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Workshop on "Game development technologies and networking"
April 5th , 2006 – Brussels
The International Auditorium
International Trade Union House
Boulevard du Roi Albert II, No. 5 / 2
1210 Bruxelles - Belgium
Technological questions of content creation and specifically the technological challenges of game development play a key role in the positioning of the EU in the ICT sector within the years to come. Games – a key application of interactive media - are an important innovation catalyst in the information society, as they are at the crossroads of three core issues: Technology and its spin offs, economic development and cultural diversity. To a very large degree games have been responsible for the continued improvement of mass market computer hardware. The same might be true for the development of networks. The games industry will remain in growth for the next years. This workshop aims at identifying scenarios, which could enable the European game developer community to take part in this development. Subject to the workshop's outcome could be research objectives in future research programs and political initiatives, including, but not limited to standardisation and interoperability issues.
Content is becoming more and more important for the development of technology, as market success is defined by content and technology likewise. Games therefore are a good example for the requirement to redefine the relationship between content and technology in our era: Games are probably the killer application of the new converging media field between TV, Mobile and Internet as they are becoming interactive in the context of networked electronic media (see emerging games on mobile devices, online and over interactive TV). The attention of the public towards interactive entertainment might be even higher than in linear media structures. Games may well become more important than the TV of today in the next 20 or 30 years. Their impact on society is rapidly growing, and therefore it will be important to have a positive attitude about games so that they can be integrated properly into the regulation and support initiatives of the information society.
But, just as in the movie industry today, network effects and economies of scale ease the way for ‘monocultural’ genre orientation and international stereotypes.
Network games have been an important target of private investment and for some a source of revenues and innovation, making the sector successful from a macro vision. However, the situation of European game developers of today is not satisfying. Most of the research is done in SME’s scattered all over Europe. Production costs are constantly rising (higher profile products make recoupment in the domestic markets alone impossible). Therefore independent development becomes more difficult. This is in particular due to the fact that Europe has no proper console technology and will probably not have any control over this key platform and gateway, creating a power asymmetry in the relationship between game developers, game publishers and platform holders, which currently discriminates games from Europe, and making the development of games highly dependent of the console hardware development and tools of non-European origin. A technological environment in which widely available and interoperable European tools and middleware make it more affordable to produce games in Europe will be an important step for a continued sustainable future of the sector. This would assure that diverse and European projects can still be successful, at least on the software side Europe. A coherent research policy in Europe for both stand alone and network and/or mobile games, with the aim to render game development by SME’s in Europe more effective , less costly and to reduce the risks market entry, could actively contribute to achieve this goal and thus the competitiveness of this sector of the industry.
Therefore, this workshop will aim at
– identifying the issues at stake concerning the development of games and the future of games in a networked and mobile environment
– identifying the technical perspectives, for the development of games and interactive entertainment to support multiplatform development and to render production in Europe more efficient and less costly.
– identify whether launching new research initiatives at European level is appropriate, and, in the affirmative, which ones.