Hot Topics Session - D.I.C.E. 2012

Panelists at D.I.C.E. 2012 discuss game journalism, publishing models, and the ongoing battle between mobile and console games.


Angry Birds

Are video game publishers--such as Electronic Arts and Activision--stifling creativity in the video games industry? That question kicked off the opening panel of this year's D.I.C.E. Summit, a yearly conference dedicated to the art and science of making games. The panel covered three "Hot Topics" in video games, with Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter and EEDAR's Jesse Divnich tackling the first topic.

Pachter argued that publishers were great back in the '90s at getting the word out and getting people interested in gaming. However, games have become so expensive to produce, and therefore turn a profit, that publishers are not taking chances and instead are endlessly milking a few select franchises, which hurts creativity. Divnich's rebuttal was that publishers still fill that crucial role of championing games. The solution, he argued, is not doing away with publishers but having publishers yield more privileges to their developers; to give developers more creative freedom with their franchises.

The second debate of the session featured Perrin Kaplan, former Nintendo of America VP of marketing and Zebra Partners founder, and Gabriel Leydon, CEO of free-to-play mobile game developer Addmired. The two discussed the future of mobile and console games, with Kaplan taking the position that both markets could thrive independently, while Leydon adhered to the notion that free-to-play gaming would spell the end of consoles in the same way powerful home consoles led to the demise of arcades.

Finally, G4 TV host Adam Sessler and Kill Screen Magazine founder Jamin Warren talked about mainstream gaming journalism's tendency to write for a "bro" audience, how it could be helping the growth of the medium while hindering mass acceptance, and whether the gaming audience tends to be smart.

It's a long session, but there's some fascinating stuff in there. Let us know what you think about what these guys have to say in the comments.

The D.I.C.E. Summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) is a once yearly conference dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression as they uniquely apply to the development of interactive entertainment. It is organized by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences and hosts the annual Interactive Achievement Awards, which celebrate the best games of the past year, as voted by AIAS members. Comedian Jay Mohr will return to host the awards show, which takes place on February 9.

For more, check out GameSpot's coverage page, which will feature full videos of every panel and keynote address from the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit.

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