Psssst. Here’s a secret. The second annual Unlock conference is taking place this month in La Jolla, Calif., aiming to draw the elite executives of the video game industry. The two-day event is hosted by the leaders of IGN and Facebook’s game business.
Sean Ryan, the director of game partnerships at Facebook, told GamesBeat that the event was inspired by other close-knit Internet conferences, such as a real-money gambling event dubbed “The Power of 50″ in England. Other similar events include The Lobby, FOO Camp, and Kinnernet. It will use an “unconference” format with roundtable discussions and small group talks. There are no keynote speakers, no speeches, no presentations, and no giant crowds. It will focus on the future of the game business, with competition spanning so many sectors that used to be separate — like social, mobile, real-money gambling, online, and consoles, Ryan said.
“We find people are more engaged when they gather in a small group session,” Ryan said. “We’re focused on the quality of the attendees. What people like is the variety of attendees across all of gaming.”
The second event will take place April 17-19 at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, a resort in La Jolla, Calif., near the Torrey Pines golf course. The invite list will be short at 65 to 70 people, and the participants will pay a fee of $1,795. The invite-only event will draw both established leaders and up-and-comers.
The themes will be drawn from the participants, and discussions will be led by volunteer moderators from among the participants themselves. In that sense, it’s not unlike our recent VentureBeat Mobile Summit.
Sadly for journalists, the event will be off the record. The conversations are likely to focus on issues such as how to do free-to-play games on consoles.
“We’ll make it as interactive as possible,” Ryan said. “The dialogue we get in one-on-ones or small groups is hard to do in an event with a lot of people.”
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