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DICE 2006

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The 2006 D.I.C.E. Summit took place at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada on February 9th and 10th 2006.

Day 1 - February 9, 2006 (Thursday)

  • Reggie Fils-Aime, "Expanding the Market for Interactive Entertainment"
Reggie Fils-Aime, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo of America, began his speech extolling the virtues of the handheld console. He explained that the in 2005 the handheld market had begun to take over some of the overall gaming market and the revenue earned from handheld gaming had increased dramatically since the previous year.
Reggie went on to talk about marketing games based on the content of the game. Remarking that part of the Nintendogs marketing campaign used, among other things, ads in teen magazines targeting young girls to get the word out. Reggie also stated that Nintendo would soon be marketing on Oprah and Ellen, two shows that are staple daytime TV programming in the US.
Later on in the speech, it was announced that Nintendo would soon release DS Download Stations which would be available at various retail locations. Content can be downloaded to a Nintendo DS and will be available as long as the DS stays on. Reggie also announced a new first for the Nintendo DS Wi-Fi service, voice chat via VoIP. In Metroid Prime: Hunters players would be able to chat with others before and after match.
Reggie then shifted focus to Nintendo's newest console, the Nintendo Revolution. Promising that, with it, developers would have the freedom to make the games they wanted to make, whether it be simple innovative games aimed at nongamers or tried and true games aimed at the hardcore gamer.
  • Richard Garriott and Robert Garriott, "Why You Never Want to Work for Your Brother"
A joint speech by Richard Garriot and Robert Garriot, the current NCSoft senior executives and former Origin co-founders, was given focusing mainly on the brothers past. Richard first developed games on a teletype machine, he later moved onto an Apple II and made quick cash when the early 80s gaming boom was well underway, continueing they explained both came to creating a business together, all the while explaining how the brothers relationship helped them along the way.
Talk then turned to how they helped pioneer Massively Multiplayer Online games with their game Ultima Online. They went on to give a prediction that within three to five years companies would continue to merge until around five companies with the money to compete in the MMO genre existed.
  • Alec Bernstein, "Auto Design for the Video Game Generation"
  • Gabe Newell, "Half-Life and the Struggle for Survival"
  • David Jaffe, "Chasing Perfection: The Making of God of War"
Designer of God of War and the Twisted Metal series, David Jaffe based most of his speech on God of War and his passion for creating the game he envisioned. Towards the end of his speech David questioned the industry's current business scheme that kept developers making much less money than publishers and whether something could be done to change this. Later on the day of this speech David Jaffe's God of War would go on to win seven Interactive Achievement Awards at the 9th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards.
  • Stuart Snyder, "On-Demand Entertainment"

Day 2 - February 10, 2006 (Friday)

  • Peter Moore, "Microsoft: The Changing World of PC Games"
Peter Moore, Microsoft's Corporate VP of Interactive Entertainment, began by challenging everyones preconceptions on sales of software for the PC gaming market. Common belief, backed up by sales data, show that PC video game sales have been declining since 2001. Moore asserted that sales were not declining, but were shifting from retail sales to online sales. This is occurring in part to purchasing games online, but mainly from people subscribing to MMO games. In fact huge financial growth is estimated to occur for online games.
Peter Moore then spoke about the Xbox 360, apologizing for the drought in 360s he stated the drought will continue for at least another 4-6 weeks. Moore believes online to be where the future of gaming lies revealing that around 50% of current Xbox 360 users had taken their gaming online either through the 360s free or paid subscription package and around 20% of game demo downloads were later converted to purchases by gamers.
Later, Moore spoke of Microsoft's next big OS, Vista. Vista will be a much more streamlined experience for gamers featuring a directory specifically for games, with game descriptions and rating controls for parents. Moore detailed other areas of PC gaming that he felt needed polishing including changing PC box art to conform to more standardization to push more purchases at the cash register and standardizing play experiences online akin to Xbox Live.
  • Panel - Lorenzo DiBonaventura, Lyle Hall, David Franzoni, and Moderator Larry Shapiro, "Franchise Crossover: Trusting your child in the hands of strangers"
  • Dale Herigstad, "Spatial Navigation: New Interfaces for the Screen"
  • Will Wright and Peter Molyneux, "The Battle of Bunker Hill"
The Battle of Bunker Hill was a strange diversion from the typical keynotes and speeches given at DICE 2006. The Battle operated as a game show which pitted teams composed of some of the most influencial game designers against each other through games of Pong and questions about video games. Team Red was led by Will Wright, and was comprised of David Jaffe, Warren Spector, and Michael Legg. Sid Meier led Team Blue, and was joined by Louis Castle, Bruce Shelley, and Michael John. In the end Team Red came out victorious while Team Blue cried like little babies at their crushing defeat.
  • Jim Banister, "The Future of Entertainment: The Nature of Narrative in the Age of Digital Networks"
  • Fumito Ueda and Kenji Kaido, "Outside the Shadows: A Conversation with the Creators of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus"
Fumito Uedo lead game designer, game director and art director of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, and Kenji Kaido, the producer of both of these games wraps up DICE 2006 through a question and answer session with Lorne Lanning, founder Oddworld Inhabitants. Using a translator Fumito Uedo described how he came up with and subsequently how he pitched his idea for ICO to Sony, why the main character of ICO has horns (so that the player can easily and quickly identify the character they're playing as), the creation process of ICO and SotC, the lack of creative titles and the sequelitus that is a big part of the video game world. Kenji Kaido also spoke detailing how he keeps the teams that work on their projects focused and challenged without lowering morale working on a single game for four years.

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