Sony, Gamecock, AGDC itself and others are also hosting parties at this three-day conference, and seeing the exuberant looks on the faces of the various attendees waiting in line, shaking hands and greeting colleagues and friends, it became clear to me that AGDC, like any trade show, is as much about getting out of the office and having a few out of town adventures as it is about anything else. We'll be sure to keep you informed on that aspect as the days wear on.
For the everything else, however, AGDC offers three days of panels and speeches on everything from how Star Trek can inform clever game writing to a room full of successful independent MMOG makers describing how they did it their way plus the usual assortment of various industry luminaries saying things they probably shouldn't.
With only a handful of attendees offering anything in the way of breaking announcements - or even hands-on demos - it's safe to say Austin's little game conference has lost the battle to become the next E3. The question, however, is whether it was even fighting that battle to begin with. If not, what is AGDC, and why should you care? We hope to find out before the end of the week.
What's AGDC is not, however, is relatively clear: It's not the new E3, the old AGC or all that attendee friendly. Last year all attendees queried lauded the show for being one of the rare conventions at which attendees could hold a conversation. This year all panels are standing room only and the noise of the crowd alone rivals the decibel levels set at other conventions.
It's quite possible that AGDC is now just like the hundreds of developers watching Michael Morhaine's keynote on how to take over the world (with World of WarCraft): aware that the paradigm has shifted, but not quite sure what to do about it. Perhaps Gordon Walton's "Business Lessons for Post-WoW Games" panel will provide some answers to them at least. Unfortunately, due to the convention's ballooning attendance numbers, that one was closed to attendees 1 minutes before it was scheduled to start (no more seats), which may also provide an answer to what Austin's game convention has become: too big for its britches.