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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Montreal and the Revolution

Montreal and the Revolution

"An inside look at the video game industry in Canada

I just recently came back from an educational 2-day journey to Montreal. The reason for this trip was primarily to immerse myself in an environment conducive to a greater understanding of the current state of the video game industry in Canada. During my 2-day stay I got the chance to attend the M.I.G.S (The Montreal International Video Game Summit). During my time at the conference I had the chance to meet various industry professionals. It was a great oppourtunity to network and socialize with them, gain a greater understanding of conceptual and theoretical game design elements, and I got a chance to develop my understanding of the video game industry’s future. I was also able to get an idea of the types of jobs available to people like me in this industry and details concerning many of the big name employers such as EA and Ubisoft. Probably the most important thing I gained from this experience was a more solidified schema in which I will build my thesis research on.

One thing I noticed at the conference was the turmoil that the industry is currently in. Corperations have full capitalistic grasp of the industry as a whole. Behemoths, EA and Ubisoft, have moved large portions of their studios to Montreal. Thus their employees dominated the crowds. The majority of developers, designers, art directors, programmers and the like walked around outfitted with EA, Ubisoft, or Activision labels on their nametags. This is important to consider because it is directly impacting the future of the industry. These corperations have predominantly concerned themselves with selling games in the highest volume possible. It was very much apparent that these companies are only now realizing the importance of theoretical study of the medium in which their industry depends on. There was a lot of talk specifically from the keynote speakers of how important it is to take into consideration the demographic that they are shooting to please. There was talk about what a game means and is. Ludological and Narratological debates and lectures dominated the game design landscape of the gen unreal

I question Neil Young, Vice President and General Manager of Electronic Arts. He made a very business and corporate presentation during his keynote speech. He was a very energetic and bold personality which is not surprising considering his career standing. The man has signed deals with Spielburg for an example. He’s the definition of an industry big-shot and it showed. He talked a lot about the future of video games in the wake of next gen systems and critized some of the other Keynote speakers for pointing fingers. I felt that his speech was largely meant to sell EA to the development community as a company that cares about the future of games. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if he knew nothing about the underlying theoretical concepts conveyed through much of the research me and Heeduk have done. Some of the other keynote speakers were much more impressive to me. Warren Spector, for one, is a character of smaller industry stature and he talked in a more down to earth tone. He’s been in the industry for somewhere around 20 years so it was very interesting to hear what the guy who did Wing Commander way way back thought about the Next Gen tsunami about to hit our continent." [more]

Blogger JLC
In order for the induestry to thrive and evolve Ea has to be out of the picture. I am sorry to say that they are like a mutant fish in the sea that eats everything in sight and unbalances the ecological system. EA is a virus to the videogame industry and all they do is make franchises . We need small no name developers or just small developers that are hungry and starving with great ideas and there are plenty of them out there with great ideas. they just havent been given the chance  

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