It will have an Australian focus, but many of the insights that will be presented and discussed will be universal to our industry. So what can we expect to be discussed this year around?
Minister Brendan O'Connor will kick the two days off with a keynote focusing on the ongoing R18+ rating (or more precisely, lack thereof) that the Australian games industry has to deal with. This is an issue that is having a serious negative impact on the maturing of the games industry here, and as evidenced by the recent banning of Mortal Kombat, a negative impact on the distributors looking to bring games into the country.
From there, the conference will move to a series of presentations by the likes of Microsoft, Sony, Namco Bandai, Ubisoft and others. EA senior vice-president and global COO, Bryan Neider, will be a highlight and will look to the future of the games industry, identifying what the future gamer will look like, predictions for the next mega-change in interactive entertainment and reviewing the success of 3D content and downloadable games.
Smaller developers would do well to head over to Microsoft regional director of retail sales and marketing, David McLean, and his presentation. Microsoft is famously a company that values partnerships, and McLean will be discussing content partnerships and how to get on board the XBLA train.
A roundtable will analyse the state and health of the games industry, and where the Australian industry stands in comparison to the rest of the world. Later, industry director, mobile Internet and technology, Andrew Braun, will present on how the profile of gamers has changed over time, and managing director of GAME Australia, Paul Yardley, will take a look at the industry from a retailer's perspective.
For those looking at investing in the games industry, managing partner of Battle Ventures, Jeffrey Paine, will look at why investment in social networking and digital goods companies is strong, and identify game revenue models of the future.
There will be a roundtable focusing on smartphone games and the changing face of games distribution, and then the conference will round out with a number of breakout sessions on finding new monetisation and advertising opportunities, and how to evolve traditional businesses into the gaming world.
Coming along to this conference is not a cheap endeavor - tickets will set you back as much as $Au4,000 to attend everything, but it's worth remembering that this is not E3, and not for the general public. This is for the businessmen keeping games companies running, and in many ways, it will provide a vision of the industry that we just don't get to see in those other conferences.
The conference runs on June 21 and 22 at Luna Park, Sydney. If you're interested in attending, the Website can be found here: http://www.game-tech.com.au/