’s find out.
1. Game Developers Conference
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is easily the mother of all game development gatherings. It’s been around for more than 20 years, and it’s got professional game designers and developers coming together. The upcoming conference in 2012 is set to happen in San Francisco, USA between March 5th and 9th. Some of the interesting focus topics for the next conference include: AI, Social Games, Games for Change, GDC Education, Smartphone / Tablet games, and Social & Online games.
DreamHack is on the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest LAN party. It is a Sweden based social gaming event. This year, it is happening between November 24th and 27th. It has a Gladiator style arena with multiple gaming tournaments and a huge expo featuring big names in gaming hardware and research.
3. Social Gaming Summit London
The Social Gaming Summit,London is a conference focusing on the convergence of gaming with social networks and immersive worlds. This event focuses more on the business side of things – monetizing games and converting markets. This year the summit is happening on November 14 and 15. The opening keynote is presented by Facebook’s European Head of Gaming Operations.
Gamescom is one of the largest game fairs and exhibitions in the world and it is all about ‘celebrating the games’. It is attended by hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts, and is definitely a haven for gamers looking for more grub. Interestingly, Gamescom uses ‘age filtering’ wristbands to ensure that underage gamers are not exposed to content beyond their age while trying out games at stalls. Gamescom is happening next in 2012, between 15 th and 19th August at Cologne, Germany.
5. E3 : Electronic Entertainment Expo
E3 is another huge game fair and expo that usually happens in Los Angeles, USA. It is usually a game ‘launchpad’ place, with a lot of developers showcasing upcoming games and gaming hardware here. It is well attended by developers, gamers and critics alike. The E3 awards event is also a big draw. Top game publishers like Disney Interactive Studio, Atari, Creative, Sony, Activision, Microsoft and Sega are all part of this super-mega event. E3 next happens between June 5 and 7, 2012.
With the hugely increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones, we can definitely expect bigger and better game events happening all across the globe, in the near future ( case in point: Angry Birds ! ) . It will be interesting to see how new hardware and application interfaces blend in to provide the ‘authentic’ gaming experience.