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Internet to impact the shape of games - Bennallack

Develop Conference advisory board chair explains event's new Evolve concept

The internet is set to have a significant impact on the shape of games - and the games industry - with more and more titles featuring things like user-generated or downloadable content, integration with social networks and cross-title avatars.

That's the view of Develop Conference advisory board chair, Owain Bennallack, who told GamesIndustry.biz that this year's event will feature a new section called Evolve, created solely to look at those topics.

"It's something that really excites me... which is this unbelievable integration of games and games technology and the internet," he explained, adding that the rest of the advisory board was also keen to see these issues explored.

"They all, to a man virtually, were excited about the user-generated content, the integration with social networks, downloadable content whether via platform channels or democratised internet solutions, identities that exist beyond a single avatar... literally anything in the internet space that's linked to games - these are huge trends that are really changing games, and I don't think really that people, even though they're doing their own part of it, have really fully grasped how different games can knit into this wider 'game-o-sphere,' for want of a better expression.

"People can't live in their own bubbles any more, they absolutely have to be specialists, more and more. People who don't try and get their heads around that now, who don't think about the impact that Google will have on games... you might not think it would have any impact, but that's to fundamentally misunderstand what happens when you 'internet-up-ise' an industry.

"Look at how music has changed, firstly as the internet has sort of been bolted on, and then been turbo-charged through its veins. It's completely changed the industry. Things that seemed quite superficial become quite fundamental - if you imagine that everything in a game has an internet presence, all the elements, what you do, a sort of nodal presence that means you can take them and mash them up into other game spaces... it's incredibly exciting stuff."

This year's Develop will take place from July 14-16 in Brighton. The full interview with Owain Bennallack is available now.

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Phil Elliott

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