Vancouver Game Summit - Reviewed.

A little bit of press from the Summit a few weeks back.

Quoted from:  Event Wrap Up: Vancouver International Game Summit, Gamasutra, Beth Dillon,

"..Mark Relph, Vice President of Microsoft Canada’s Developer and Platform Group, opened the Summit with a keynote about Microsoft’s current exploits in game industry. Although Bungie Studios (currently working on Halo 3) is often pointed to as the main game tie-in, Microsoft has taken strides in its involvement with game industry from commercial, developer, and user standpoints.

Windows Vista, the new operating system from Microsoft, includes an integrated Game Explorer with parental controls. With multichannel audio, widescreen support, and an emphasis on networking, Vista is promising to connect with the Xbox Live community of around 6 million users. Microsoft intends to make the same titles available on both platforms and eventually enable users to interact through multiplayer functions between Xbox and PC.

To expand on community growth with users, Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio Express offers opportunities for user-generated content. “Enthusiasts, students, and independents want to make games, but there are barriers like cost and the acquisition and use of tools,” said Relph. In the case of XNA, technology is the enabler—“easy to use, easy to acquire, cross platform, secure, and with a path to the professional,” Relph added.

Microsoft's XNA Creators Club gives power to the people

Community comes into play with the XNA Creators Club, which allows users to share their games on Xbox Live. “We’ll see unsigned code running on the box,” Relph pointed out.

Microsoft is making an effort to include both academia and industry in XNA. DevelopMental Tour Canada, a game workshop camp, has templates, curriculum, and source code available for anyone interested in running workshops using XNA. They intend to continue their academic progress by getting XNA integrated into college curriculum.

Looking ahead to the future, Microsoft is working on XNA Professional for studios. In addition, Microsoft is seeking out ways of using games for purposes outside of entertainment, such as dynamic in-game advertising. “We’ll have interactive advertisements through all members of the media family,” said Relph. Lastly, Microsoft Silverlight, a suite of authoring tools for the web, has possibilities for developing games targeted at the casual games market.

“This is an unbelievably exciting time for game developers,” Relph stated. The industry is “marching ahead in terms of development tools and experiences” as it continues to grow its “talent and imagination into how games are put together,” he concluded."

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