Having written a bit about Shanghai’s growing video game industry in the past, I went over to the new branch of the wine bar Enoteca, near Xintiandi, to check out this IGDA event last night.
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.
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