Videogame makers from around the globe are gathering here to seek paths to fortune and glory on a landscape upset by social networks, smartphones, tablet computers, and the Internet “cloud.” More than 18,000 industry insiders are expected to attend the weeklong Game Developers Conference that kicks off Monday in downtown San Francisco.
The event has grown into the world’s largest confab of videogame professionals since it started in 1988 with about two dozen computer game loving software developers meeting in a living room. Major themes at GDC will include adapting to the booming popularity of “social games” at online communities such as Facebook and casual play on smartphones or tablet computers.
“In past years developers treated social games like second-class citizens to consoles,” said Scott Steinberg, lead videogame analyst at TechSavvy Global. Now, they are facing the reality that this is where the future might lie.” Revenue from social games is likely to exceed a billion dollars this year, according to industry tracker eMarketer.