Return of the Austin Game Conference

The Austin Game Conference was started in 2003. It ran under various management teams and identities until 2012, and its loss from the United States’ fourth-largest video game development hub was felt by many in the community and industry. For the last few years, except for the massive catch-all SXSW Interactive mega-event, Austin and its 175 game development studios and thousands of professionals attached to the games industry have been without a traditionally structured sort of flagship conference.

Now, the rumors of the return of the Austin Game Conference have solidified with a formal press release confirming a September 21-22, 2016, event date and return to the Austin Convention Center and a presenting sponsor in Electronic Arts.

The Austin Game Conference has been rebooted by its original founder, Executive Director Chris Sherman, with Running Live: Game Development Evolved,” as the conference theme, which aims to offer “critical insight into the development of live, participatory games with real-time engagement between developers, players and spectators.”

“With the help of a cross-section of the development community, we’re off to a tremendous start in programming Austin Game Conference 2016 as the preeminent event for professionals in all phases of live, online game development,” Sherman said in a press release. “Whether you’re already pushing the envelope or eager to begin engineering, programming and designing leading-edge games — particularly always-on, run-live, play-live games — and crave new ideas and from innovators, technology vanguard and creative masters, the Austin Game Conference is for you.”

For the (as many as) 1,000 attendees expected to attend, they can expect an expo show floor and conference content  tracks to cover design, business/production/live, virtual reality (VR/AR) and audience participation (streaming and eSports).

Conference co-chairs and advisory board (listed in bullet points) are as follows.

Art & Craft Entertainment Inc. President Gordon Walton and BattleCry Studios Executive Producer/President Rich Vogel, in addition to a talented advisory board of game development community leaders including:

Registration for the Austin Game Conference 2016 is now open at Super Early registration before July 29 is $249. A limited number of student tickets are available for $149. Group discounts are available as well.

It’ll be interesting to see if the 2016 Austin Game Conference recaptures the sentiment, attention, value and local flavor that was missed after its exit from the event calendar.  However, with a well-known and well-connected advisory board and a reasonable target for attendee numbers, this event may have a chance to return in strong form.