The largest contents conference in Korea, ICON2011 will be held for two days from November 8 at the Busan BEXCO. In its fifth year, ICON2011 this year is different from the last as it will start off before the opening ceremony of G-Star.
Mark Kern, creator of a popular global game WOW, Marco Revelant, 3D artist who produced Avatar, and Minh Le, the father of Counter Strike, have been invited to speak, drawing much interest from many fans.
We asked ICON organizers to provide a short introduction to the special lectures and answers to a few questions about the convention.
Q. What kind of event is ICON? Could you also briefly explain what its objectives are?
ICON is a forum for experts worldwide to gather and exchange information on how to acquire expertise and high technology for greater global competitiveness of the game industry including various culture contents. We are currently preparing for the fifth conference this year as part of efforts to create a network of content developers in the rapidly changing the contents industry, since the first conference in 2007.
90 percent of the game and contents industry is concentrated in the metropolitan areas, restricting contents businesses and new developers from the southeastern region from accessing new information and sharing technology.
ICON was created for this reason. ICON is a forum to share new technologies and expertise for both domestic and international ICON contents, and is an international conference to develop new contents and vitalize regional businesses in order to promote culture contents development throughout Korea.
Q. Until last year, it was held together with G-Star, a game exhibition. But this year,youwill start ahead of G-Star. Is there a special reason for this?
The 1st conference in 2007 and the 2nd conference in 2008 wereheld independently before we hosted G-Star for two years in 2009 and 2010.
For the two years we co-hosted the conference with G-Star, we benefitted from the advantages of enhanced publicity before the event and the drawing of a large number of visitors. But once on-site, most concentrated only on G-Star and the conference was perceived more as a special event. So given these different aspects, we decided to start the conference earlier this year.
In addition, the size of G-Star's exhibition is expected to grow by 20 percent this year, making it impossible to hold it together with the conference given the limitations in infrastructure, lodging and booth space in theBEXCO convention hall, where the conference will be held.
However, given that the game festival will continue for a week, we expect enhanced value-added for Busan's tourism industry or the regional game industry.
Q. What is the main theme of ICON2011 this year?
The main there of ICON has always been the same. It is 'sharing information.' This year's ICON2011 has four big themes. Of these, people related to the industry are already excited at the prospect of the 'game' track, for which we have prepared special sessions to share issues from the metropolitan areas we have collected from excellent sessions of NDC2011 (Nexon Developers Conference), in collaboration of Nexon, held successfully last May in Seoul, with southeastern developers.
This year's conference will be held under the slogan of 'Open Knowledge Share Information' in light of the major theme of "sharing information."
(Photocaption: ICON2011 Keynote speaker, WOW Head-developer Mark Kern)
Q. There will be 40 different sessions of 4 different tracks this year, that is, games, new generation, 3D images, academy. As the host, which do you expect to be the most popular?
They are all very popular fields. Each year, keynote speakers have always been very famous people, creating a buzz. This year, the head-developer of WOW, Diablo2, and Starcraft producer CEO Mark Kern from Red 5 Studios and Marco Revelant, CEO of WETA Digital, who created digital characters for 'Apes will Rise' or the 'Lord of the Rings' will give the keynote speeches.
People have also expressed much interest in the special session by Minh Le, Vice President of Pix Korea and also the creator of 'Counter Strike.'
Again, there is also much interest in the excellent sessions from NDC11 which were not previously accessible to developers from the Busan region. In particular, 'Effective team management' by Jong Cheon Park from Blizzard Entertainment, and a session on server division of online games provided with a case study on "MABINOGI: HEROES'' by EunSeok Yi from Nexon are also very popular.
In addition to the game field, the next generation sessions by JiWoong Park from Stone Bridge Capital, presenting 'Social and Mobile Investment Trends' and Joong Rang Choi from Dreamworks, presenting 'What are character effects?" are also expected to be popular topics.
Q. What have you achieved through ICON so far? Can you explain some of your plans and the direction you will take in order to develop ICON into a more international event?
ICON is in its fifth year this year and has played an important role as a driving force behind Busan's contents industry. The largest number of people participated last year and provided a forum for sharing information and technology of next generation games such as SNG, and functional games, as well as a networking opportunity for the latest technology and information in the Busan region.
ICON has as its mid-term plan to become the largest contents conference in Korea.
Busan has become a reputable game city. We and Busan city have therefore concentrated on vitalizing the contents business and hosted companies from outside the region. In line with Busan's situation, we have many plans to develop the conference further. We will continue to connect the conference with similar events in the metropolitan region with working-level practitioners of the game industry participating in the conference in order to improve the quality of visitors. We also have plans to hold contests to further develop the conference.
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