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GDC: Five Android-Related Events You Should Know About

GDC: Five Android-Related Events You Should Know About

The Game Developers Conference returns to San Francisco’s Moscone Center from March 25 until March 29. Every year, the industry event features hundreds of lectures and panels focusing on the art and business of creating video games. While the conference features a lot of sessions about console and PC game development, there are quite a few mobile-related events, too. Here’s a quick look at some things at GDC 2013 that should be of interest to Android users.

OUYA Retail Console Launch
When is it: Thursday, March 28
Why you should care: While OUYA developer kits shipped last December to folks around the world looking to make games for the ambitious, open-source Android gaming console, the first retail versions of the OUYA will become available on March 28 for those who backed it on Kickstarter. The company is also holding an invite-only GDC event celebrating the OUYA’s retail launch, which will serve as a proper unveiling for the anticipated Android platform. Hopefully, they will share some of the event’s activities online for those who didn’t back the project on Kickstarter and have to wait until its full retail release in June.

GameStick First Hands-On
When is it: Monday, March 25 - Friday, March 28
The OUYA isn’t the only Android-based gaming platform set to make an appearance at GDC 2013. PlayJam is also formally unveiling their thumbstick-sized GameStick console that fits inside of its own game pad (see pic above). At the show, the GameStick team will provide a first look at the console’s user interface, final controller design as well as 30 games that will account for only a fraction of its full launch lineup. Just like the OUYA, there’s a lot of buzz around PlayJam's device, which netted over six times its initial Kickstarter goal with a total of $647 thousand in online donations.

PlayStation Indie Arcade
When is it: Monday, March 25
Why you should care: Sony is kicking off GDC week with a media event showcasing a variety of independent games in development for PlayStation-branded platforms like the PS3 and Vita as well as mobile games available for PlayStation-certified Android devices. While PlayStation is known for its high-profile, first-party console franchises, it has certainly ushered in some of great indie games, too -- a number of which will be headed to Android.

The Future of Mobile Gaming
When is it: Thursday, March 28
Why you should care: The mobile gaming industry is growing at a tremendous rate, with smart devices geared towards gamers gobbling up more of the mobile market share. During Thursday's panel, a variety of industry leaders in the mobile space -- including Gameloft, Glu Mobile, Unity and PlayJam -- will provide insight on the current mobile gaming landscape, the latest trends that have emerged and where they see our industry headed in the years to come.

Things Android Game Developers Should Know
When is it: Thursday, March 28
Why you should care: Later this week, Google’s developer advocate Dan Galpin and developer programs engineer Bruno Olivera will be hosting a panel entirely dedicated to developing Android games. A wide range of topics will be covered including tips on how to take advantage of new in-app billing features on Google Play, combating piracy and ensuring that your Android games adhere to official app quality guidelines.

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