Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley to Keynote Game Developers Conference Austin 2009

SAN FRANCISCO– August 6, 2009– The Game Developers Conference® Austin (GDC Austin) will host a keynote by John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), creators of popular massively multiplayer online (MMO) games EverQuest®, EverQuest II® and Free Realms™. In his keynote, entitled“From Dragons and Daggers to Kart Racing, Cooking and Concerts...It's a Whole New MMO World", John Smedley will discuss how the critically-acclaimed freely available tween and teen title Free Realms, originally announced during GDC Austin 2007, has worked to expand the base of players engaging together in online worlds. Presented by Think Services, GDC Austin returns with three days of main conference content focused on connected games, online games, virtual worlds, and social networking game play and four two-day summits including the Game Writers, Game Audio, iPhone Games and Independent Games Summits. The event takes place at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas September 15-18, 2009. Early registration discounts for the event will end on August 13.

Using empirical research and hard-won insight, John Smedley's keynote will inform attendees about the challenges and lessons learned when creating a full-blown MMO for younger audiences. The keynote will speak to the challenges and boundless opportunity of connected games and will also describe how to re-educate development teams to move away from stagnant MMO designs towards mass market success.

“There’s no better speaker than John Smedley to discuss redefining MMO gameplay and the expanding MMO audience,” says Izora de Lillard, event director at Think Services Game Group.“The success of the Free Realms is a testament to the evolving nature of the connected gaming space and the growing player base that is drawn to this new iteration of the MMO. It isn’t just teens or parents playing games, it is teens and parents now playing together.”

As President of Sony Online Entertainment, John Smedley oversees the company’s overall vision and growth. He has more than a decade of experience in the interactive entertainment industry, including positions with ATG, Knight Technologies and five years with SOE as Director of Development. While at SOE, Smedley was instrumental in the creation and development of the original, groundbreaking EverQuest. Under Smedley’s leadership, SOE has grown from a small developer with a single online PC game to an industry leader which has had millions of subscribers and multiple titles published on PC, PlayStation, PSP, wireless and handheld platforms.

Learn more about the complete listing of speakers and sessions for GDC Austin 2009 at www.GDCAustin.com.

About the Think Services Game Group

A core provider of essential information to the professional game industry, the Think Services Game Group offers market-defining content, and drives community through its award winning lineup of print, online, event and research products and services. These include Game Developer Magazine, Game Developer Research, the Webby Award-winning Gamasutra.com, GameCareerGuide.com, WorldsInMotion.biz, GameSetWatch.com, GamesOnDeck.com, SeriousGamesSource.com, the Game Developers Conference®, the Game Developers Conference® Austin, the Game Developers Conference® Europe, the Game Developers Conference® China, GDC Mobile, the Game Career Seminars, the Independent Games Festival and Summit, and the Game Developers Choice Awards. To learn more, visit www.tsgamegroup.com.

About Think Services, a division of United Business Media

Think Services connects specialized communities worldwide using educational events, consulting, training, certification, membership, and innovative media. Providing comprehensive opportunities for people to learn from, network with, and inspire each other, Think Services builds strong brands and works within communities to foster a unique affinity with its products and services. The division's flagship products include the Game Developers Conference, the Webby Award-winning Gamasutra.com, Game Developer magazine, the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), and HDI. Think Services is a subsidiary of United Business Media, a global media and marketing services company with amarket capitalization of more than $1.6 billion. To learn more, visit www.think-services.com.

About Sony Online Entertainment

Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) is a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games, with hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the globe. SOE creates, develops and provides compelling entertainment for the personal computer, online, game console and wireless markets. Known for its blockbuster franchises and hit titles including EverQuest®, EverQuest® II, Champions of Norrath®, Untold Legends™, and PlanetSide®, as well as for developing Star Wars Galaxies™, SOE continues to redefine the business of online gaming and the creation of active player communities while introducing new genres on various entertainment platforms. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, with additional development studios in Austin, TX; Seattle, WA; Denver, CO; Tucson, AZ and Taiwan, SOE has an array of cutting-edge games in development.

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