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LOGIN '09 - Everyone's An Expert

Brasse -- 2009-03-04 15:14:09

It is spring, and a young Dwarf's thoughts turn to... game conferences.

This generally causes the Elfink's eyes to glaze over at the thought, and if I start talking about what's coming up for the year, she slumps over a little and starts perfecting the art of sleeping with her eyes open, kind of like me when she makes me watch one of her interminable reality shows.

Ok, so game industry conferences aren't for everyone, but if you are at all interested in what goes on behind the scenes at game companies, you might find them really interesting.

Allow me to introduce you to my favorite of all conferences that I attended in 2008: LOGIN.


First, a bit of background on the conference. Although LOGIN is entering its third year, you may be saying to yourself, "I've never heard of it!" The event started as OGDC (Online Game Developer's Conference), but that sounded too much like GDC and AGDC, which are run by a different organization, so the name was changed to ION. Cue some dude who owns the trademark to "ION" and wanted way the hell too much money to allow the conference to use it... Finally, this year, it is called LOGIN, which is the best of the three options anyway, in my opinion.

LOGIN is slated for May 11-14 this year, at the Marriot Waterfront, in Seattle, WA.

Click on the little ad icon at the upper right of your screen if you want ALL the details. Meanwhile, Cynthia Freese, co-founder and all-round goddess of LOGIN, dropped by to talk with us a bit about the conference... read on!

WHY THE DWARF THINKS LOGIN RULES:

1. Affordability: At about half of the cost of GDC, it is a great way to explore the inside of the gaming industry. It actually leaves you some money to spend on BEER... and to buy your favorite Dwarf one as well.

Freese explained, "The standard registration rate is $695 ($300 off the on-site price), but the first 100 registrants can get a $100 discount for a rate of $595. This rate is only valid for the first 100 registrations."

Yeah, good luck with being one of the first hundred - GO, you might actually make it! Still, like I said, even the regular rate of $695 is much, much less expensive than comparable conferences. So what do you GET for that investment?

Freese outlined the values in detail, "The LOGIN Conference registration is for an all-conference pass, entitling attendees access to all of our sessions, panels and roundtables; the welcome reception; the conference party; and the celebrated sumptuous keynote lunches over three days. At $595, the early bird rate costs 40% less than the on-site registration rate. The highly acclaimed networking breakfasts, which were available for an additional fee in 2008, will be included with the registration price for all attendees. Only 100 early bird registration slots will be made available to LOGIN registrants, until March 31st. Early registration rates will expire when the 100 slots have been selected or when March 31st has passed, whichever event arrives first."

To register for the 2009 LOGIN Conference, click on the small ad I've linked at the upper right of the page, or visit the registration link directly: REGISTER HERE.

2. Environment: LOGIN is a smaller, much more personal setting than any other game conference that I can think of. You'll have a much greater opportunity to actually sit with industry folks at the meals and roundtables. You can actually find your way around the place.

Freese addressed the feel of the event when I asked if they were interested in making it one of the mammoth conventions in future, "Keeping a tight focus on our attendee’s needs, and giving them the best LOGIN experience is what is most important to us. Some growth is fine but we are not interested in being a mammoth event where people feel lost and don’t know who to talk to. At LOGIN we work hard to make sure that every attendee gets the introductions and meetings."

3. Relevance:
This show retains a very strong focus on online gaming. GDC, while larger, features a great deal more on handheld and console titles, and was therefore not as immediately useful to one who is interested in the online industry. I know there is some overlap, but still... in their interests to broaden appeal, the larger shows have really lost focus.

4. I was never bored: The conference is not too short, not too long, and there is always a seminar, roundtable or lecture that I was actually interested in.

The selection of speakers is varied, and determined more by quality than marketing, thank the Gods. Keeping my attention is no easy task, and I thoroughly enjoyed last year's schedule. Dollar for dollar, it was a great investment.

As Freese said, "Making LOGIN a lower-cost, high-value must-attend event on the game industry calendar has always been the focus. Basically, LOGIN is a passion project, because we believe we are making a real difference for our colleagues in this industry. Making LOGIN not only the best event for online game developers but knowing it is also the best value is very important to us!"

5. Food: Ok, this might seem like a minor thing, but as one who travels to a lot of conventions, I am here to tell you that the food at LOGIN last year was the best, bar none, of all. The hotel was inventive in their culinary presentations and the snacks served between conference sessions were fan-freaking-tastic. There is a LOT of food, good food, included with your registration fee, again, something that you will not find anywhere else.


All of these things combined to make LOGIN the best conference experience I had in 2008... and therefore, at the top of my list of events to attend this year.

Of course, nothing is perfect. The hotel's wireless internet last year was completely overwhelmed by the collective drain of 1,000 laptops, but the manager assured us that they'd upgrade accordingly for 2009. I have yet to be at a conference that did NOT have internet issues, so this was relatively minor for me.

Now, the last point... Seattle is gorgeous, even when raining. Take a few extra days and explore the city. The Marriot Waterfront is right downtown, minutes from many of the best features the city has to offer.

"Since we live in the Pacific Northwest it made the choice of locations obvious," said Freese, "Seattle is a great place for LOGIN because of the easy access from anywhere in the world. We are the closest port to Asia and we are equidistant from Europe and Asia."

It is also a hotbed of game studios, as Freese outlined, "Seattle has 150 companies involved in game development, 15,000 employees at these companies, and they bring in over $4.2 billion in revenue to the State of Washington."

Take my word for it.

Dollar for dollar, LOGIN is probably the best conference investment that you can make.

Besides, you can hang out with me in all the beer lounges nearby and we can chat about how much we disagree with all the opinions and data presented, because, ya know, us GAMERS know best.

That brings me to the topic of today's comic... at center is an image sent to me by long-time gaming buddy and good friend Jesse Allen, a.k.a. "Quinatan," a.k.a. "The Harm Touch Gimp," a.k.a. "STOP PUSHING ALL THE RED BUTTONS YOU ^@%# MORON!!!"

He shows that the secret to a great game is simple. I think he should be considered as a speaker for next year's LOGIN!

;-)#
Brasse

Re: LOGIN '09 - Everyone's An Expert

AmAvocet -- 2009-03-04 15:10:23

Seattle? Gonna stop off in Everett and pay me a visit? :)

Re: LOGIN '09 - Everyone's An Expert

Brasse -- 2009-03-04 15:15:35

Hehe, not likely, the cab fare would kill me! Besides I'm going to be pretty busy taking in the conference, hehe. I take beer breaks in the evening.
;-)#

Re: LOGIN '09 - Everyone's An Expert

DannyboyO1 -- 2009-03-05 06:46:48

I dunno. Too much positive reinforcement tends to make me uncomfortable. Like half-life 2, ep 2, right before you launch the world-saving satellite... and the entire speaking cast is standing there and *smiling* at you, and...

Yeah, some of us, our survival instincts kick in and we avoid the kool-aid.

It's a good point, just, it can be taken a little too far. :)
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