Things We Can’t Wait To See At the Game Developers Conference

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It happens every year, and it’s almost getting to the point of being as popular as the Electronic Entertainment Expo.  The Game Developers Conference kicks off this week in San Francisco, and it’s the ideal summit for developers and journalists alike to get together, discover new projects and talk about what they love through panels and meetings.  You can bet that GameZone has a slew of meetings that are needing some attending, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have time to check out other stuff.

So, with that, we’ve got a list of stuff that we can’t wait to see while we’re out on the West Coast this week.  There’s really a lot to see, and only about three days or so to soak it all in.  It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.  Here are the highlights…

Valve’s Possible Steam Console – We’ve just learned that Valve is expected to have some presence on the GDC show floor, and while we seriously doubt that it’s going to half Half-Life 2 Episode 3 somewhere (aside from behind closed doors, if at all), we do believe that the company is expected to be announcing a new Steam-ready console alongside a third party manufacturer, in the hopes of introducing the game service to a mass new audience.  Now, they are just rumors at this point, and we don’t even know who the likely partner is (Magnavox, perhaps?), but it’s bound to be big news for those who aren’t too crazy about popping discs into a console.  This could easily be the next big thing.  Move over, OnLive.

Panels – Obviously one of the biggest kicks about the Game Developers Conference is being able to sit in a room and get inside the heads of some of gaming’s biggest and best minds.  There will be a large amount of them at this year’s event, ranging from Cliff Bleszinski to several third-party development teams, talking about their wares, upcoming projects and even sharing some humorous stories about what’s happening.  Who knows, you might even learn about some great new projects on the horizon – and engage in a quick handshake after the meeting is over.  Just make sure you bring some hand sanitizer.  We got sick last year.  (Not blaming you, Cliff.)

EA’s “Game Changers” – Tuesday evening, Electronic Arts will be hosting an online only event, in which the company will talk about some new projects that are on the horizon.  Among them should be the recently unveiled Medal of Honor 2: Warfighter, which is slated to arrive later this year, as well as the rumored Army of Four project (the sequel to Army of Two) and possibly even Dead Space 3.  Mum’s the word right now, but we’ll keep our ear to the ground and fill you in on whatever we hear.  And don’t forget, you can watch online and stream the event without even being there…though this is a lot more fun in person.  Just saying.

The mobile boom – Thousands of game developers will be on hand with their projects, and we don’t just mean for consoles.  There are various teams who have independent projects for mobile as well, including iPhones and Android devices, that could very well push game development in whole new directions.  What’s more, there’s ample room over the corresponding Game Connection show to talk with folks and get an idea of what’s coming up in the mobile game industry.  It’s bigger than you think.  Speaking of which…

Apple’s announcement – Hey, might as well, right?  Apple is holding its announcement this week just literally feet from the entrance to the Moscone Center, and it’s likely to announce the next evolution in the iPad line-up, the heavily rumored iPad HD.  A new iPhone model could also be in the cards, along with a new and improved operating system for both devices.  You can bet “tech heads” will be all over this announcement, ad we should have details for you following the conclusion of their presentation.  Still, we miss Steve Jobs…

Parties – Last but definitely not least on our list, there’s the opportunity to get social with friends and fellow members of the industry with parties, in which companies get the alcohol flowing and their products up and running as they introduce fun times for all attendees.  We’ve already got our list full of go-to events, and can’t wait to see what these companies have to offer.  We’ll provide full coverage, of course, save for those embarrassing moments when we were caught doing shots with execs.  Hey, they poured ‘em for us.  Not our fault!

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Robert Workman
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