The guest was Bernie Stolar, billed as Google’s “games industry evangelist,” who was in town for several days. The choice of venue was slightly questionable – a portion of the wine bar was cordoned off for the IGDA meet, and when Stolar got up to give a short speech, the chatter from other patrons not involved with the meet practically drowned him out. Exasperated, he shouted “Hey, shut up!” at a group of loudly conversing women, who were not part of the meet, at the back.
Anyway, the speech was pretty standard stuff. A few dozen people from the game, tech, and media industry turned up at 9pm to hear what Stolar had to say. It was a decent turnout considering the time. Above the din, the main point he made was, “Follow your passion,” and “make games fun.”
Some Googlers from Beijing (one I spoke to was in business development) accompanied him to the event. Stolar’s in-game advertising firm, Adscape, was acquired by Google last year. In the past, he has said he is charged with looking at in-game ad opportunities for Google, though he didn’t mention it in his speech (from what I could make out, anyway).
Also spotted in the audience was Q Entertainment’s CEO Shuji Utsumi, who said he was in town to check out the games scene in Shanghai. Q is well-known for creative puzzle games like Lumines. Someone from Eidos (who put out Tomb Raider) was also there – apparently they’ve just set up a Shanghai office that will look at outsourcing, among other things.
From the looks of it, Shanghai’s game industry is getting more interesting by the day.