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Friday, September 14th at 3pm PDT (6pm EDT): Find out what the next step in gaming might entail! Industry experts discuss the past, present and future evolution of gaming. Moderating the 8th meeting of the Xfire Debate Club will be Dean Takahashi, joined by special guests Henry Lowood, Michael Zenke, Chris Taylor, Paul Levy, Vladimir Cole, Max McGuire and Charlie Cleveland.

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Debate Club

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Read the Transcripts!

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Special Guests

Moderator: Dean Takahashi

Dean Takahashi is a journalist working for the San Jose Mercury News as a technology commentator and consumer electronics reviewer. He has written several books, including Opening the Xbox: Inside Microsoft's Plan to Unleash an Entertainment Revolution and The Xbox 360 uncloaked: The Real Story Behind Microsoft's Next-Generation Video Game Console.

More info:

Henry Lowood

Henry is curator for History of Science & Technology Collections at Stanford University and lecturer in the Science and Technology Studies Program, Film & Media Studies, and the IHUM Program. He has written widely in the history of science and technology and historical game studies, and directs "How They Got Game: The History and Culture of Interactive Simulations and Videogames," a research project sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Laboratory where he is co-director.

More info:

Michael Zenke

Michael Zenke is the editor for the Slashdot Games subsite, as well as a mainpage editor for the community. He does occasional freelance work as well, and his efforts have appeared on sites such as GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, and The Escapist. Weekly, he's most proud of his work on the "Massive Update" column at 1up and his writing at his personal blog,

More info:

Chris Taylor

For the past 18 years, Chris Taylor has been one of the game industry's most imaginative and dynamic visionaries. The creator of the first true next-generation RTS game, Total Annihilation, Taylor enjoys an industry-wide reputation as an innovator who is able to push both technology and gameplay to their limits. Taylor founded Gas Powered Games in 1998, where he currently serves as the CEO. To date, GPG has released Dungeon Siege, Dungeon Siege II, Dungeon Siege II: Broken World and oversaw the development of Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony for the PSP. The company's newest release is the highly anticipated RTS game, Supreme Commander.

More info:

Paul Levy

For the past eight years, Paul Levy has worked in a variety of roles in the games industry. Prior to joining Gas Powered Games, Paul worked at Microsoft Game Studios on family-oriented titles for the original Xbox and PC, including Fusion Frenzy and Zoo Tycoon. He has also worked on family entertainment software at Sesame Workshop, where he produced online games for children. Beyond family-oriented games, Paul worked at Zipper Interactive on the SOCOM series and is now the PR/Marketing Manager at GPG, where he drives all the marketing efforts for GPG's AAA titles. He also spends his evenings performing improvisational comedy at Improv theatres around the globe.

More info:

Jasmin Kassner

Jasmin Kassner got her first gaming job and at the SEK GmbH, working first on the Level Editor, then on the UI and finally the AI started. Shortly, she was made AI Lead Coder, and being pretty good at it and together with all her managerial experience was able to lead the whole AI team, never missing one Milestone. After ParaWorld was released, the firm was closed. Together with 2 of the old owners (Caos & Crux) and their Engine Lead Coder (CHP) she decided to found their new current studio As she decided against developing another full price PC title, but ventured into the world of browser based MMO’s. Their first BMMO is called Parsec and is a classic game with new innovate UI and gameplay. Now they are working on XCurse(wt). This is going to be a real-time 3D action rpg. They are very exited about this, as the technique we are using allows them to do true 3D in a browser. Times are looking good for Browsergames.

More info:

Vladimir Cole

Vladimir Cole is a Business Development Manager at Microsoft's Xbox division where he works on strategy and business development projects that generally involve Microsoft's casual games platforms including MSN Games, Windows Live Messenger, and Xbox Live Arcade. He joined Microsoft in April after obtaining his MBA from The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. While at Wharton, Vlad managed and wrote for the Joystiq network of blogs (,, WoWInsider,, etc), a sometimes 40-hour-per-week job that regretfully cut into his weekly MBA-required consumption of beer. Prior to Wharton, Vlad managed ecommerce and media projects for companies including ESPN, The Economist Group and Scholastic. He wrote about the bond market for Bloomberg News in his first job out of college (BA, English Literature from Yale) because he thoughts that what English Majors do. In his spare time, Vlad obsessively checks Facebook, bikes 25 miles home from work on nice days, plays with his two talented Tonkinese cats, reads some 500 RSS feed news items per day and plays a Shadow Priest in World of Warcraft.

More info:   (Vlad's personal site)

Charlie Cleveland

Charlie is a video game designer and programmer and has been working on his own PC games and professionally for other companies for the past ten years. His most recent game is Natural Selection, an online action/strategy game set in a sci-fi universe. Charlie has recently founded Unknown Worlds Entertainment in downtown San Francisco, where he hopes to continue making games in the NS universe. His long-term goal is simple: to unite, excite and enlighten the world through play.In his spare time, Charlie enjoys cooking, working out and enjoying the beauty found everywhere in San Francisco.

More info:

Max McGuire

Max is the Technical Director and founding partner at Unknown Worlds Entertainment in San Francisco. Previously, he was the first employee and Lead Engine Programmer at Iron Lore Entertainment, where he developed the tech and tools behind Titan Quest and Titan Quest: Immortal Throne. Now he is creating the dynamic infestation, tools and most everything else needed for Natural Selection 2. When not building next-gen prototypes on weekend benders, he cooks, juggles 6.5 clubs and enjoys local rock bands.

More info:

Xfire Debate Club Transcript Archive

Mobile Gaming
(Apr. 28th, 2009)

Future of COD
(Mar. 18th, 2009)

F2P vs. P2P MMOs
(Feb. 24th, 2009)

Independent Games
(Jan. 25th, 2008)

Gamers' Holiday
(Dec. 20th, 2007)

Best of Gaming 2007
(Dec. 5th, 2007)

Women in Gaming
(Oct. 25th, 2007)

The Future of Gaming
(Sept. 14th, 2007)

In-Game Economies
(Aug. 21st, 2007)

WoW: The Character Classes
(June 19th, 2007)

The Console War
(June 7th, 2007)

Censorship in Games
(Apr. 26th, 2007)

WoW: Life after Level 70
(Apr. 11th, 2007)

The Future of Counter-Strike
(Feb. 28th, 2007)

WoW: The Burning Crusade
(Jan. 31st, 2007)