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Seems like we're all just talking about conferences lately. The online version of the annual San Francisco Game Developer's Conference will occur in Austin, TX this fall, and will feature some pretty heavy hitters organizing it, including reps from Zynga, PopCap and even Blizzard that will be orchestrating all of the fun and, especially, games going on at the conference.
The conference will once again be in Austin, TX, from Oct 10-13, in the Austin Convention Center. More information at the GDC online website, and be sure to check out the press release below about some of the developers and luminaries advising and speaking this year.
SAN FRANCISCO - UBM TechWeb Game Network, organizers of the Game Developers Conference Online (GDC Online) are revealing the latest game industry leaders from the worlds of social and connected gaming to serve on both the Main Conference and Summit-specific advisory boards for the conference this year.
These industry luminaries, each of whom have rated, commented on and discussed more than 340 submissions for GDC Online 2011, represent companies including Zynga, ngmoco, PopCap, Playdom, CCP, Blizzard and Riot Games.
Electronic Arts announced today that they will be broadcasting their press conference, live from, ah, Spike TV of all places. You all remember Spike TV, right? It used to be called TNN and only showed reruns and the Grand Ol' Opry? And then it turned into something resembling a bastard child of the NASCAR channel and G4? Yeah, well, that's where EA's press conference is going to be, June 6th, 12:30PM PDT.
EA has already stated they're going to be showing a new Battlefield 3 Demo, gameplay from Mass Effect 3 (sick!) and "news on unannounced projects." So if you have American cable, tune your Tivo to Spike- otherwise...well, I'm sorry you don't have Spike TV?
Also, kids: please don't confuse Spike TV with the Spice Channel (not a food network).
The next installment of tickets for this sure-to-be insanely fun conference goes on sale 5/25 7PM PDT, so if you're located in the US you'll have plenty of time to get home from work only to post up on your computer, eagerly awaiting the the clock striking sevenfold. Or something. Either way, you'll get another chance, and tickets are actually a very decent $175- though if you miss out on those, you'll have the opportunity to spend $500 to go to a dinner with the Blizzard / Activision Execs. Oh, c'mon, it's for charity.
Readers will recall that BlizzCon tickets first went on sale the same day as the prophesied Rapture, which we believed had the potential to drastically interfere. The event however weathered the End of Days (I refuse to repost the trailer, go watch it yourselves) without a hitch, as the allotted tickets for that round sold out in less than 24 hours.
Check out more information at Blizzard's BlizzCon site or check out the posts below.
The initial allotment of tickets for BlizzCon 2011 has now been sold out. If you weren't able to get tickets this time, you'll have another chance on Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time, when a second batch goes on sale.
Boo yah! If you're not making the trek to this year's E3 (or paying for the horrendously expensive passes), you'll at least be able to catch Nintendo's presentation at 9AM PDT, Tuesday June 7. Also, bonus if you're a Wii player: exclusive Wii-only content following the presentation. Make sure to watch, as Nintendo will be announcing their brand new system, which is basically SNES controllers with touchscreens in them. Awesome.
Nintendo did something similar for this past winter's Game Developer's Conference here in San Francisco- gotta say, I really wish more tech and game firms would do this type of thing, as those conferences never get any cheaper! Press release to follow, or check out the blog post.
Video game fans around the globe are invited to bookmark http://e3.nintendo.com in their browsers as Nintendo prepares to offer a virtual front-row seat at this year's E3 Expo in Los Angeles. A live webcast of Nintendo's E3 Expo 2011 media presentation will begin at 9 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, June 7. Immediately following the presentation, fans can enjoy additional Nintendo Network coverage on the site, including interviews, game trailers and special video segments.
Newsflash, Blizzard: A lot of people (who probably wouldn't be attending BlizzCon anyway) in the California area are very aware of May 21, as it's the day that Armageddon officially begins. And I'm not talking about a level-mod or Diablo 2 marathon gaming session- literally, the End of Days. Not this End of Days though, unless that Jeffersonian scandal of his was some act of divine intervention to clear his schedule in time to save the world.
Anyway, in case the Earth isn't consumed by heavenly fire tomorrow morning (On that note, does Armageddon have a time zone? Does that mean midnight tonight? Could a cosmic-level event really be dependent on an arbitrary measuring system created by humans? I think I'd be more trusting of this if it coincided with the passing of a meteor, or an eclipse. Or, I don't know, even a solstice. C'mon Zealots, step your game up), BlizzCon tickets will be on sale for a limited time only. More information below from the blog post and more information on what could just be a religious conspiracy to sell T-Shirts.
This is what we've all been waiting for- everyone watching this keynote wanted to hear about the Chrome OS Netbooks, now dubbed "Chromebooks". All morning, Sundar Pichai has been speaking briefly before turning it over to various other Google reps, but the last part of today's keynote was his time to shine. He had the good fortune of being able to announce to the world that Google Chrome OS Chromebooks will be shipping June 15 of this year. Seeing as how my birthday is a mere month after that, I might be preordering....now. Daddy needs a Chromebook.
Also, I wasn't lucky enough to be in the audience when Pichai announced that everyone in the audience was getting a voucher for a free Chromebook. Bastards! At least they still have to wait for June 15 like the rest of us though. These lucky people, and the rest of us who will shell out the dough for these devices have, as of right now, two choices (seen above), Samsung or Acer.
The Samsung Chromebook has a 12.1", 300-nit display, with an 8-hour battery, headphone jack, built in Wifi, and 3G available from Verizon, who will undoubtedly brutally rob us on data packages. Pichai noted that it came in "two colors" (2nd big Apple stab!) to the delight and laughter of the audience.
The Acer Chromebook is a bit smaller, with 11.6" display and only 6.5 hour battery, but it has a full keyboard (not sure what this means for the Samsung- does it have a half-keyboard?)
Koblin relinquished the stage to Sundar Pichai once again, and he began with the following:
People spend all of their time on the web, within a browser. That's why we created Chrome OS.
I think this was the moment as the Keynote was nearing its finish that everyone in the audience started to get very, very excited. We've all been waiting for word on Chrome OS netbooks after the CR-48 pilot program was announced six months ago. Of course, Pichai referred to it this part of the speech as a "Chromebook". Awesome. Pichai invites Kan Liu to the stage, who demos some of the new features of Chrome OS when it comes to multitasking.
He shows off playing videos and songs in Gmail that don't interfere or complicate the UI or UX using "instant pull-out boxes". He plugged in a micro-SD card, which means that Chromebooks are going to have added data capabilities for information storage like photo, music, and video. Not that you really need one with things like Google Music Beta and Google Movies, the renting service announced yesterday. Not that Chrome OS won't work with things like Netflix, Hulu, etc.
CHROMEBOOKS ARE SHIPPING JUNE 15 2011
This is one of the trippiest things I've seen in a while. The music is great (as expected), and the 3D rendered environment is completely navigable and customizable. There's even a bit of a narrative in the experience that you can follow, but honestly the visual effects are so engaging that it could have as much narrative as a Blue's Clues episode and you'd still be enthralled. Dragging the mouse around the experience not only shifts perspective but creates all sorts of cool stuff in real-time, while watching.
I'm literally painting with geometry. I'm painting with shader effects.
New animals spawn, grass grows on the sides of buildings, a swath of rippling black cuts across a landscape (yet devoid of sinister intent). Amazing. You can even go into the back-end of the experience and customize the various models, including building your own. It's, once again, all open source!
Peter Vesterbacka, CEO of Rovio, the firm that gave us the most popular mobile gaming application of all time, got on stage at Google I/O today and told everyone exactly what they wanted to hear:
We wanted to bring Angry Birds to the web for a long, long time, but we didn't want to compromise performance. We aren't making fish in a bowl -- it's all about Angry Birds. Really, really Angry Birds. We've been so angry, because we've never been able to bring Angry Birds to the web.
As we already told you , Angry Birds is now available for download in beta at the Chrome web store, right here. It runs on Firefox 4 and IE 9, but it was originally designed for Chrome, and that's what I recommend anyway after seeing this Keynote.
The Web Angry Birds was built in WebGL, but no worries, it still runs on Canvas. From the keynote, it appears that there's a simple click-and-shoot interface replacing the touch with which we're all so familiar, but I imagine the transition will be easy. I just now installed it, only took a few seconds.
Vesterbacka spoke at great, broken, length on how excited Rovio was to release AB for the web, jocularly citing how much they love the Chrome in-app purchase flat rate of 5%.
I might have seen this one coming, but it was still great to witness. Pichai relinquished the stage to Vikas Gupta, one of the Google Chrome Product Managers on the payments team, who spoke briefly about the benefits of in-app web purchases to businesses, versus mobile. We've already seen a bunch of stats showing that web users (unsurprisingly) are more likely to make purchases in their browsers than on their phones, but the trick is to make the UX as seamless as possible so that "the rhythm" of their browsing experience does not get interrupted.
Vikas gave a nod to a really cool Chrome web application called Graphicly (which I have just installed on my Chrome as of the writing of this post) that helps users read and discover comics and graphic novels on the web. With 600,000 people viewing this Keynote, I can only imagine what this kind of publicity will do for Graphicly. Then again, you should all be reading more comics anyway.
How easy is it as a developer to implement in-app payments in your Chrome web-app? Try one line of code. Boom. Done. After Vikas made a thinly-veiled stab at Apple's developer-back-breaking in-app purchase rate of 30% (without actually naming Apple, but did anyone really not get the ref?), he announced that because Google loves their developers and they want to continue to foster their community.... *drum roll*.....