GDC 2014 Wrap-Up
A record-breaking 24,000 game developers, business professionals and industry leaders attended this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
In short, it was an amazing week. I was fortunate to spend time at the Kii kiosk inside the Unity booth and to take part in GDC’s countless opportunities to learn and get inspired. I heard exciting announcements, enjoyed fun-filled interactive spaces and attended festive parties and events. After speaking with tons of people at GDC, I firmly believe that Kii and other MBaaS vendors play an important role at game developer events and that game development can derive value from tools that enable a faster time-to-market. That’s precisely what Kii does and why it’s a must-have weapon in any developer’s arsenal.
Here are some of the other insights I took away from the show:
- Our partner, Unity, has established itself as a dominant influence among game developers. Unity offers exactly what today’s game developers want: a technically impeccable development environment with lots of room for customization and extension via plugins from partners, true multiplatform deployment support that embraces everything from consoles to web and from mobile to PC, and strong, positive brand awareness. As a result, Unity can boast something else developers love: a huge community of enthusiastic members. We’re glad to be working alongside Unity to offer the best C# based back-end service.
- Indie game studios and independent developers are producing great work and are having a major impact on our industry. In fact, I met far more indie game developers at GDC than developers working for the big guys. With lower barriers to entry, it’s never been more achievable – and had more potential reward – to create a top-of-the-chart mobile game as a small game studio. I suppose this is good for everyone, as bad games get eliminated by natural selection. Let’s keep them coming!
- Casual retro style games are definitely a trend and simple graphics are not a blocker to conquer the player’s minds. You could see these kinds of games all over GDC.
- Alternative peripherals are emerging as a critical part of the next generation of gaming interaction. Demos for Leap, Oculus Rift (just bought by Facebook) and Playstation were fully booked, and it wasn’t unusual at GDC to find yourself with a strange peripheral like the Playstation VR helmet attached to your body while gaming. Smart watches, on the other hand, were almost nonexistent so I wouldn’t expect to see these devices evolve into game controllers, second screens, etc., any time soon.
- Lots of developers took interest in our talk about rapid prototyping of games using Kii. We look forward to having some of them participate in our upcoming Unity contest.
- We got lots of positive feedback from developers who tried demos of the Asset Store as well as from the asset store managers, who were in the booth right next to us. Some issues with Android and the developer console were reported, but it was all solved by properly configuring the project build and refreshing the developer console respectively.
- The cloud is gaining ground when it comes to hosted services for game developers. Kii, a cloud-based service itself, shared booth space with Simplygon, a company that allows you to upload your 3D model to the cloud for processing and get an optimized version with fewer polygons, which boosts your game performance. We’ll certainly see more cloud services like this, not only intended for development but also for in-game services, such as Kii provides. This trend is undeniable when you see Nintendo Wii providing a web development SDK that lets developers interact with the Wii API from a web app that’s hosted on a console. This could lead to interesting side effects in the future.
Overall, GDC 2014 was a great event for Kii, and I would like to personally thank everybody that dropped by and shared their feedback with us. Hope to see you there again next year!