At VentureBeat’s upcoming GamesBeat Summit on May 5 and May 6, debate and dialogue would surely be incomplete without the presence of Mike Gallagher. So we’re pumped about him joining the invite-only gathering of senior industry execs.
As the president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Gallagher is responsible for managing the industry’s role not just with industry stakeholders but also with government, education, health, and the workplace.
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Since he took over the ESA in 2007, he’s focused on transforming the perception of video games by going beyond entertainment to demonstrate the influence of gaming in all these areas. That makes him an ideal person to help our attendees understand gamers on a global basis, how to target them for growth opportunities, and where gaming is going.
He has been actively involved with GlassLab, which is a collaboration between the Gates foundation, MacArthur foundation, ESA member companies, and a team of outstanding education specialists dedicated to developing great classroom video content. He also points to the organization’s consultancy role with Vice President Joe Biden in the aftermath of the shooting at Newtown. The ESA also invested significant time and effort testifying on the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) in order to stress the importance of digital ecosystems. Job development, too, has been a strong focus, and Gallagher has touted the ESA’s drive in creating game development jobs in all 50 states.
This is all balanced with Gallagher’s core industry responsibilities. Along with running the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the world’s premier showcase for video games, the ESA conducts vital research for the industry, such as the recent report on mobile gaming that showed that a full third of American teens and adults now play games on their smartphones, tablets, and portable gaming devices.
One of the other findings of the report revealed that 22 percent of mobile gamers say they have never played games before — or that they stopped playing before resuming on mobile games. Almost half said they only became regular gamers after turning to mobile devices.
Certainly, the distribution model for gaming has expanded and gotten easier, but as Gallagher told GamesBeat last fall, exposure is still a challenge. Indeed, if you get Gallagher talking about any issue in gaming, he has a unique perspective fueled by his involvement with every arm of the industry and every major player in it.
Some of the other speakers
Dan Morris, the head of strategic partnerships for games at Facebook, will share some of the social network’s newest recommendations for acquisition and monetization in both mobile and desktop.
Jamil Moledina, the games strategic partnerships lead for Google Play, who manages strategic games partners on the Google Play store.
Yoichi Wada, the founder and CEO of Shinra Technologies, and Jacob Navok, the senior vice president of business development for Shinra, will join a fireside session. Shinra recently demoed its cloud supercomputer that breaks the one-processor, one-user model and will enable developers to create huge worlds that can measure as much as 20 miles-by-20 miles of virtual space.
David Haddad, the executive vice president and general manager of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Peter Levin, the president of interactive media and games at Lionsgate, will be on hand for a couple of those main stage discussions.
Kristian Segerstrale, the COO of Super Evil Megacorp, which was founded to focus solely on the development of core gaming for touch devices. The company released its multiplayer online battle arena game Vainglory last November.
Kate Edwards, the executive director of the International Game Developers Association, will likely be addressing the many issues the industry has been dealing with this year, including GamerGate and the need for greater diversity.
Unity Technologies CEO John Riccitiello is also part of the Summit. Unity’s cross-platform technology allows games to run on just about any device that plays games. The company recently announced its Unity 5 tools at the Game Developers Conference 2015 in San Francisco.
Few people have had as much influence on the game industry over the last 20 years as Riccitiello. He served as the chief operating officer for gaming giant Electronic Arts in his first stint at the company and returned to be its CEO, helping the publisher as it became a major player in the mobile and online gaming sectors.
Also speaking at the Summit is Thomas Hartwig, the cofounder and chief technical officer of King, one of the biggest publishers of mobile games. King was the No. 2 mobile-game publisher in the world for 2014, thanks in part to its major hit Candy Crush Saga. If you play games on your phone or tablet, chances are good that you’ve crushed some candy on it since the game’s 2012 release. And Hartwig’s role at King has helped change how we play games — and pay for them — on our mobile devices.
The focus of GamesBeat Summit is on bold ideas, the kind that will propel the industry forward, particularly in a global context. The event is limited to only 180 senior execs. We’re looking forward to the kind of open sharing that happens when like-minded visionaries come together.
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Thanks to our sponsors, including King as a Gold Partner and Supersonic as a Silver Partner.