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Thursday, 14 October 2010 15:10

GCAP 2010: Keynote - Gaming shifts and challenges

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Game Connect Asia Pacific 2010 has kicked off with a keynote from Eedar CEO Greg Short espousing the positive future for a local video game industry that was starting to believe its reputation as being recession resistant was beginning to waver.

In the sunny climes of South East Queensland's Gold Coast Game Connect Asia Pacific 2010 has opened up for two days of local video-game developers coming together to exchange views on Australia's biggest entertainment industry.

New Game Developers Association of Australia (GDAA) CEO, Antony Reed kicked proceedings off lamenting 2009 as a step backward for the industry, but with a bright eye turned towards 2010.  

Former Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and now Mayor of the Gold Coast region welcomed delegates to the conference, and in somewhat of a bewildered way, was amazed at the numbers surrounding the video-game industry, particularly given the Gold Coasts close affiliation with the film industry.

Greg Short CEO and founder of Eedar, a company that aggregates and analyses all manner of data related to the video-game industry, was on hand to give the conference opening keynote.

Short began with some amazing facts about the industry.  The last five years revenue return for the Madden NFL franchise would have earned enough to buy 10 million tickets to the AFL Grand Final, enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the next 105 finals.

Similarly, revenue from the first 48 hours on sale would have been enough to pay for the Sydney harbour tunnel construction project: AU$554 million.  The Video Game business is a big business.

With the Australian dollar nudging parity with the US, Short was quick to point out how consumers have a case to argue with game publishers, with games costing twice as much at retail as those in the States.

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But Short also pointed out that retail is here to stay, despite the push towards a digital distribution model, given Australia's ISP driven caps and speeds, the bricks-and-mortar retail outlets will be around for at least the next five years according to Eedar's metrics.

There will be changes in the future however, cloud based services such as Onlive and the soon to arrive Gaikai will remove the complexity of getting gaming into a connected household, without the need for a significant outlay of cash on hardware is imminent.

Along with the hardware shift, Short pointed out the requirement for publishers to shift how games are marketed.  Services such as Gaikai will allow a more expansive try-before-you-buy model to consumers, putting the pressure back on developers to produce quality products.

During the Q&A section of Short's keynote, the question of China came up from the floor; 'They have some kickass studios over there, I expect China to be producing some of the best games in the world very soon.'

For the Australian developers in the room, this was food for thought.  Unlike 2009 however, 2010 feels more positive for the industry, and GCAP 2010 is a focal point for this optimism.

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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