It was the best of times, it was the worst of times at this year's Game Developers Conference, held March 23-27 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. The annual confab, which brought together the electronic entertainment industry's most celebrated minds, pointed clearly to interactive entertainment's increasingly divergent future. Grab your controller and hang on tight. Even we were surprised at how rapidly the industry is undergoing an extreme makeover.
Faced with rising costs and growing public indifference to set-top consoles like the PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360, one thing is obvious. Traditional game publishers, who generally stayed under the radar at the conference, have a tough battle ahead. But to judge from the exuberant attendees, who jockeyed to watch leading designers tackle controversial topics including human sexuality and games' role in personal and social change, good news was plentiful as well. For all intents and purposes, this is a medium that's undergoing a renaissance on virtually every other front.