GamesBeat

Introducing GamesBeat 2009, a conference about the future of the video game business

[Update: See our new GamesBeat 2009 Games Conference site here.]

We’re pleased to announce that VentureBeat will hold its first annual games conference, called GamesBeat 2009, on March 24, 2009.

We’ve consulted with the top players in the games industry as we built our vision for the conference. They’ve told us there are few, if any, places where business leaders and entrepreneurs can discuss gaming’s biggest issues in an intimate setting with high-level networking. They’re craving insight into how the most interesting new technologies and business models will impact their businesses. These are some of the voids we’re aiming to fill with GamesBeat 2009. (Registration form here). The timing coincides with the Game Developers Conference (March 23 to 27, 2009), an event which we view as complementary.

Here’s the context: It’s a time of explosive growth for the video game industry, but it now faces a crossroads. Will games become such an immersive experience that they emerge as the pinnacle of entertainment? And while developers seek to realize this goal, how will the business of their games fare? The signs are promising: As more people start playing games, advertisers are increasingly taking note. Meanwhile, Hollywood, application makers and retailers of all sorts are likely to use games and gaming principles to hook users with addictive content, or to engage them in ways that will lead to more transactions.

All the while, traditional gaming business models are under attack. Users are shifting toward new platforms like Facebook and the internet to play social and casual games, and it’s not clear the gaming leaders of past generations will stay on top. The internet and the recession are driving big companies to rethink their focus on hardcore games, and as the costs of producing console games spiral out of control, independent developers feel the squeeze.

The Nintendo Wii, the iPhone and the online game World of Warcraft now dominate the industry’s mindshare, but big questions remain: Can upstarts with free games, virtual goods, and episodic content further undermine the establishment? Does the Wii’s popularity represent the return to simplicity and cartoon-like entertainment, or are we on our way to touch-based user interfaces that immerse us in a compelling virtual reality? And is the web the path to more efficient economics, or will it introduce a flood of free titles that decimate everyone’s profits?

Several panel sessions will focus on the convergence of technology and business. On the one hand, we’ll take a look at what games will look like as far as 2015 and address new interface experiences (environmental controls and gestures), the role of 3D in the future (including animation, what the NBA is doing with 3-D, etc), immersive gaming (including curved displays), and what happens to the gaming experience when you take the Wii and add Halo (videoconferencing technology) and virtual reality. On the other, we’ll look at the business models and platforms that are evolving to give business leaders insight into what models are working best and why.

VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi has been covering the industry closer than anyone for the last decade. We’re confident that those of you wanting to know what the future holds for games — whether you’re interested in console, internet or mobile games — will want to save that date and get a ticket right away.

GamesBeat 2009 targets senior executives and entrepreneurs, and we may not be able to accommodate everyone.

We’ll release full details, including pricing soon.

Other key details:
Date: March 24, 2009, Tuesday, all-day event. Note: the Game Developers Conference is in SF between March 23-27 2009 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Venue: Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco.

Draft Panel Topics

  • What innovations will help gaming reach billions of users over the next five years?
  • What platforms matter? From Facebook to World of Warcraft, to the iPhone
  • Does Hollywood get games?
  • What is the next frontier for social games?
  • What are the most lucrative ways that game design can be used by non-game companies?

Our advisory board includes:

  • Jawad Ansari and Shiraz Akmal, managing directors at GCube Ventures
  • Gus Tai, general partner at Trinity Ventures
  • Mitch Lasky, general partner at Benchmark Capital
  • Bing Gordon, partner at Kleiner Perkins and former chief creative officer at Electronic Arts
  • Jamil Moledina, former director of the Game Developers Conference and currently a director at EA Partners
  • Bernie Stolar, former chairman of Adscape, and a former chief at the U.S. game divisions of Sony and Sega.
  • Jay Eum, a managing director at Translink Capital
  • Perrin Kaplan, former head of marketing at Nintendo of America and head of Zebra Partners
  • Dan Vivoli, senior vice president of marketing at Nvidia
  • Ed Fries, former head of Microsoft Game Studios
  • Chris Taylor, CEO and creative director of Gas Powered Games
  • John Welch, president and CEO of PlayFirst
  • Mark Friedler, CEO of Worlds and Games
  • Lars Buttler, CEO of Trion World Network

We hope you can join us. For speaker suggestions, send an email to Dean at deantaka@gmail.com.

To contact VentureBeat about a sponsorship, please email us at sponsors@venturebeat.com.



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