Couldn't make it down to QuakeCon this year? No problem. Thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can watch the panels from the comfort of your own home.
Fair warning, boys and girls: The two videos I'm about to show you are pretty in-depth. As far as the gaming biz goes, this is about as "inside baseball" as you get without actually having a cubicle in id Software's office space.
That said, there really isn't any better way to learn about how the industry works. If you've got your geek hats on, I'll proceed.
That first video, attached to the top-right up there, is an hour-long panel dubbed "First Person Perspectives." It gathers industry luminaries from id, Bethesda Softworks and Insomniac Games to discuss the current status of the first-person genre -- which is far more than shooters these days -- as well as its history and possible future.
Given that id practically invented the genre, it's about as authoritative a source as you'll find on the topic, without dragging John Carmack away from his precious rockets.
The second panel, embedded below, is a discussion on the topic of the unsung heroes of the gaming biz: the community managers. Unfamiliar with what exactly a community manager does? Alright, imagine the worst, most hate-filled, troll-infested forum you've ever seen; the only thing preventing your favorite game's fan community from devolving into that sort of morass, are the diligent community managers.
Also, they get little to no recognition, work long hours, and are the first people to be shouted at by irate consumers. In a lot of ways they are like babysitters for the 'net, only without a chance to raid your dad's liquor cabinet on the sly.
As a result of the thankless gig, the panel is incredibly fascinating, assuming you have an interest in the foundations of the gaming development business.
In case you don't read The Escapist religiously (and why not?), I will also direct your attention to this piece, which includes the entirety of John Carmack's QuakeCon 2011 keynote address. If you dig the above, you'll likely want to catch that video as well.