J.J. Abrams to give D.I.C.E. keynote

Director to discuss state of the videogame industry with Gabe Newell

Just as J.J. Abrams’ dancecard is filling up with new movies and TV shows to direct and produce, he has also agreed to give the keynote address at the D.I.C.E. Summit with videogame vet Gabe Newell, behind “Half-Life,” “Portal” and “Counter-Strike.”

Abrams will discuss the state of the videogame industry with Newell, who co-founded and serves as the president of gamemaker Valve, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, during the Feb. 6 session, “Storytelling Across Platforms: Who Benefits Most, the Audience or the Player?”

D.I.C.E., which stands for Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain, will host its annual awards show honoring the best in videogames on Feb. 7. The summit and kudocast are produced by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

“From TV to film and now award-winning mobile apps, there’s no question that J.J. has his finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry, and we’re thrilled to welcome him and our 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, Gabe Newell, to the D.I.C.E. stage,” said Martin Rae, president, Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. “J.J. thoughtfully weaves together suspense, action, emotion and fun into every one of his projects — elements every game developer aspires to capture as well.”

In addition to his films and TV shows, which he produces through the Bad Robot shingle, one of Abrams’ latest ventures is Bad Robot Interactive, behind the “Super 8” and “Action Movie FX” apps. Apple recently named “Action Movie FX” as the iPhone App of the Year.

Newell also will give the Thursday conference keynote, entitled “A View on Next Steps,” focused on where the industry is his heading, the advances Valve is making with Steam and Big Picture to prepare for that future.

The videogame creator will be honored at the 16th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards on Feb. 7 as the 2013 AIAS Hall of Fame inductee. Variety is co-producing the event, which Machinima will stream live on its site.

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