Day Two of Game Developers Conference Europe 2010 Brings News From Industry Heavyweights Heiko Hubertz, Hermen Hulst, Eric Chahi and More

By Ubm Techweb Game Network, PRNE
Monday, August 16, 2010

BERLIN, August 17, 2010 - The second day of the Game Developers Conference Europe(TM) 2010 (GDC
Europe) has brought with it a large slate of game industry news at the
Cologne Congress Center East in Cologne, Germany. Produced by UBM TechWeb
Game Network, organizers of the leading Game Developers Conference(R) series,
GDC Europe is the largest professionals-only game event in Europe,
encompassing a robust selection of keynotes, lectures, panels, and sessions.
GDC Europe continues in Cologne, Germany through August 18, 2010 for its
third and final day of learning, networking, and inspiration. For more
information on GDC Europe visit:

"Day Two of the conference has again proven to be a resounding success,"
said Frank Sliwka GDC Europe Event Director and UBM TechWeb VP European
Business Development. "All of our attendees seem very excited to have
received such great industry learnings from stalwarts and legends like Heiko
, Hermen Hulst, Eric Chahi, Matt Firor and many, many more."

Highlights of today's activity include:

- In the day's first keynote, Heiko Hubertz, CEO and founder of Bigpoint,
gave attendees the advice that to conduct business in America as a European
company, the time to do it is "right now." Throughout the talk, Hubertz
elaborated on the differences between the US and European markets and
educated the audience about how to be successful in America as a European,
based on Bigpoint's experience there. Hubert advised "There are only existing
two markets in America," says Hubertz. "The console market and the Facebook
market." The biggest players in online games are from Europe, he says,
referring to Playfish, Bigpoint, Gameforge, Jagex, and Unity. And yet, Zynga
is bigger than all of them. "Zynga is generating more revenue than all the
[other] companies combined," and is growing faster than them too. Hubertz
believes Americans are dominating the social game space "because they only
have one language, one government, one law, and they have much easier access
to capital." Europe is too fractured to be as successful, he said. He also
pointed out his belief that Americans want multiplayer action games, while
Europeans care more about strategy and solo games. So to succeed in America,
Hubertz feels a developer needs 3D. Additionally, he recommends hiring "only
Americans." He said "I'm the only German who works there, the rest are all
Americans." He also cautions of audience mismatch, so developers should be
prepared to change everything. "Most of our games that were very successful
in the rest of the world were not successful in America," said Hubertz. Final
points of advice were to use well-known IP to break into new markets, noting
that it helps with player retention, and to "act as a local company… if you
want success in the U.S., you should develop games for the U.S. only, not for
worldwide. Casual or hardcore 3D. Nothing in between."

- In his keynote, Guerrilla Games managing director Hermen Hulst
discussed the genesis of the Killzone creator and its successes and failures
in evolving into a Sony-owned AAA console powerhouse. Hulst started by noting
"to survive and to grow… you need to consistently improve yourself," and
took attendees through examples of how Guerrilla's experiences have informed
their history and the key decisions made from the time Sony signed the title
that would become Killzone through to today. Reminding the audience of the
environment at the time of the first title, Hulst said that "it's very hard
to imagine how risky the idea was in these days," when the only console FPS
success was GoldenEye for N64, and only FPSes for the PC were enjoying strong
popularity. He discussed the benefits of developing their own technology from
scratch, and the ups and downs of the franchise history through Killzone:
Liberation for the PSP, Killzone 2 for the PS2 and the release of the CGI
trailer for next year's Killzone 3. It took three and a half years to make
Killzone 2, and the Guerrilla Games team were committed to making Killzone 3
swiftly and efficiently. Changing the process, Guerrilla has been getting its
processes and technology even more co-ordinated, and is currently in alpha on
Killzone 3. Hulst concluded by revealing that the studio is expanding to work
on a "game with a scope and a level of ambition that once again makes us
nervous" — specifically a "brand new IP."

- Eric Chahi, creator of Another World and director of Ubisoft's wildly
ambitious downloadable title tentatively called Project Dust, spoke about the
upcoming game which allows players to re-terraform the world around them,
creating islands, rivers, and life using simple tools that interact with each
other intelligently. Chahi's talk entered on the idea that a correct meeting
of technology and game design can allow for the creation of something truly
unique. To do that, Chahi said one must "keep only the essentials for the
purposes of optimization, and to keep these things simple for the player."
Chahi explained that, as the high level idea of the game is rather conceptual
- players keep a tribe of humans alive in this changing environment - the
interface has to be simple. However, a game where mud is actually created
dynamically by water flowing, requires intense technology behind such a
simple interface.

- Zenimax Online head Matt Firor talked about the complex definitional
relationships between the 'casual' and 'hardcore' in games, showcasing how
games like Zynga's FarmVille have "serious hardcore gaming characteristics."
Going back to the beginnings of the industry, Firor pointed out that early,
iconic titles like Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros. weren't actually that
casual - they were, if anything, "fun but hard." But then in the 1990s, "new,
dark games" like Doom changed things again. The gameplay of those 'darker'
titles was similar in terms of losing lives easily and having power-ups,
although from a different perspective so further differentiation was needed.
From a marketing and cultural perspective, it developed that, if there were
bright colorful games, they were 'casual.' Conversely, if games were dark and
ominous, they were 'hardcore,' Firor suggested. So more cartoon-y games were
considered to be easier to play and more for beginners, even though that may
not have been true-and this is where the definitional problems have come in.
Firor noted that "you can play hardcore games casually," and vice versa. It
"comes down to a mindset, more than a game." In fact, Firor argued that World
Of Warcraft can often be played casually, and, of course, one can even play
Solitaire in a hardcore fashion, and FarmVille is the ultimate example. Other
titles like Tetris Friends on Facebook actually introduce hardcore mechanics,
like competing high scores, which allow people to battle each other for
supremacy, "a very hardcore concept." Firor concluded that "games aren't
casual or hardcore… the gamers are."

In addition to the conference content, GDC Europe provides several
opportunities for creative exchange and business development, with venues
including the GDC Europe Expo Floor, VIP Lounge, and the GDC Europe Business
Lounge at gamescom, plus a host of industry parties. More than forty
exhibitors and sponsors from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia,
Sweden, the UK and the USA have booths and meeting spaces within the
exhibitor zone measuring 650 square meters. Exhibitors include Crytek,
Bigpoint, Epic, Howest University, Imagination Studios and Intel. GDC Europe
will also be hosting for the first time a business Lounge at the accompanying
games expo, gamescom, at which Autodesk, Crytek, Epic, Zotac, DigiProtect,
Level 3 are confirmed to be exhibiting.

For up to the moment news on GDC Europe visit:

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    Brian Rubin
    fortyseven communications

    Susanne Tenzler-Heusler, Europe


    Frank Sliwka, VP European Business

    Ben Veechai, North America

Media, Brian Rubin of fortyseven communications, +1-212-391-4707, brian at; or Susanne Tenzler-Heusler, Europe, +49(0)173-3786601, kontakt at, both for UBM TechWeb Game Network; or GDC Europe, Frank Sliwka, VP European Business Development, +49(0)171-1288898, frank.sliwka at, or Ben Veechai, North America, +1-415-947-6280, ben.veechai at

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