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

    Smedley to Discuss the Success and Lessons Learned from hit free-to-play
    MMO, Free Realms(TM)

    SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 6 /CNW/ -- 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(TM).  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

    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,,,,,, 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

    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, 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 a market capitalization of more than $1.6
billion.   To learn more, visit

    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(TM), and PlanetSide , as well as for
developing Star Wars Galaxies(TM), 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.

    Contact:    Brian Rubin / Teresa Tyndorf
                fortyseven communications
                212.391.4707 / 323.658.1200

                Ahmad White
                Think Services Game Group


For further information:

For further information: Brian Rubin, +1-212-391-4707,, or Teresa Tyndorf, +1-323-658-1200,, both of fortyseven communications for Think Services
Game Group; or Ahmad White of Think Services Game Group, +1-415-947-6207, Web Site:              

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