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WoW, Habbo Leaders To Keynote Austin GDC

Organizers of CMP's 2007 Austin Game Developers Conference, coming September 5-7th, have announced that World of Warcraft father Michael Morhaime and creative leader behind Habbo Hotel Sulka Haro will each present a keynote lecture for the O
Organizers of CMP's 2007 Austin Game Developers Conference have announced that World of Warcraft father Michael Morhaime and creative leader behind Habbo Hotel Sulka Haro will each present a keynote lecture for the Online Games Track at the 2007 Austin Game Developers Conference. The two online entertainment innovators will draw on their experiences revolutionizing the way people interact in virtual worlds to motivate the online game development community to break boundaries and strive to create better games. The three-day event, presented by the CMP Game Group, host of the industry-leading Game Developers Conference (GDC), will take place September 5-7, 2007 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Michael Morhaime and Sulka Haro are both uniquely positioned to share their wisdom with the online game development community. As president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, Morhaime has ushered World of Warcraft to its status as the most successful MMO in history, with more than 8.5 million subscribers worldwide. The game's global rollout has not only proven that it is possible to overcome the technical challenges of administering a game of its size and the cultural challenges related to localization and implementation, but has also shown how deeply online gaming can impact popular culture, as it has inspired references on shows including "The Colbert Report" and an entire "South Park" storyline. Similarly, Haro has overseen the creative development of Sulake's globally operated virtual world Habbo into an online destination which has attracted millions of teenagers every month since launching in 2000, expanding into 29 countries. Like World of Warcraft, Habbo has enjoyed much success with audiences outside of the core gamer audience. The Habbo virtual world also provides an example of the various revenue streams and business models available to the online game community, as most of its users participate in the world's economy of acquiring virtual property through micro-transactions, with purchases accessible in a number of ways -- through SMS, home phone, pre-paid cards, credit cards, and money orders. Habbo Hotel's design supports open play and user creativity, supplying customers with furniture, clothing, pets, and accessories to customize their experiences. "The GDC has long served the game development community by providing opportunities to learn directly from both the legends of our industry," says Jane Pinckard, Content Manager for Austin GDC. "For online games and virtual worlds, Blizzard's World of Warcraft and Sulake's Habbo Hotel have pioneered the way and set precedence on how MMOs can transcend into real communities as well as establish new e-commerce models. We can't wait to hear what the men behind these iconic games have to say regarding the future of online gaming." The Austin GDC will feature more than 90 lectures, panels, tutorials and round-table discussions on game development across four tracks: online games, audio for games, writing for games and a new People's Choice track featuring the sessions community members want to see most. Austin GDC will also feature a Game Career Seminar for students and job-changers researching entry into the game industry, and a new event, PC Game On, focusing on the PC game enthusiast. For more information, please visit www.austingdc.net. The deadline for early rate pricing is June 13.

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