BizSpots: Pixel Mine, Namco, GDC Austin, Nibris

Industry vets form new studio,;Japanese publisher appoints American veep; keynotes revealed for online-oriented conference; Polish developer gets representation.

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Pixel Mines out small-scale development house
Perhaps stated most eloquently by David Jaffe, "I CAN tell you that man, SHORTER, LESS EXPENSIVE GAMES...wow! What a BLAST to be working on these things." Such is the mentality of Pixel Mine, a new studio announced today headed up by industry veterans who have worked on titles such as Ultima Online, Stubbs the Zombie, and Deus Ex. Eschewing the standard developer/publisher relationship, Pixel Mine plans to develop "short play titles" that offer high production values and an emphasis on community involvement. The startup plans to unveil its first project at this year's Austin Game Developers Conference, which takes place September 5-7.

Roger Hector named brain of Namco Bandai
Namco Bandai of America announced today it had appointed Roger Hector to the position of vice president of product development. In his new role, Hector will oversee all product-related development activities for the Japan-based publishing giant. Hector has previously worked for Atari, Electronic Arts, and Disney, and most recently he served as chief operating officer with the Enterprise Broadcasting Corporation. Hector is the second recent addition to Namco Bandai's management team. In June, Namco Bandai's American branch appointed Andrew Lelchuk as executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Perry, Kim, Schmidt, Sheldon keynote Austin GDC
The Austin Game Developers Conference kicks off in two weeks, and the CMP Games Group today announced the events keynote speakers. Dave Perry, former president and founder of Shiny Entertainment, will cover the topic of how to grow a career in the interactive entertainment industry. Minho Kim, director of game operations at Nexon Amercia, will share his insights on microtransactions and how to make the alternative business model work in online games for Western markets. Xbox Audio and Media program manager Brian Schmidt will speak on creating audio within the confines of current limitations. Finally, Lee Sheldon, assistant professor at Indiana University, will speak on writing for games.

Nibris finds Sadness in the Fog
Fog Studios' clientele expands today, as Polish developer Nibris announced it had signed with the entertainment industry representation firm. Nibris currently has the gothic-themed Sadness in development for the Nintendo Wii. Announced last April, Sadness is a historic action adventure set in the 1930s and presented entirely in black and white. Of the deal, FOG chairman and CEO Ed Dille stated, "When we evaluated Nibris and their highly anticipated Wii title Sadness, we saw a [high] level of creativity, passion and devotion to innovation."

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