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Inside Intel on Intel’s Buzz Workshop Series for Game Developers

During the recent Intel Buzz Workshop for Game Developers: Be Mobile event in SF, I chatted with Robert McNair, an engineering manager and evangelist for Intel, who’s been in the industry a solid 28+ years but focused on his personal passion of video games since 2010 by enabling and optimizing gaming on PCs. He shared a few of his thoughts about the purpose of these workshops — and what’s next for them.

Any event starts with an idea, and for Intel it was no different since 2013. “If you’ve noticed over the last 5 years, we’re (Intel is) finally very comfortable addressing the gaming community with our capability. Now with Iris, you’ll see an explosion of graphics. So we are reaching out to the gaming community more than ever,” says McNair. He adds, the focus of the Buzz events is one layer removed from the gamers, by reaching out to the developers who create them.

The objective from Intel’s perspective was also relatively straightforward: to show devs how to port their games to X86 and Android platforms via Intel as the conduit. The talent pool has primarily been seated on the iOS platform but more and more developers are gradually shifting to Android as a focus, a perceived trend which Intel hopes to tap into.

It’s worth mentioning that lately another big brand name Amazon, too, is developing a more pointed approach to reaching out gamers by reaching the developers through a set of hardware and software platforms first.

This event was not intended to directly dovetail with the upcoming 2014 Intel Developer Forum, as “IDF is for developers, but also for press, biz guys, partners and marketing. (It’s) not as in-depth on the technical side,” according to McNair. However, the Buzz event did offer IDF flyers with discount codes offering Galileo hardware as a promotion to drive registration.

Perhaps the most interesting bit of news to emerge from the interview is preliminary information that Intel Buzz events will be headed abroad to London and Stockholm, both of which are hot spots of mobile game development, later this year. In the United States, keep an eye out in Austin, Boston and other regional development hubs, as these may be potential future destinations for the Buzz workshops as well — especially because the largest congregations of indie game developers are more likely to attend where it is most convenient and within reach for them, said McNair.

The goal of the event in San Francisco was to attract 100 attendees, but in the end, the event drew over 140 developer and influencer attendees, according to the organizers. In fact, they said they had to cap the attendees after they more than met their goal.

For 2015 in San Francisco, as one might imagine it would be anywhere else they’d host the event, attendee feedback will drive their decisions for how they organize the following year. Green-lighting a 2015 Buzz event in a given locale largely depends on the nature of the feedback Intel organizers receive. For example, from 2013 to 2014, much of the feedback was about bringing more technical talks to the 2014 event, and they believed they delivered on that request. At the time of the interview, McNair believed they hit their objectives for this year in San Francisco.

The one thing the organizers already are confident that they’d change is the window in which they’d organize and assemble next year’s Intel Buzz Workshop Series for Game Developers event. One of the challenges in organizing an event in San Francisco — the many other events going on at any given time, which also also means there is a ready community of developers, entrepreneurs and media who share these events — helped the organizers bring together a full house in a month. Not an easy feat anywhere else, but they readily agree they’d like a longer window to work with the next time around.

As always, keep your eye peeled for coverage of these developer-focused events on E4G’s calendar and in in our editorial pages!

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