Mason to Host Business of Games Conference

Posted: November 22, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: December 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm

By Catherine Ferraro

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Please note: Due to multiple scheduling conflicts, many speakers and attendees from the federal government and the entertainment and serious gaming and simulation industry were unable to attend the Business of Games Conference scheduled for Friday, Dec. 10.

Therefore, the Business of Games Conference has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday, April 15, 2011. Registration for the April 15 Business of Games Conference will open on Feb. 1, 2011. Please check the website for registration and speaker information.

However, the student ‘Green Light’ Game Business and Game Concept Pitch Session will proceed from 3 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2010, in Mason Hall, Room D3 and D4, on the Fairfax Campus. Anyone interested in viewing the presentation is welcome to attend free of charge.

Mason will welcome student and local independent game developers, game industry leaders and members of the business community to the Business of Games Conference on Friday, Dec. 10.

Game design has become a nearly $105 billion industry globally and is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace, especially in the Washington, D.C., region.

The conference, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel on the Fairfax Campus, will offer panel discussions and sessions that allow students from around the country to network with — and learn from — industry leaders in the evolving business of games.

The conference builds on the success of Mason’s computer game design program, the only such four-year degree program offered in the commonwealth of Virginia and the Washington, D.C., area. The degree prepares students for employment in the computer game design and development field, both in the business and government sectors.

“Mason’s computer game design program has the potential to transform the university and the Northern Virginia region into a global leader in games-related research, development and new business entrepreneurship,” says Scott Martin, assistant dean for technology and director of the computer game design program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“By bringing together professionals and students who are serious about games, the conference will help support the local game developer community through learning, networking and inspiration.”

Mason President Alan Merten will open the conference, followed by keynote speaker Eugene Evans, studio head of Bioware Mythic in Fairfax, Va.

Other speakers and presenters include William Ridenour, president of John Marshall Bank, who will discuss the business investment community; and Barry Caudill, executive producer of Firaxis Games in Annapolis, Md.

At the conference’s “green light” pitch session, preselected students and independent game developers will outline their ideas for game design concepts and new business proposals. A panel of local industry professionals will review submissions on the spot, and winners will receive a $1,500 prize and a free, two-hour business development consulting session at the Mason Enterprise Center.

“In just a few short years, the game design industry has undergone explosive growth as companies have grown beyond the roots of the business in Silicon Valley to other parts of the country. As a result, the industry has the potential to be an important economic driver in the Northern Virginia region,” says Evans.

“Mason is the obvious choice to host the Business of Games Conference because of its unique approach to combining both computer science and arts components in its computer game design program.”

Throughout the day, participants can also visit the entrepreneurship and game exposition, an array of booths staffed by representatives from local and national businesses in the gaming industry. Students and other interested participants are encouraged to visit the booths, drop off resumes and schedule interviews with these industry leaders.

The Business of Games Conference is presented by Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering and the School of Management. Sponsors include the Mason Enterprise Center, Bioware Mythic, John Marshall Bank, InfoReliance, Beck Foundation, Whitfield Foundation, and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.

For registration information and a complete schedule of events, see the website.

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