GDC Europe 2011 continues to debut talks for the August event opposite gamescom in Cologne, including Obsidian's J.E. Sawyer on

Some of the new highlights from the Main Conference, which features tracks on Business&Marketing, Game Design, Production, Programming and Visual Arts, include the following:

- In the Business&Marketing track, Steve Nix, divisional vice president and general manager of digital distribution for video game retail giant GameStop, will host a talk dubbed, GameStop’s Digital Strategy: Bringing Immersive Gaming to a Digital Audience."

As the traditionally retail-heavy GameStop reaches into the digital space by acquiring Stardock's Impulse download service along with streaming technology company Spawn Labs, Nix will examine the growth and evolution of the digital space and how his company plans to work with publishers and developers to shift beyond the traditional console market.

- Elsewhere, in the conference's Design track, The Evolution of RPG Mechanics: From Die Rolls to Hit Volumes" will feature Obsidian Entertainment's Joshua Sawyer on how role playing games have evolved over the years, branching from their roots in tabletop games and adopting more "player-driven mechanics from other genres."

Former Black Isle staffer Sawyer has worked on a number of high-profile titles such as Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Icewind Dale, and he will draw from his experience to examine popular tropes of the role-playing genre and explain "what works, what doesn't, and why RPG fans are often their own worst enemies." His talk aims to teach attendees "how to avoid the most common difficulties and pitfalls developers face when attempting to create and balance RPG mechanics."

- In the conference's Business&Marketing track, "PlayStation Vita Business Opportunities" will feature Sony developer relations account manager George Bain discussing the business and development opportunities made available by the company's upcoming next-generation gaming handheld.

Bain will outline the PlayStation Vita's development tools, features, and PlayStation Network integration, shedding light on how developers can leverage the device to best suit their games and business strategies.

In addition to the Main Conference, GDC Europe has added notable Summits on Social Games, Smartphone&Tablet Games, Independent Games and Community Management to the existing line-up this year.

GDC Europe organizers recently revealed the full details of the Community Management and Independent Games Summits, as well as Main conference sessions from Zynga's Lou Castle, Playdom, and Unity Technologies. Other announcements include keynote talks from Ultima creator Richard Garriott and Wooga founder Jens Begemann.

For more information on GDC Europe as the event takes shape, please visit the official GDC Europe website, or subscribe to updates from the new GDC Europe-specific news page in RSS form, official Twitter page, or official Facebook page. GDC Europe is owned and operated by UBM TechWeb. 


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