GDC Europe 2009 Advisory Board
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. Hurry up to go and start winning. These industry professionals have volunteered their time and effort to help develop the conference sessions for GDC Europe. Their dedication is critical to the success of the conference and ensuring high-level quality content is provided to attendees. Find out more about these members of the GDC Europe Advisory Board below.
Independent Game Designer, Writer, Producer, & IGDA Chair
Bob Bates began writing games for Infocom in 1986 and was Studio Head at Legend Entertainment for 15 years. He is now an independent game designer, writer, and producer whose 23-year career includes more than 35 games that have sold over 6 million units and won over 55 industry awards, including two Adventure Game of the Year Awards. He has worked on #1 titles for both the PC (UNREAL2) and for consoles (Spider-man3). He is the current Chair of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), co-founder of the Game Designers Workshop, and author of the best selling book: Game Design: The Art and Business of Creating Games
. Bob is on the Advisory Board of GDC Europe and of Project Horseshoe, a game-design think tank.
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President & CEO, Don Daglow Interactive Entertainment
Don Daglow is a pioneering video game and online game designer whose career stretches from the birth of the industry to the present day. His design for Neverwinter Nights
was honored with an Emmy®
Award for Technology and Engineering in 2008, making him one of only three people (with id Software’s John Carmack and Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime) to accept both an Emmy®
and an Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Achievement Award. Electronic Games
has called him “one of the best-known and respected producers in the history of the field,” and in 2003 he received the CGE Award for “groundbreaking achievements that shaped the Video Game Industry.” He currently serves as a consultant for game developers, publishers and investors.
Starting in 1971, Don spent nine years creating games on mainframes, designing several first-ever titles that foreshadowed major game industry genres. After being selected as one of the original five in-house programmers at Mattel, he served as director of Intellivision game development during the first generation of Video Game consoles. In 1983 he accepted a position as one of three producers at a small start-up called Electronic Arts, where he produced two of the first three EA sports titles. He then took over leadership of the Entertainment and Education division at Broderbund, where he acquired the rights to Sim City
and Star Wars
, as well as managing development of the Carmen Sandiego
series and the original Prince of Persia
In 1988 he founded Stormfront Studios, which became one of the most successful game developers in North America. Over the next twenty years over 14,000,000 Stormfront games were sold, and the company also broke audience and sales records with pioneering online games. By the time the company closed in 2008 its products had generated over $500,000,000 at retail for packaged games and online titles.
Don designed and programmed the first-ever computer baseball game and first sports simulation in 1971 (now recorded in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown), the first mainframe computer role-playing game (“Dungeon” for PDP-10 mainframes, 1975), the first sim game (Video Game Hall of Fame title “Utopia” for Intellivision, 1981) and the first game to use multiple camera angles (Intellivision “World Series Major League Baseball”, 1983). He led the design for Computer Game Hall of Fame title Earl Weaver Baseball (1987) as well as the original Neverwinter Nights for AOL (1991-97).
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CEO & Co-Founder, Streamline Studios
Alexander L. Fernandez serves as Streamline Studios’ Chief Executive Officer and is one of the four founding members of the company. Since 2001, he has grown Streamline Studios into the world’s leading co-production and production management studio for interactive entertainment by constantly raising the bar in terms of quality, process, and innovation.
Alexander has been a key component in Streamline’s success and has directed the studio as it has delivered AAA content for several best-selling franchises, including Gears of War, Saints Row, Ghost Recon, Unreal Tournament and James Bond. He works diligently to develop the core strengths and abilities of the studio, placing special emphasis on developing high-level relationships within the industry and implementing long-term company strategies for success. A major part of this success has been developing Streamline Studios into a globally recognized brand and making the studio a fabulous place to work.
In addition to his duties at Streamline, Alexander is fully involved in serving the industry by participating as a board member of BGIn, the Benelux Game Initiative. He is business development director for the European Games Developer Federation, and holds advisory board positions with the Games Developers Conference Europe, and Game Connection.
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CEO & Co-Founder, International Digital Entertainment Agency
Sean Kauppinen is the founder and CEO of the International Digital Entertainment Agency. He has more than 14 years of strategic communications and business development expertise in the digital entertainment industry and his ability to bring companies together and provide strategic guidance has led to business growth for industry giants as well as start-ups. During this time Kauppinen has launched more than 400 titles on all major gaming platforms, ranging from big budget blockbusters to value games. He has held PR and marketing management positions with Sony Online Entertainment, Ubi Soft, bleem!, and 3dfx.
Kauppinen currently holds advisory board positions with GDC Europe and multiple early stage companies, and is a regular contributor to Gamers Magazine. He is a sought-after speaker at high-profile industry events around the world, where he has delivered keynote speeches and led interactive sessions on topics including marketing, strategic communications, business development, community creation, funding and bringing original IP to market.
“GDC Europe is poised to be the most important event this summer for the international game development community. It’s an honor to be a part of the advisory board helping to steer this inaugural event and I’m confident the program will meet the needs of the community and be a platform for forging new relationships with industry peers from around the world.”
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CEO, Tom Putzki Consulting
Tom Putzki is a veteran in the games industry with a track record of more than 50 games from casual games to full price blockbuster.
Tom began his career at the German developer Greenwood Entertainment and founded his first company Piranha Bytes, developer of the GOTHIC-series, in 1997. After selling the company in 1999, he became co-founder and shareholder of the Phenomedia AG, famous for the Moorhuhn character. He stayed at Phenomedia in various management positions until May 2006.
He founded his own consulting company in the beginning of 2006 and advises national and international clients both from the games industry and other industries. Tom was the founding CEO of G.A.M.E. – German Game Developers Association for two years.
He is now a member of the advisory board of Game Developers Conference Europe. He is a member of the advisory board of Bigpoint GmbH, a browser games company located in Hamburg, Germany. He is also member of the Jury and the Academy of the German Game developers Award. Likewise he is member of the Jury from AV-Gruenderzentrum Cologne, which helps young companies in the games industry with both money and know-how.
Tom teaches ‘Game Business’ and ‘Games Marketing’ at the Games Academy in Berlin and Frankfurt.
Tom speaks on a regular basis on conferences, trading fairs, round tables and teaches occasionally at several academies and universities.
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Harald Riegler is CEO of Sproing, Austria’s leading game development studio, where he is responsible for sales, finance and management within the studio. In 2001, he co-founded Sproing together with his partner Gerhard Seiler, and the company started to work as an independent console and PC development studio, eventually growing into one of the leading console game developers in central Europe.
Over the last couple of years, Harald and the Sproing team have grown their reputation as a high-quality studio, creating several highly successful games including the 2008 Console Game of the Year in Germany, Panzer Tactics DS. Harald started his career in the games industry as a programmer, musician and sound designer in the early 90’s, working on numerous titles before focusing on studio management.
Harald is a board member of G.A.M.E., the German and Austrian game developer trade body, and an active contributor to the game development community. He is a regular speaker at industry events, and co-represents GAME in the European Game Developer Federation (the EGDF), which he helped found. Harald also represents his fellow developers through his advisory board positions with GDC Europe, Game Connection and Nordic Game.
“Visitors are going to appreciate GDC Europe, because it delivers a multi-national perspective of European game development. The team that is creating the conference program will work hard to deliver the best possible content to the development community. Combine all of this with the gamescom trade show, top quality conference infrastructure, easy access from Cologne and Frankfurt airports, and a gorgeous city like Cologne with rock concerts and all kinds of other gaming events, and you have an event that we haven’t ever experienced in Europe before.”
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VP European Business Development, Think Services, & GDC Europe Event Director
Frank Sliwka entered the games industry in 1997. With his company Global Games Media, he worked successfully with GC – Games Convention, GC Developers Conference (GCDC) and GC Asia (Singapore) untill fall 2008. During this time, he established GCDC as one of the most important game industry conferences in the world, and GC Asia as one of the main game industry events in Asia. In November 2008, Think Services acquired Sliwka’s company, Global Games Media, and from that time onwards, he has served as Think Services’ Vice President of European Business Development and Event Director for GDC Europe. Sliwka has deep experience and knowledge in the games industry and has a worldwide network of contacts. He is very well known as a talented strategist and game industry expert around the globe.
From 2005 till 2008 he was a member of the board of the GC Developers Conference, and is now on the board of GDC Europe. Sliwka is a member of the jury of European Innovative Games Award (EIGA).
Sliwka also works in the eSports Sector and created the world-leading Business Platform for eSports, International eSports Conference (ESCONF), in 2004, which is now organized by Think Services as well. At the end of 2004, he founded the German eSports Association and was elected Chairman of the German eSports Association. In 2008, Sliwka was elected as Vice President of the International eSports Federation. He stepped back from both positions in summer 2009, to focus energy on growing Think Services’ European network.
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Principal, Strategic Alternative Consultant
Robert J. Wallace is principal of Strategic Alternatives, a consulting enterprise providing business and marketing strategy, positioning, infrastructure development, publisher relationships, and acquisition counsel to independent game developers.
Strategic Alternatives was formed in 1985 after the laser printer company Robert was CEO of and had co-founded was sold to a larger public company. The company had grown from zero in 1980 to $30M on $100K of invested capital. Strategic Alternatives was originally focused on providing services to start-ups and turn-around companies in the field of digital imaging hardware and software. In 1995 the company switched to a games industry focus by providing business strategy consulting to newly formed Ensemble Studios, ultimately managing the sale of the company to Microsoft in 2001.
Current clients include: Arkane Studios (FR), Blue Fang Games, Bonfire Studios, BreakAway Ltd., Her Interactive, Legacy Interactive, Massive Black, Robot Entertainment, Schell Games, Sidhe Interactive (NZ) Subatomic Studios, and Tencent (China).
Former clients include: Big Huge Games (sold 2008), Cryptic Studios (sold 2008), and Ensemble Studios (sold 2001). Strategic Alternatives also managed the sale of the City of Heros IP by Cryptic Studios to NCsoft in 2007.
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Managing Director, Crytek
After completing his degree in mechanical engineering in 1994, Avni Yerli started his career as a project manager at a leading Bavarian planning and consulting company. In 1997, Avni became Managing Director for a subsidiary of a foreign consulting company and by early 1998 he ran his own business as an independent consultant. However, as an ardent gamer, it didn’t take long for Avni to join his two brothers, Cevat and Faruk, in founding Crytek, an interactive entertainment development company, in November 1999. As a founding member and Managing Director, Avni is responsible for business development, directing game development and finances, and legal and administrative issues.
Crytek is one of the world’s leading independent development studios for interactive entertainment with its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) and additional studios in Kiev (Ukraine), Budapest (Hungary), Sofia (Bulgaria), Seoul (South Korea) and Nottingham (UK). The company is dedicated to creating exceptionally high quality video games for the PC and next-generation consoles, powered by their proprietary cutting edge 3D-Game-Technology CryENGINE®. Since its inception, Crytek created multi-award winning PC titles which include: Far Cry®
, awarded best PC Game of E3 2007 and Best Technology at the 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards; and Crysis Warhead®
, awarded Best Graphics Technology at IGN Best of 2008 Awards.
“I am flattered to have joined the GDC Europe advisory board and looking forward to working with a talented group of advisors. Together with their strong opinions and vision, I am confident that the advisory board can create a conference that will hit the industry’s nerve.”
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