March 13, 2012

669 words 4 mins read

Visiting GDC2012 – Part 1 of 2

Last week was the yearly Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend due to a gracious sponsorship from NeuroSky. GDC is primarily an industry event, but being a gamer, a techy, and a little bit of a developer in my free time… it’s really quite fascinating. I figured I would share what things I saw while I was there.

Moscone West — Career Hall

The registration area is in Moscone West and directly behind it is the career hall — the place where people go to get jobs. Now I wasn’t looking for a job, but it was fun to peruse the area and see who was hiring and what everyone was doing. Every large company that’s “in the biz"was there, for example: Gree, Nintendo, Konami, Valve, Activision, Blizzard, Microsoft/Xbox (sorry, no Major Nelson), and Ubi. I also found a larger number of “social gaming” companies, most of whose names I’d never heard of (but that’s probably because I don’t do much in the way of social gaming). There were also a couple of local schools, like DeVry, and even some international ones like Enjmin. I was also curious to see Amazon and Facebook there, though it’s my understanding that both of them are trying to get into the gaming business. The one company that stood out from the rest? Plantronics

Basically every booth had people swarming around it (except for poor Plantronics — a very lonely HR guy was the only “crowd”). The bigger the name, the more people jostling for position to talk to the recruiters. By far the biggest crowd there goes to Blizzard (shocking!) who went as far as having a bar and free drinks for anyone who applied (I’m not entirely sure why they needed to entice anyone to apply). While Blizzard did have the most obvious “swag” for applications, they were not alone. Many large companies were handing out goodies (like Facebook, which gave away iPhone 4 covers).

I overheard one statement just before I left the career hall that was too good not to share:

“I have no idea what they make, but I turned in a resume”

At least I’m not the only one who hasn’t heard of some of these companies.

Moscone West — 2nd Floor

I cruised upstairs to see if there was anything interesting going on, and there really wasn’t, as most of the floor was session halls and I was on an expo-only pass. There was also the GDC2012 store filled with game (design/building/art) related books and GDC swag. If you lost your luggage on the way to GDC, you could be well clothed in GDC2012 logo wear. Everything from Onesies for your kid to backpacks for your 17” Falcon NW laptop.

On my way over to Moscone North/South, I passed by the NOS Girls who were, as usual, in some damn silly outfits. I keep an eye out for “booth babes” simply to see how the industry is evolving. GDC is no CES, but NOS manages to make everyone look bad (as usual).

Moscone South — GDC Play

I wandered into Moscone South and there wasn’t much going on sans the GDC Play area. Originally, I thought this was the area for exhibitors who really WANTED to be at GDC but couldn’t really AFFORD to do so. I wandered through the play area for a few minutes and didn’t see a single name I really recognized. Some of what was being shown where early (alpha) builds of ‘Contagion', an adult (porn) game called ‘Take Off C$h’, tons of social game demos, and a few providers like Global Game Servers.

In the same hall they did have the “History of 3D games” which was a museum of classic games. For the most part, the computers, macs, ataris, and other old consoles were all playable! This wasn’t just some static display to look at longingly, you could really get your hands dirty with those old games.

Tomorrow? Part 2!