Vancouver International Game Summit

by Ed Lau on May 7, 2007

On Friday, Leo and I headed through horrific downtown traffic to the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center Hotel, or as I call it “that big tall mirror building”, for the 1st Annual Vancouver International Games Summit. Stephen was going to join us too but he was a bit under the weather. I had been to a similar event years ago at the Chan Center at UBC which featured many of the same Vancouver-based gaming companies but this was a slightly larger event that spanned two days. Unfortunately, I went to go watch the Canucks’ game on the first night and Leo was dead from a day of Crossfit so we couldn’t attend the festivities on Thursday.

EA was the primary sponsor of the event and they had a small booth there with NHL ’07 in addition to sponsoring the reception on Thursday. Rockstar Vancouver, Nintendo, Bioware, Disney and THQ were also there. There were very few actual new, unreleased games on display there. Rockstar was still showing Bully, in fact. There was a cool trailer for Hellgate: London but mostly games that were already available to the public.

While VIGS is supposed to be focused on gaming, there were very few actual gamers there. Myself and Leo were two of the very few in attendance. It felt more like a networking opportunity for industry executives, developers and venture capitalists. In fact, there was one entire panel devoted to venture capitalists explaining how they’re looking for new game developers to invest in. The two dudes that Leo and I sat with for lunch were here promoting AutoCAD. That’s not very gamer-like. I mean, Leo tells me one of the goals of VIGS was to “promote Vancouver as a lively hub of gaming activity” but I don’t really see that happening when about 80% of the attendees are twice my age and don’t look like they’re really into playing games. The crowd at E3 is vastly different even though the focus seems to be much the same.

The one panel Leo and I were looking forward to was on Massively Multiplayer games. I’m a recovering World of Warcraft addict and Leo still jumps between City of Heroes, Everquest II and WoW. Shayne Herrera, who worked on City of Heroes was there to explain what goes into making a MMORPG. There really is a different philosophy to making a MMO rather than a standard, single-player game. I would’ve loved to have someone from Blizzard here so I could yell at them for caving into the demands of casual gamers but I had to settle for asking Shayne about the difference in catering to hardcore and casual gamers. Personally, I think what killed most guilds in the transition between WoW and The Burning Crusade was the greater emphasis on casual content.

One of the things I loved about E3 and Comdex was the massive amount of schwag I’d go home with but since this is relatively small show, all Leo and I got was some pens, pins and a cool t-shirt from Cryptic.

It was a pretty good day though. Other conferences I’ve gone to were mostly catered by lousy deli’s with dry sandwiches and plain veggie platters but VIGS went the extra mile by getting the Sheraton to have an outdoor barbecue with burgers, chicken, salads, and pasta. At the end of the day, there was even some chocolate fondue with fresh fruits and champagne. Hey, that by itself was worth the fifteen bucks I had to shell out for parking.

in Tech and the Net

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Saman Sadeghi May 7, 2007 at 11:05 pm

So, was this an open-to-the-public show?

Also, I’m kinda surprised the EA URL ended in .com – I guess they don’t have a Canadian site….

Every time I’m in Canada, every URL I see ends in .ca!


Stephen May 8, 2007 at 9:05 pm

It was actually a private event, but I pulled strings and got him and Leo in. Speaking of which…where’s my coverage Ed? ;)


dotnetnuke May 9, 2007 at 8:01 am

This summit reminded me a bad moment about Fifa game.
I had a new joystick with my new pc. We were celebryting new pc with a fifa tourney. In the final game was 0-0 until min 90. But my opponent had a penalty and i broke my joystick while trying to save penalty shoot xD. That was my first and last joystick :D


Kiltak May 11, 2007 at 8:21 am

Hmmm, the place looked desertic.. Must have been pretty boring…

Food looked good though!


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