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Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about Games

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Friday 9th March 2012

  • Hug the Grinch! Win a Macbook Air!

    by Wenxiang Wu

    At the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, Zopim (www.zopim.com), a leading provider of cloud-based Customer Engagement solutions, will hijack the city of Austin, TX to sow the seeds of customer love.

    Leveraging SXSW attendees' infamous love for the fun and wacky, "The Support Grinch", a superbad green monster will be unleashed onto the streets on 9th March 2012. He will terrorize innocent civilians with his unsanitary vocabulary, outrageous hairdo and evil smirk.

    Fortunately, his green Achilles' Heel is well-documented - the Support Grinch hates hugs. This SXSW, join hands with thousands of heroes on HugTheGrinch.com to hunt the Grinch down. Snap photographic evidence of your loving heroics, and stand a chance to win great prizes, including the ultimate MacBook Air, sponsored by the customer lovers from Zopim!

    Very much like the free hugs movement, our goal is to spread spontaneous fun and happiness at SXSW through this mobile game that we conceived in our spare time over the past two weeks.

    Linking back to our business, customer engagement software is only part of the equation for customer happiness. We see our users inject great passion, humor and spontaneity when using Zopim to chat with their customers. This reinforces our belief that true customer joy can only be delivered when people within the organization are truly happy, in line with the values of the Delivering Happiness movement.

    About Zopim

    Aside from this fun HugTheGrinch side project, our full time job is building amazingly simple customer engagement tools. Our award winning flagship product - Zopim Live Chat - has helped more than 35,000 online businesses wow their customers through real time chat engagement. With Zopim, our customers are happily targeting high-value website visitors, chatting directly with customers, building great relationships and increasing brand equity, everyday.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Austin Convention Center

    Coverage photo

  • All Day Event - ScreenBurn Arcade

    The 2012 SXSW ScreenBurn Arcade is where the latest video game industry announcements, product demos and exciting game tournaments happen. ScreenBurn brings together the different worlds of gaming, including console, PC, mobile, toys, board games and comics to SXSW registrants and the general public through hands-on demos, panels, tournaments, networking events and more. Anyone can experience the FREE and open-to-the-public ScreenBurn Arcade, where industry and enthusiasts engage.

    At 3:00pm to 7:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Exhibit Hall 1, Palmer Event Center

  • SXSW ScreenBurn Arcade Extended Happy Hour Presented by FUNimation

    FUNimation presents a hosted happy hour celebration of the upcoming animated films Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker and Mass Effect: Paragon Lost.

    At 4:30pm to 6:30pm, Friday 9th March

    In Exhibit Hall 1, Palmer Event Center

Saturday 10th March 2012

  • Future of Game Development on Multiple Platforms

    by Chris Dewolfe and Michael Snider

    Take the dynamic world of cross-platform gaming and mix it with the knowledge garnered from the former CEO and co-founder of MySpace and you’ve got a behind the scenes look at the ins and outs of the $5.5 billion social gaming market. Now helming Social Gaming Network (SGN), Internet pioneer DeWolfe is best known as co-founder of MySpace, the online network that redefined the concept of socializing around shared interests. With his finger always on the digital pulse, Chris sits down with USA Today’s Mike Snider to discuss the social gaming opportunity, lessons learned…and how cross-platform gaming is adding up to big bucks.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Room 4-5, Palmer Event Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Journalists Discuss the Future of Games

    by Ross Miller, Matt Buchanan, N'Gai Croal, Morgan Webb and Jamin Warren

    We've gathered the brightest and most opinionated minds from Kotaku, Destructoid, KillScreen and the Verge to discuss emerging topics in video game development. Topics will include: how mobile/tablet could kill consoles, connectivity across all gaming platforms, movement-based interfaces, adaptable AI, games in education and game devices as cross-over consumer products untethered from consoles. Join us in a very animated and informative conversation about the future of games.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Room 1-2, Palmer Event Center

  • All Day Event - ScreenBurn Arcade

    The 2012 SXSW ScreenBurn Arcade is where the latest video game industry announcements, product demos and exciting game tournaments happen. ScreenBurn brings together the different worlds of gaming, including console, PC, mobile, toys, board games and comics to SXSW registrants and the general public through hands-on demos, panels, tournaments, networking events and more. Anyone can experience the FREE and open-to-the-public ScreenBurn Arcade, where industry and enthusiasts engage.

    At 12:00pm to 9:00am, Saturday 10th March

    In Exhibit Hall 1, Palmer Event Center

  • SXSW ScreenBurn Arcade Stage Presented by IGN Pro League

    Schedule available at SXSW.com.

    At 12:00pm to 9:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Exhibit Hall 1, Palmer Event Center

  • Alternative Funding for Game Development

    by Matthew Kozlov, Kellee Santiago, Michael Shirley, Cindy Au and Ted Regulski

    Independent game development is stronger than ever and this panel will highlight alternative sources of funding that are not dependent on the traditional publisher funding model. Did you know that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funds video game creation? The NEH's Michael Shirley will offer insight into their grant writing process. Kellee Santiago will discuss Indie Fund's commitment to help indie developers get, and stay, financially independent. Kickstarter's Cindy Au will review the new crowdfunding milestones reached with their vibrant, gaming community. Ted Regulski, from Sony (SCEA), will talk about Sony's PubFund. Matt Kozlov will explain how Moonshark, backed by CAA and Qualcomm, funds and publishes mobile games by pairing Hollywood creatives with developers. Join us in an informative panel that will walk through processes, present examples of successful projects funded and provide an occasion for attendees to discuss their projects with these panelists.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Room 1-2, Palmer Event Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Building Great Games in HTML5

    by Erik Möller

    I took a platform game published on Win/Mac/iOS and its 100,000 line C++ code-base and turned it into an HTML5 game running on desktop, mobile and even TVs. This talk is the story of how that happened and also gives some great tips and tools for anyone aspiring to make games using HTML5.Building a game is never a trivial job and doing it on a platform in constant development can be even harder. That said, the advantages of HTML5 greatly outweighs the disadvantages. HTML5 is quickly turning into a great game development platform which offers well tested solutions to many of the peripheral problems you normally have to deal with when making games.With these solved for you already you can focus on creating a great game and an awesome user experience!I'll share what I've learned and hopefully the talk will make the process easier for anyone else building games in HTML5. I'll also talk about a new exciting open source project allowing you to leverage WebGL and COLLADA in your games.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Town Lake Ballroom, Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin-Town Lake

  • Cloud adventures: Instant scale... from zero to millions of hits in 24 hours

    by Iein Valdez and Michael Manoochehri

    In order to remain competitive, developers need to focus on velocity and getting apps launched quickly and efficiently. Come learn about how you can use Google App Engine to build fast, reliable, and internet scale apps without the hassle of managing servers. We’ll talk about some fun quirky success stories ranging from Google Doodles, mobile apps, disgruntled birds, and zombie games.

    At 12:30pm to 12:55pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Rainey St

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Gaming

    by Darryl Eaton, George Miranda, Ari Levy, Megan Wohlford and Allan Leinwand

    Over 25 years ago, Super Mario was the only one who could say he was gaming in the cloud, stomping Goombas, eating mushrooms and occasionally using extraordinary leaping skills to jump from cloud to cloud in search of Princess Peach Toadstool. Fast forward to over a decade later and come hear from Rackspace, Zynga, EA Games and RightScale how they are also gaming in the cloud. Cloud Gaming is the next generation in online gaming. The main upside to using the cloud is that huge upfront costs are gone. Users don’t have to get expensive and bulky consoles - all they need is a reliable and fast Internet connection and service providers can provide an almost seamless and quick online gaming experience. The panelists will talk about how gaming leaders are using the cloud to keep track of in-game player achievements and building out the software. They can also discuss how they are relying on the cloud to provide the scalability needed as the games gain more users and functionality.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Room 4-5, Palmer Event Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Bridge the Gap Between Casual vs. Hardcore Games

    by Jack Buser and Scott Rohde

    With the emergence of highly accessible electronic games developed for Facebook and smartphones, there has been a clear democratization of electronic gaming that has led to many people discovering video games for the first time. It has also caused some to suggest that console game companies such as PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox could struggle to survive against the games targeting casual gamers from companies like Zynga and Glu. However, what these casual gamers are really showing is that the expansion of this technology is opening up new gameplay opportunities to the advantage of developers. Technology is progressing in many ways, helping developers improve the game experience. For example, technology is making games part of everyday life. Rendering technology is also becoming increasingly available and powerful. This combination creates game experiences that are more diverse, and many games are now blurring the line between casual and hardcore games.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Room 4-5, Palmer Event Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Live the Game: A Lifestyle with a Gaming Sense

    by Peter Swearengen and Tish Shute

    Peter Swearengen, Executive Producer at Stupid Fun Club, Inc., and Tish Shute, Reality Architect, Stupid Fun Club Inc, will explore the cross pollination of games with life. Peter and Tish will talk from the often competing perspectives of immersive transmedia gaming experiences and social engagement in life. They will discuss how the next generation of mobile local social games and lifestyle apps will create opportunities to experience new dimensions of life, and lifestyles with a gaming sense.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Room 1-2, Palmer Event Center

  • Games 4 Change: Great Power, Great Responsibility

    by Asi Burak

    This talk will address the power of computer and video games as a mature entertainment medium and a largely untapped art form. It will make an impassioned case for using games for social impact and learning, with an overview of the latest trends and core challenges game developers and funders are facing.

    Burak will share case studies and success stories from around the world, including his unique entry into the field, leading the team behind the award-winning game “PeaceMaker”.

    Attendees will learn about the field at large and how Games for Change is leading the future of this movement on the global stage, and engaging policy makers such as Vice President Al Gore and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Room 4-5, Palmer Event Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Mobile Games: The Secret Sauce Is Social

    by Eiji Araki

    As the popularity of mobile games continues to experience rapid growth, social elements are emerging as the significant ingredient to successful games - and for good reason. They are the future of mobile gaming.With the proliferation of smartphones in America, it is the right time to usher in a next generation of mobile gaming that is social at its core. Eiji Araki, SVP of Product at GREE International, Japan's leading mobile social gaming platform with 5 years experience in making successful social games, will discuss user behavior and key game mechanisms that make games popular. Eiji will focus on the 3 essential parts of a game: user acquisition, engagement, and monetization in the context of both game design and social design. He will discuss the role of long and short term game cycles, the necessity for a social graph, the importance of fostering cooperation, competition, and communication, and platform requirements.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Salon H, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

  • Surviving the Night: An International ARG Tell All

    by Brandon Schmittling, Sean Mahan, Thomas Lotze, Markus Hametner and Sam Lavigne

    Each Summer, thousands of people of all ages and interests participate in local variations of the alternate reality game known as "Journey to the End of the Night", a free, non-sponsored, community-supported race through the streets of major metropolitan cities. The rules are simple but the outcome is anything but: Players travel between checkpoints as fast as they can while avoiding being caught by chasers. Those who survive are rewarded while those who are caught become chasers themselves. Based on the successes of SFZero's model of collaborative gaming, Journey to the End of the Night has grown into an international cultural phenomenon and continues to fascinate new players year after year.

    This panel brings together game organizers from the EU and both coasts of the United States to discuss the motivation, planning, and concept development behind each Journey, the need for mass-culture events free of mainstream influence, use of mobile gaming technology, stories and unique insights from the field, and what has been learned from more than 20 combined years of planning and executing this unique alternate reality game.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Room 1-2, Palmer Event Center

Sunday 11th March 2012

  • Can Gaming Make the World Better?

    by Gabe Zichermann, Nadya Direkova, Adam Bosworth, Samantha Skey and George Weiner

    Let’s face it—games make our lives more fun, but can they also make a positive impact on the world? At the recent Games for Change Festival, Al Gore said “games are the new normal” and that “the gamification trend is really powerful” in helping to solve issues like climate change. Over the past year, we’ve seen an influx of startups using social gaming to motivate people to do good and change their lifestyles. Armed with the philosophy that it is only by inspiring a massive shift in consumer behavior that we can make a measurable impact on the world, these companies are using gaming mechanics and incentives to engage, educate and motivate a global audience. This panel will discuss if gaming for good can actually drive large-scale change, as SCVNGR’s Seth Priebatsch discussed last year at SXSW’s keynote, and examine how we can measure that impact.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Fixing Broke(n) Governments Through Serious Games

    by Luke Hohmann

    It’s no secret. Local, state and federal governments face budget shortfalls, spending cuts and reduced service—in a political climate that favors gridlock. Serious games have emerged as a viable approach to budgeting that is both participatory and scalable. In this session, we’ll discuss why serious games are a particularly good tool for budgeting and their advantages over alternatives such as deliberative democracy, participatory budgeting, or majority voting through polls. Participants will learn to conduct in-person and online games built specifically for resolving multi-scalar budget problems. These models are based on Budget Games, which we designed and played in San Jose, CA, on Jan. 29, 2011 in which more than 100 community leaders collaboratively re-crafted the city’s proposed budget. Because the game revealed real consensus, San Jose officials were able to act on the game’s results with more confidence than traditional polling.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 11th March

    In Salon A, AT&T Conference Center

  • Make a Kinection: The Future of Interactive Design

    by Amish Patel

    Make the Kinection!

    Microsoft Kinect is the technology which is undoubtedly poised to unlock the next generation of digital design and allows us to bridge the gaps between physical and digital.

    As Kinect becomes more prevalent, more open and generally smarter we need to look at how this new technology expands our palette of interactive experiences.

    Join members of the XBOX Design team in a conversation about the essence of Kinect, the power it holds, its unique challenges, capabilities and a glimpse into the future!

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 11th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

  • A New Culture of Learning: Gaming, Tech, Design

    by Scott Stropkay, Nicole Lazzaro and Heather Staker

    Gaming, mentorship, increasing connection, and design thinking converge in a world of constant change -- and invite us to imagine a future of learning that is as powerful as it is optimistic. By exploring play, innovation, and the cultivation of the imagination as cornerstones of learning, we can create a vision that is achievable, scalable and one that grows along with the technology that fosters it and the people who engage with it.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Classroom 203, AT&T Conference Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • All Day Event - ScreenBurn Arcade

    The 2012 SXSW ScreenBurn Arcade is where the latest video game industry announcements, product demos and exciting game tournaments happen. ScreenBurn brings together the different worlds of gaming, including console, PC, mobile, toys, board games and comics to SXSW registrants and the general public through hands-on demos, panels, tournaments, networking events and more. Anyone can experience the FREE and open-to-the-public ScreenBurn Arcade, where industry and enthusiasts engage.

    At 12:00pm to 7:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Exhibit Hall 1, Palmer Event Center

  • Arcade Stage: LightBox Interactive - Starhawk... Welcome to the New Frontier

    FREE and Open to the Public. Dylan Jobe, President of Austin video game developer LightBox Interactive, will discuss his upcoming PlayStation 3 blockbuster, Starhawk - a fast-paced third person shooter set in the lawless frontier of space. Jobe will touch on Starhawk's various gameplay features and story elements, including the game's innovative Build & Battle system that allows players to alter the virtual battlefield instantly with the press of a button, the Starhawk Uplink mobile application, and the new universe that makes up Starhawk's exciting campaign.

    At 12:15pm to 12:45pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Exhibit Hall 1, Palmer Event Center

  • Indie Games, Indie Film - DejaVu

    by Adam Saltsman, James Swirsky, Phil Fish, Lisanne Pajot and Wiley Wiggins

    Nearly two decades ago, independent film ushered in a wave of new voices, new stories and a new way of looking at the industry. Fast forward to present day and independent games are reinvigorating an industry in the same way. The parallels between these respective moments in time are quite strong. In an age of online distribution and accessible technology, the independent artist of today would seem to have quite a bit more weighted in their favour ... or do they?

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 1-2, Palmer Event Center

  • Arcade Stage: Bioware - Star Wars The Old Republic

    FREE and open to the public. Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ launched at the end of 2011 after much anticipation from fans around the world. Come join Dallas Dickinson (the Director of Production) and the developers of the fastest growing subscription MMO, as they discuss the game’s launch and what’s coming next in a galaxy far, far away.

    At 2:00pm to 2:45pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Exhibit Hall 1, Palmer Event Center

  • Video Games: The Supreme Court and What’s Next

    by Michael Gallagher

    The video game industry faces a transformative moment in its history. A recent landmark victory before the Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. EMA/ESA affirmed that free speech protections apply every bit as much to video games as they do to other forms of creative expression, and underscored the constitutional protections afforded to video games, developers and industry artists. Video games have also become a mass medium with widespread appeal for people of all ages, and increasingly influence areas of daily life such as education, health and the workplace. In this session, Entertainment Software Association President and CEO Michael Gallagher will discuss what the Supreme Court decision means for video games and artistic expression, and what is next for this innovative and ever-evolving industry.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 4-5, Palmer Event Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Social, Mobile, Location-Based Games

    by Andrew Hsu, Mike Ouye, Gregory Trefry, Pete Hawley and Heather Sorensen

    Developers are tapping into mobile devices’ built in features to produce feature-rich, social game experiences. Hear from gaming startups who are offering social education (Andrew Hsu, Airy Labs), alternate-reality (Gregory Trefry, Gigantic Mechanic) and competitive virtual crime gameplay experiences (Mike Ouye and Pete Hawley, Red Robot). Andrew Hsu, a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University left the program to found Airy Labs, a startup building the next generation of global, social learning games. Creator of the Come Out & Play Festival, author and teacher on casual game design, Gregory Trefry co-founded Gigantic Mechanic to make the everyday world more fun and help people connect with others. Mike Ouye and Pete Hawley from Red Robot will offer insight on building a location-based game platform, why they launched on Android first and how their Facebook and console game backgrounds influenced the direction of Life Is Crime.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 1-2, Palmer Event Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Taking a RISK: From Board Game to Facebook

    by Spencer Brooks, Megan Kluck and Brad Graeber

    We will explore some of the current issues facing game production through a case study of EA’s Risk: Factions. This panel will address some of the perceived differences between console games and social games and will attempt to answer questions about the future of social games in regards to Flash-based production methods.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 4-5, Palmer Event Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Creating Engagement: Brains, Games & Design

    by Pamela Rutledge

    This segment gives you a psychological dashboard for creating compelling and engaging interaction experiences. Learn to manage the trigger points for critical psychological processes that determine the mental states of immersion, engagement, and flow so you can motivate your audience to keep playing, start buying, or even change the world. Your design starts in the senses and is translated by the brain into emotion, experience and behavior. With neurocognition and positive psychology, we unlock the translation process for engagement, flow, story, and pleasure. Get a checklist to create more successful and satisfying interactive media, whether it’s on a single platform, across media, or a transmedia, to improve the outcomes of your projects, from design and marketing to advocacy. Avoid unintended consequences of design. Learn to engage the brain to create engaging user experience, motivation and influence behavior.

    At 5:30pm to 5:45pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Texas Ballroom 4-7, Hyatt Regency Austin

    Coverage audio clip

Monday 12th March 2012

  • Artists in Labs: Participatory Design at Eyebeam

    by Kaho Abe, Nova Jiang and Jon Cohrs

    Eyebeam Art & Technology Center provides a context for creative collaboration and the cross-pollination of ideas & practice. In our lab at any given time, there are up to 20 resident artists onsite at our 15,000 sq-ft facility, developing work for open dissemination through online, primarily open-source, publication. Three Eyebeam fellows will discuss their work, how they blend creative strategies & technology to build communities, share information, and create spaces for play & participation. Kaho Abe will present her work with youth and adults to demystify the black box of consumer electronics and create their own custom interfaces for games and play. Nova Jiang will present recent projects that leverage individual desire with risk & reward to create a low barrier for entry and increased participant investment. Jon Cohrs will share insights into his work combining tactical media, software and DIY interventions with location-based experiences to engage participants in meaningful dialogue about social issues.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Monday 12th March

    In Capitol E-H, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

  • Designing Games for Documentary

    by Susana Ruiz, Ashley York, Cindy Poremba, Tony Walsh and Peter Brinson

    We've drawn together a group of the most well respected and active designers in the field to guide participants through the process of designing games for documentary that people actually want to play. Let's share early ideas, initial concepts, and works-in-progress, as we go through the process of evaluating and developing documentary or non-fiction videogames.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Monday 12th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center