Dean is lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat. He covers video games, security, chips and a variety of other subjects. Dean previously worked at the San Jose Mercury News, the Wall Street Journal, the Red Herring, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and the Dallas Times Herald. He is the author of two books, Opening the Xbox and the Xbox 360 Uncloaked. Follow him on Twitter at @deantak, and follow VentureBeat on Twitter at @venturebeat.
Robin Hunicke is the co-founder of Funomena. A game designer and producer by training, she also has a background in fine art, computer science and applied game studies. She joined EA in 2005, where she worked on The Sims2, MySims, and Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox series for the Nintendo Wii. In the spring of 2009 she joined thatgamecompany as Executive Producer of the award-winning PSN downloadable title, Journey. Recognized as an influential Woman in Games, Robin is an evangelist for diversity of thought and participation in game design and game culture. She co-organizes the annual Experimental Gameplay Workshop, has chaired the IndieCade Festival, and lectures extensively on how developers can create novel, experimental designs by focusing on the feeling.
Rick is a founding partner at Signia Venture Partners. He is an entrepreneur and investor with a passion for identifying new consumer trends and investment opportunities. As one of the most successful investors in the consumer space, Rick serves on the boards of Cie Studios, Post Release, Iddiction, Idle Games, Red Robot Labs, Rumble Entertainment, and Grow Mobile. Previously, Rick co-founded Funzio (acquired by GREE in 2012), Playdom (acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2010), Adify (acquired by Cox in 2008) and Flycast (IPO in 1999 and acquired by CMGI in 2000). He was the first engineer at Octel Communications (IPO in 1987 and sold to Lucent in 1997). Rick received a BS from UC, Santa Cruz and an MBA from the Wharton Business School.
Brock Pierce (31) is an entrepreneur best known for pioneering the market for virtual goods in online games. He has started or acquired more than 30 businesses and secured more than $200 million of funding on behalf of his companies. Pierce is currently a Managing Director of the Clearstone Global Gaming Fund, CEO of Playsino, and sits on the boards of IMI Exchange, Xfire, Spicy Horse Games and Evertune.
Pierce is co-founder of Playsino and assumed the role of CEO in November 2011. Playsino is a developer and publisher of social casino games for social and mobile platforms. Playsino’s investors include IDM Venture Capital, Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures, Pacific Capital Group and many of Southern California’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Among his other current ventures, Pierce is the founder of IMI Exchange, which raised over $100 Million from blue chip investors such as Goldman Sachs and Oak Investment Partners. During Pierce’s tenure he established operations in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and the United States, supporting more than 600 employees. Today, IMI Exchange owns the world’s leading marketplaces for the trading of virtual goods with sales exceeding US$1 billion annually. Pierce was responsible for acquiring Xfire from Viacom. Xfire was previously acquired by Viacom in 2006 for $110 Million. Xfire is a social platform for hardcore gamers with over 21 million registered users. Pierce joined the board of American McGee’s Shanghai based Spicy Horse Games in December 2011. Pierce is co-founder of EverTune, a patented proprietary technology that keeps any stringed instrument in tune for the life of the string set by utilizing a spring based constant tension system.
Among his past ventures, Pierce founded Zam, the largest media property serving hardcore PC gamers. Zam was sold in January, 2012, to Tencent, the largest Internet company in China and four-largest in the world. Pierce co-founded GamesTV, a joint venture with Shanghai Media Group. GamesTV was a TV channel similar to G4, serving the mainland Chinese market. Pierce is also the founder of IGE, the company credited with pioneering the market for virtual goods in online games. IGE generated nearly $100 Million in revenue in 2006 and was sold in early 2007. Prior to entering the game business, Pierce co-founded Digital Entertainment Network (DEN), one of the first and most ambitious web television companies. DEN raised more than $88 million from investors including Microsoft, Intel Capital and NBC. He began his career as a successful Hollywood actor, starring or appearing in twelve major motion pictures, including The Mighty Ducks and First Kid, as well as many commercials.
Since 2010, Pierce has been an oversea advisor to the China Youth League, which governs the education and recreational activities for China’s youth up to the age of 28. His interest is to promote “green and healthy” online games for China’s Youth.
Pierce generally plays the role of strategist and dealmaker in each company after attracting the management teams and capital. He is an active angel investor, a founding mentor of the Founder Institute’s LA Chapter, and a member of SoCal Tech and Media Entertainment Technology Alliance. Pierce is an active supporter of non-profit and advocacy organizations and is a member of Clinton Global Initiative.
Both Wired and Fortune have written lengthy biographical feature stories on Pierce’s career. In addition, he is a paid speaker and has spoken at the Milken Global Conference as well as many video game and entrepreneurial conferences. Pierce also acts as a guest lecturer at Stanford, UCLA and USC.