Vancouver – In my opinion, I feel that the inaugural year for Vancouver Digital Week was a week filled with opportunities – not just for networking, but also for learning and promoting our Canadian industry. With such events as the International Partnering Forum, GDC Canada, FuturePlay, Game Career Seminar, nextMedia Vancouver, MITACS, Digital Kung Fu and Convergence there was something for everyone, no matter what level they are at in the digital media industry.
While I was not able to attend all events, reports from those who attended the International Partnering Forum say that it was very successful, with over 35 countries represented through delegate parties. Many countries are interested in not only doing business with Canadian digital media companies, but also in locating business enterprises in Canada. I believe that such interest speaks highly of the quality of our talent and our global reputation in the technological industry fields.
GDC Canada presented an abundance of relevant topics on its four seminar tracks in Concept/PreProduction, Production, Finalling and Post Launch/Analysis. As always, the keynote addresses were well presented and entertaining as well as informative. While many of us may have had the opportunity to hear Don Mattrick (Microsoft), Dr. Greg Zeschuk and Dr. Ray Muzyka (Bioware) present seminars before, they always have something new and fresh to present on a variety of topics and perspectives. While a few people may have felt that it would’ve been a better choice to bring in industry notables from other countries, giving an opportunity to many who might not otherwise have the chance to attend a live seminar from those other notables, I feel that two full-house keynotes showed that we can still learn from our own industry pioneers and that we still appreciate the paths they have walked and the achievements they have obtained throughout their careers.
FuturePlay presented a wealth of information – and therein lies one of my problems when attending conference events with so much to do. I am forever running into conflicts on the seminar schedules, especially with as much going on as there was during GDC Canada and Digital Week. I venture about the conference hall, catching parts of several seminars when I would really love to be able to sit through many of them from start to finish – but then I would be hardpressed to pick those single seminars, as so many are of interest to not only myself, but also our readers. At the very least, I can use the schedule and seminar information to investigate future article topics and features, so to that end, all is good.
Another inaugural event for Digital Week was Digital Kung Fu, presented by the Masters of Digital Media programme and held at Great Northern Way Campus. With approximately 50 attendees, Director of Industry Relations Dennis Chenard was very pleased with the turnout and calibre of the seminars. I peeked in on the seminar about Digital Prototyping/Developing for the iPhone being presented by Joe Bonar (Partner, A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games Inc.) and Aaron Hilton (President, CellMap Inc.), which caught my eye as I am currently trying to play my way through Skybabes, an A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. iPhone title. I also caught the first part of The Art of the Pitch, presented by Boris Wertz (CEO of Nexopia and CEO of W Media Ventures), Kenton Low (President, NMBC), Earl Hong Tai (Regional Director, Business Development, Telefilm), Boris Mann (Founder, Bootup Labs) and Tom Frisina (MDM Instructor).
Following Digital Kung Fu, I attended a Wired Woman seminar, which, while not an official part of Digital Week, was highly relevant. The guest speaker was Pamela Quintero, Senior Manager at KPMG’s Forensic Practice in Vancouver. Pamela discussed the basics and legalities of eDiscovery and Computer Forensics, a subject which holds special interest to both myself and our IT Administrator, Scott White. We found this seminar to be very useful, and hope to attend further seminars on the topic.
Parties and receptions were also held during the week – the official (and well-attended) GDC Canada reception took place at the Fairmont and was sponsored by Microsoft. Ubisoft Vancouver held their rockin’ party at the Tunnel Cafe and was loads of fun – kudos to Ubi and the Tunnel Cafe staff for a great event. The PopVox Awards & Reception took place at Workspace on Wednesday evening – again, our congratulations to the winners.
Also on Wednesday evening, Women In Games Vancouver held their first social mixer at the Steamworks Über Lounge. The mixer was very well attended, and thanks to sponsors Steamworks Brewing Company, AnnexPro, Big Fish Games, 31337 Recruiters and Ubisoft, the event was a great success. Women In Games Vancouver received a lot of feedback on what people are seeking from the fledgeling group, as well as new recruits who are interested in becoming involved with Women In Games Vancouver. You can check out more photos in our Gallery.
As I’ve said before, I think that all of the teams, companies and associations involved in organizing the various events during Vancouver Digital Week can congratulate themselves for a successful event. Vancouver Digital Week and GDC Canada 2010 is definitely an event I will be looking forward to next year – maybe by then I’ll have figured out the cloning process so that I can attend more than one seminar at the same time.