'Game On Austin' unites fans and developers
Austin gamers got a chance to see the local talent behind some of their favorite software titles Thursday night.
"Game On Austin," the third annual event held by SXSW Gaming and The Austin Chronicle, gives local developers a chance to meet face-to-face with fans and demonstrate their lineup of current and upcoming games.
With over 70 active studios, Austin is one of the largest game development hubs in the country. This reality, however, doesn't always translate to local celebration.
Dan Hardick, promotions director with The Austin Chronicle, has a theory on why this may be.
“Maybe marketing departments aren't pushing that aspect. They're out there trying to get the game out, not so much working on the civic pride end of it. That's one of the great things about this event,” he said.
Thursday's event showcased a variety of software approaches from high profile console releases to independent mobile games.
Raphael Colantonio, co-creator of the critically acclaimed title, "Dishonored," shared his perspective on the current state and future of the local industry.
“Austin is a very vibrant community for game development with a lot of activities like this one," he said. "It's very rich, it's been here forever, and we want to attract more people here.”
There was also an old-school element to the event stocked with nostalgic toys and gaming consoles from years past. Multimorphic's Gerry Stellenberg described his company's new take on an old favorite.
“This is a new kind of pinball machine where we're merging virtual interactions with the physical pinball," he said. "We're developing this platform where we use the LCD screen and the virtual interactions to change the theme. We can sell a single machine that has lots of different games on it.”
With such an atypical product, Stellenberg is optimistic about expanding the market his company can reach with events like Game On Austin.
As each local developer expands their fan base, Austin gaming culture moves closer toward a mainstream community focus.
SXSW Gaming Event Coordinator Matthew Crump was a developer for 17 years and has seen major growth in the since the first Game On Austin. Crump revealed several changes on the horizon for the newest addition to the SXSW component.
“We are now called SXSW Gaming," he said. "That's our big change for this year. Last year, we moved to the Palmer Auditorium and this year, we have it in its entirety. No badge required. Anything inside the Palmer Auditorium will be free to the public. The expo event runs March 8th through 10, 2013.”
Game On Austin was held at the Beauty Ballroom in southeast Austin.
Gallery Images by Develon Douglas/YNN
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