Mon 3 Sep 2012
I’ve been to Tokyo three times prior, and so was super excited to be heading back to Japan for my fourth time and visiting somewhere other than Tokyo. The CEDEC developer oriented conference was hosted in neighboring Yokohama (which, in the end just felt like another part of Tokyo).
Was great to reconnect with old friends from the Japanese game development community, and in such a vibrant context as CEDEC (with nearly 5000 attendees). Sadly, my hopes for getting the inside scoop on Eastern evolutions was nixed due to the fact that none of the sessions were being translated. Boo. So, instead, mainly gossiped in the hallways and/or went to the few sessions from Westerners.
While that made it hard to really tune into the general vibe, it was easy to see the tension between the big-budget AAA console side of the business versus the mobile/social side (especially with all the Gree and DeNA sponsorship action). Actually, felt like similar tensions at GDC a few years back, when the whole Western industry was just waking up to the notion of “monetization”.
The other piece that felt missing was any sense of an indie scene. Aside from the early success of Cave Story, the notion of being indie (like you see in pockets all over the Western world) hasn’t taken hold. Or, at least not visibly so at an event like CEDEC, like you would see at GDC, etc.
Due to a tight schedule, I didn’t have any time to squeeze in extra tourist action (like the time I ran off to the Studio Ghibli museum :) Still lots of good sushi and sake was consumed.
View from hotel in Yokohama. That’s actually Tokyo off in the distance.
Masahiro Sakurai provides the opening keynote, discussing his history as a game creator (including this Kirby original).
Mickael Gilabert (Ubisoft) delves into global illumination techniques from Far Cry 3.
Square Enix team deconstructs their “Agni’s Philosophy” real-time tech demo. Wow.
Yummy conveyor belt sushi with Samuel Ranta-Eskola (Hansoft) and Mickael Gilabert (Ubisoft).
…they charge by the plate. Shinier ones are more expensive. This is my stack.
Giant ferris wheel clock.
Tim Sweeney (Epic Games) on what excites him about the future of games.
More sushi. So love the strip of eel in the center and the half-crab soup.
Kiyoshi Shin delivers his poster presentation, recapping Western market trends.
Samuel Ranta-Eskola (Hansoft) struggling with the jetlag during a session.
Not only do they make Engrish mistakes, but there was a surprising number of French mistakes around as well.
View from hotel in Shibuya.
Waitress preparing shabu-shabu for Kim Daniel Arthur (Playfish), Matt Smith (PopCap) and JJ Lew (Playfish).
Jazz bar on the 55th floor of the Park Hyatt. Yes, the same one from Lost in Translation.
View from Park Hyatt jazz bar. It was like this for as far as the eye could see, 360 degrees!
A toast from Kim Daniel Arthur (Playfish) at the Park Hyatt jazz bar.
Old arcade machines in the lobby of the Bandai Namco head offices.
Merchandize from the “mushroom garden” game took up more space than Hello Kitty at KiddyLand!
Oh man, such good sushi in Ebisu. They serve you one piece at a time.
Cool little toothpick box.
Interesting wall texturing at post-sushi lounge.
We were sipping drinks on the rooftop lounge, looked over and noticed an interesting office building right next door…