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GDC 2012's Advocacy Track debuts White House, 'women in games' lectures

Today, Game Developers Conference 2012 organizers are highlighting the show's new Advocacy Track, which will cover key issues facing the game industry, spanning White House-led initiatives to gender equality and beyond.

This special mini-track is new to the conference this year, and aims to improve the game industry by shedding light on pertinent social or cultural issues in the game biz that sometimes don't get sufficient attention.

The sessions within this track will are open to All Access and Main Conference pass holders. Those interested in checking out these sessions can register for a pass on the official GDC website (online registration ends next Wednesday, February 29).

Here are just a few of the Advocacy Track's most notable sessions:

- In "Games to Address National Challenges," Constance Steinkuehler Squire, a senior policy analyst for the U.S. President's White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, will detail how the Obama administration hopes to use video games to improve learning, physical health, mental well-being, and more.

Throughout the session, she will explore the government's interest in games, review trends in game-related government investments, detail what game R&D looks like on the Federal level, possible partnerships in this sector, and future trends for the medium.

- In a talk addressing gender equality, Mare Sheppard of the indie game studio Metanet Software (N+) will explain why the game industry needs to view itself as a single community, rather than a segmented population with "others" and rigidly defined social structures.

Her intentionally provocatively-titled talk, "Why I Hate Women in Games Initiatives," will specifically look at women in the game industry, noting that video game professionals need to embrace diversity in order to remain fresh, creative and adaptive. She will also consider what the industry needs to do to find a proper solution to this problem.

- In another important area, the Advocacy track will feature a networking meeting session addressing how governments can better support the game business. "Government Support of the Game Industry," hosted by Per Stromback of Spelplan, the Association of Swedish Game Developers, will allow attendees to learn more about how governments can address issues such as financing, censorship, incentive programs, and more. In addition, the session will provide plenty of time for discussion and networking.

In addition to the above sessions, the Advocacy track will also host meetings for a number of notable IGDA special interest groups. Among these sessions are talks addressing anti-censorship and social issues, the LGBT community in the industry, initiatives working toward game preservation, and the importance of improving game accessibility.

For more information on these or any other sessions at GDC 2012, please check out the event's official Schedule Builder, which shows the near-final line-up for the show so far.

Also be sure to keep an eye on the official GDC news blog, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS. GDC 2012 will take place March 5 through March 9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.


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