Main conference's opening talk from John Schappert will "set the stage" for 2008's "revolutionary changes in game development"

Xbox Live boss signed for GDC08 keynote

Microsoft’s John Schappert, the corporate vice president of Xbox Live, has been confirmed as the Wednesday keynote speaker at February’s Game Developer Conference.

Called ‘A Future Wide Open: Unleashing the Creative Community’, the talk will set the stage "for revolutionary changes in game development in 2008". It marks Microsoft’s first return to the GDC keynote stage since 2005.

Schappert’s talk promises to look further at how the 360 has ‘democratised game development’ and "set the strategy for Xbox 360 this upcoming year, revealing top developers’ plans for the platform in 2008". Schappert will also "discuss how the increasing role of online gaming will continue to shape gameplay and game distribution this year".

Jamil Moledina, executive director of the Game Developers Conference, commented: "The Game Developers Conference is the premiere stage for industry leaders to present their strategies for advancing the state of the art of games.

"Given John’s experience and the Microsoft game development team behind him, we are confident that our attendees will not want to miss this glimpse into the future of how games will be made."

Schappert oversees 360, Games for Windows, XNA development tools, MSN Games and Windows Live Messenger and its games. He founded Tiburon Entertainment (latterly EA Tiburon) and was previously EVP of Electronic Arts where he oversaw the development of game franchises like Madden, Need for Speed, FIFA, SSX and Fight Night. He joined Microsoft in August 2007.

His talk takes place on the morning of Wednesday, February 20th. Ray Kurzweil was announced as the Thursday keynote speaker two weeks ago.

The Game Developer Conference runs from February 18th to the 22nd in San Francisco. For more info, head to the official site.

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