screenBurn01.jpg The annual South by Southwest Festival, held in Austin, Texas, features stellar music, film, and interactive tracks. This year the Interactive component of the fest will play host to the first annual ScreenBurn Beta Festival, intended to showcase the future of the electronic gaming industry. ScreenBurn will take place March 11, during the Interactive track's March 10-14 span.

The addition of ScreenBurn suggests the greater South by Southwest festival has embraced gaming as a premier interactive form. Last year, the festival's panels included a look at virtual-world journalism, the "terrible business model" of Rooster Teeth's Red vs. Blue, and the development of The Behemoth's Alien Hominid.

This year, the South by Southwest Interactive track features panels on virtual-world entrepreneurs and "The Secret Sex Lives Of Video Games." [Disclosure: I'm moderating the sex/games panel this year but am not affiliated with SXSW.]