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Carolyn: Day 2 & 3

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Austin Game Conference Blog: Days 2 and 3

Blog Entry #2 by Carolyn Koh

Stardate… um… I mean… Thursday, September 7th. Day Two of the AGC. The Technology Pavilion otherwise known as the Schwag Palace opened. My day would be split between appointments and panels and what ever else I could squeeze in.

I have to admit, I like the pace of the AGC. I was exaggerating the “Schwag Palace” bit. Instead of manic crowds and ear-drum blowing sounds in the exhibition hall, there were simply draped tables, small displays and the serious business side of the game development world. Contacts were made, deals started and struck. Conversations could be had without screaming at each other and missing every third word.

I actually saw a Booth Babe! Sadly, I did not think to take a picture of the manikin in a simple white tee-shirt with the words “Booth Babe” on it. The panel I was scheduled to cover was entitled “The Age of Dinosaurs” for which Dana assured me, I was eminently suited for. In defiance and a nod from my inner-child, I went out and deliberately scored schwag. An Activision pen and hacky-sack! Woot! Not as cool as the USB lava-lamp that Alan Crosby scored though… but hey… it’s a very nice pen!

Blog Entry #3 by Carolyn Koh

The final day. With a party that SOE was gracious to invite all of us to the night before, I knew I would be in no shape to do a 7:30am interview on Friday morning, but fate was kind to me and we managed to change it to a later time.

The only panel I was scheduled for was the last of the day and so I had the entire day to walk around the Technology Pavilion, speak to companies that caught my eye, catch up with old friends and make new ones.

I was scheduled to meet with the folks at AEGIA Physics, but their meeting rooms were empty. Ah well, these things happen all the time at conventions, so I wandered around until my attention was caught by the colorful display at GoPets.

GoPets sponsored the convention lanyards that held the attendee badges. That was the only thing I knew about them but I wondered if they were anything like NeoPets or Club Penguin, and wondered why a company would be showing a game at a developer’s conference. As it turned out, they were showcasing their games platform.

Being what MMORPG.com is, I talked to them about their game. Targeted towards children ten and above, they’ve released the game in Asia, and found their largest market in the 13 through 17 age range. GoPets is about also social networking. Their tagline is “Make a friend with GoPets.” The game can be downloaded and basic play is free. Their business model is based on micro-transactions – purchasing the in-game currency to obtain premium content such as accessories to dress up your pet with, a house and furniture for it, to play mini-games etc.

The basic pet is a cat or a dog, and based on your profile, your pet goes around the world, visiting other players and reporting its activities back to you in the form of a log. The connection is made, and the ice broken. It is up to you, the player to go on from there, if you wish to make a new friend.

This looks like a 21st century version of a Pen Pal network. Localized in 15 languages, even language is not too much of a barrier, as an iconic language system is available for sending simple messages. Further, they have a version that can be played on the mobile phone and a unique pet available on that is the monkey. Another version is slated to be available on the Nintendo DS. Your pets will travel in all networks. That is to say, your pet is not limited to visiting the players on each platform, but will visit all players of GoPets. How cool is that?

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Carolyn Koh

Carolyn Koh / Carolyn Koh has been writing for MMORPG.com since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.