At its heart, GDC is a technology show. Yes, gaming is the main focus, but that focus is not on the consumer end like an E3 or a PAX. Looking around, you’ll see exhibitors displaying technologies that help game developers with the creation and delivery of their virtual experiences.
Last year's GDC seemed to center on the delivery of "social networks". This whole trend answers the question on how to keep the player plugged into their game community when they are not actually playing the game. Delivery mechanisms for these social networks included the web, the PC as well as the iPhone. This year, the message seemed to be about content delivery....from a couple different angles.
Content delivery, for a gamer, can come from multiple sources. It can come from the traditional "brick and mortar" stores like EB Games or GameStop or can come from services like Steam or Impulse. One of the big stories from GDC this year was yet another content delivery method called OnLive. OnLive is a game delivery service which seeks to bring "cloud computing" to the end user which would virtually eliminate the need to gamers to ask the age old question, "does my machine meet the specs to play this game". Interesting idea and, if it takes off, it can really change the way in which games are delivered to gamers. Scratch that...it would be a complete paradigm shift of game delivery.
One last thing...the iPhone, as a platform for gaming seems to be getting HUGE traction within the industry. I was fortunate to attend a session by Gordon Walton, who currently works at Bioware, which was about the top 10 things to look for in a game designer. In what was really an offhand comment, he said something to the current trend for other gaming platforms like the iPhone.
Now, for your entertainment...Big Buck Bunny, which was created totally in Blender and just blows my mind away:
Big Buck Bunny from Blender Foundation on Vimeo.