Once again the game industry’s best and brightest will come together to discuss issues they feel are most relevant to the community. This year it appears as though the focus will be on “free” games, with multiple talks focusing on different types of monetization theory. There’s also a guest from the London School of Economics who will be discussing the “how-tos” of designing virtual currency. But I don’t care about any of that; I want to hear how George Fan at PopCap got his mom to play through Plants vs. Zombies.
As expected there are a handful of talks that will most likely be humorous or fun, with a few nuggets of wisdom thrown in for good measure – Notch’s fireside chat will probably be one, the aforementioned How I Got My Mom to Play Through Plants vs. Zombies will probably be another. There are a few about gameplay, as there should be; I’m particularly looking forward to hearing about the day long level design workshop and Riot’s thoughts on the ever evolving MOBA genre.
The full listing can be seen here, and as you can see the word “free” appears an awful lot. There looks to be three separate roundtables regarding the sale of virtual goods and a lecture by a professor from the London School of Economics about how to design virtual currency. Add to that multiple lectures and events about mobile development and “Pivoting Monetization,” whatever that is. Essentially it looks like GDC 2012 is going to focus on how we pay for our games.
It is good to see the industry spend some time to focus on the problems of the future. GDC and other events like it show how committed the industry is to self-reflection and adaptation. It isn’t a surprise that the industry is focusing on monetization issues. I mean with things like XBLA, Steam and the App store, it’s pretty clear where the future is heading.