Monday 16th July/...The phenomenal rise of virtual societies built around interactive events such as Second Life and games like EVE Online come under scrutiny at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival - the world's only true cultural games event. Linden Labs' Jim Purbrick will explore some of the more unlikely aspects of running a massively multiplayer online community.
Now in its fifth year, the Edinburgh Interactive Festival, which takes place between Sunday 12th August and Tuesday 14th August, is 'Expanding the Creative Culture of Games'. Newly positioned to reflect video gaming's rise in popularity and influence, helping the festival celebrate the best of video gaming here and oversees will be some of the most influential names across the board in entertainment.
Linden Labs' Second Life slipped out onto the Internet with little fanfare and yet its free-form style immediately found armies of creative fans. Today it boasts almost a million users - and some of the biggest brands and companies in the commercial world vie for a digital presence. The stories behind the cyber-scenes are as bewildering as they are fascinating.
In fact, Second Life made one of its earliest appearances at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival in 2004. Now, three years on, Purbrick will explore the intricacies of developing for Second Life in the festival's aptly titled 'Developing for Second Life' strand, on Tuesday 14th August at 2.45pm. Purbrick will also examine the booming industry that has unexpectedly sprung up around Second Life.
EVE Online also has legions of followers and developer CCP's Hilmar Petersson is also appearing at the festival. He will front 'Exploring EVE Online' at 11.45am on Monday 13th August and also contribute to the 'Virtual Societies' discussion at 12.10pm on Tuesday 14th August.
CCP recently announced a major marketing push in a bid to expand EVE Online's reach beyond hardcore gamers. It currently has around 200,000 subscribers but hopes to increase demand by at least a third by the end of the year. Unlike the shared model preferred by other Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) operators, EVE Online is played on a single server.
Elsewhere, closer links to the Dare to be Digital computer games design competition will allow visitors to the festival to view some of the innovative ideas for this year's contest. The three winning teams from this year's programme, organised by the University of Abertay Dundee, will be short-listed for a new 'Ones to Watch' Bafta Award, presented at the annual Video Games Awards ceremony in London in October.
Two days of conferences, aimed primarily at the games industry and the press, run in tandem with a screening programme offering the public sneak previews of some of the hottest games and developments in the pipeline. Last year the screenings proved phenomenally successful, thanks in part to assorted teasers promoted through GameStation's 25 Scottish stores.
The conference is staged at the Royal College of Physicians, in Queen Street, Edinburgh. The screening programme, which is open to the public, will show trailers and sneak previews of key gaming works in progress.
For full details of the festival programme and events, along with details about registration and how to book, visit the Edinburgh Interactive Festival website at www.edinburghinteractivefestival.co.uk
For further information, please contact:
Tel: 01462 456780
Fax: 01462 456781
The Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival EIEF) is managed by a committee drawn from all areas of the industry, including publishers, developers and the two industry trade bodies; The Independent Game Developers Association (TIGA) www.tiga.org and the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) www.elspa.com.