Tuesday, April 29, 2008

JoinGame 3.0 Conference

Drammen, Norway

JoinGame is a new resource network for Norwegian academics and companies involved with video gaming. They've been holding a series of small conferences, and they invited me to come to their third one, thanks to the lobbying of my friend, client, and fan Tinka Town of Ravn Studio. When I got there I was surprised to discover that I was the guest of honor. There was a crowd of about fifty people from all over Norway, plus Simon McCallum (late of the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand and now working in Norway) and me. Most of the talks were in Norwegian, so Simon and I sat in the back and chatted (quietly) about this and that.

Image of Drammen's pedestrian bridge I talked about the future of computer entertainment, and a bit about designing educational software for use in the classroom. Several people said my talks were inspiring, which is always nice to hear. Simon's talk and mine overlapped a surprising amount; we both discussed the changing value chain as software distribution switches from bricks-and-mortar retail stores to electronic means. Simon's company, ESP Gruppen AS, seeks to create gaming portals that benefit telcos, developers, and gamers alike. One of the things they can do is provide useful demographic data back to the developer about who is playing the developer's games online: age, sex, length of time played, frequency of play, and so on. This is data that those of us who are more used to the bricks-and-mortar world seldom get access to.

After the event there was a nice dinner for the whole crowd, and I got to talk to Tinka and her business partner, Stine Waern, whom I had never met, about goings-on at Ravn Studio. If all goes to plan I'll get to do a bit more design consulting for them, which I really enjoyed the last time I had the chance.