Christopher Klaus on the Future of Video Games

Galil and KlausZvi Galil, the new John P. Imlay Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech, was on hand to introduce College of Computing Advisory Board member and Kaneva founder Chris Klaus at a lecture sponsored by the Computing Alumni Organization, July 15, 2010, in the Klaus Building.

Klaus’ lecture, titled “The Future of Video Games and Their Growth in Georgia,” touched on several aspects of modern gaming and media. He talked about trends in gaming and digital entertainment, such as the emerging “freemium” gaming model, in which users can initially play for free, with game and player upgrades available as a premium service. Klaus also discussed a move from the traditional “one to many” model of entertainment broadcasting to something more like “many to many.”

“Ultimately I think this model is more human,” he said. “In the past, yelling at your TV could only take you so far. Now you can go online and interact with other fans of shows like ‘Lost’ or ‘CSI.’”

Kaneva is Klaus' entry into the 3D virtual gaming world, allowing users to meet, interact and even help create the game itself. Creating "art pieces" or "art assets" is an expensive component of game design, and Kaneva offsets this cost by allowing the users themselves to create them. Kaneva now has close to a million art assets, he said.

Galil, just two weeks into his tenure as College of Computing dean, said he was thrilled to be able to speak to the group of more than 100 alumni and students so soon into his new job.

“This will be the first of many [meetings with alumni] because if the College of Computing is going to get to where we all believe it should be—that is, among the Top 5 computing programs in the country—we will need you. We will need our alumni,” Galil said. “You are not just former students; you are our partners.”

The new dean went on to say that gaming, as an industry, is of critical importance to the College because it draws upon so many areas of computing research, from graphics and user interaction to software engineering, artificial intelligence to networks.

“Georgia Tech is well positioned not only to capitalize on the explosive growth of the video game industry,” he said, “but to shape that growth through our research—and through our graduates.”

In addition to sharing his thoughts on gaming trends, Klaus also advised any budding designers or entrepreneurs in the crowd about different types of investors to support startups, as well as key metrics for tracking performance that will impress and attract such investors. Finally, he talked specifically about reasons Georgia is becoming a more attractive business environment for digital startups, such as tax incentives offered by the state, as well as a wealth of local talent—such as many of the students and professionals sitting in the room.

To see photos of the event, visit the College of Computing photostream on Flickr. For more information about the Computing Alumni Organization, visit the group’s website.