Austin Game Conference gears up

Second annual event attracts industry bigwigs; online multiplayer gaming takes center stage.

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Austin is the capital of a lot of things, among them live music and Texas. But it is rapidly becoming a capital of the games industry as well, thanks in no small part to the Austin Game Initiative (AGI) and its now-annual Austin Game Conference (AGC). For the second straight year, AGI is drawing leaders from the gaming industry to Texas for the two-day conference on online multiplayer gaming across all platforms (PC, console, and mobile).

The conference will run September 9 and 10, and it will cover six tracks, which focus primarily on the areas of design, business, technology, and support for multiplayer games. Another track, sponsored by Nokia, deals with mobile and wireless gaming, while the last track focuses exclusively on console gaming.

Famous names and important titles abound as programmers, lead designers, academics, and international business directors fill out the list of confirmed speakers. The companies represented include Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Sony, NCsoft, and Mythic Entertainment. A full rundown of the event can be found at the AGC Web site.

Last year’s AGC was a huge hit among attendees, and Chris Sherman, executive director of the AGI, intends to build on that success. Besides a larger tech pavilion and exhibit hall, the focus on online console gaming (especially of the massively multiplayer persuasion), has been expanded. Sherman cites influence from Microsoft and Sony for the MMOG expansion toward consoles, as well as the fact that many of Austin’s game companies are involved in the genre, thus making it a natural fit.

In related news, the Game Initiative, a spin-off organization of the AGI, is hosting a conference for people who are looking to enter the games industry. The “How to Break Into the Video Game Industry: Conference and Resume Workshop” is being held on June 26 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. A variety of industry insiders will speak at the event, including staffers from Red Storm and Bethesda. A full list of speakers, schedules, and registration information can be found at the conference Web site.

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