Our attendees are going to hear a lot about bold ideas in gaming next week at our first annual GamesBeat Summit event. We’re looking to glean insights, perspective, and transparent lessons from some of the most interesting speakers in gaming from around the world. This kind of exploration is necessary because gaming’s opportunities have never been greater, as the industry approaches $91.5 billion this year, according to market researcher Newzoo.
It has also never been more complicated. Like never before, you can place your bets on different genres, platforms, devices, territories, and audiences. We’re going to address these topics by putting on stage the people we’ve interviewed and written about for years as part of GamesBeat’s mission to be the main source of intelligent and influential game journalism. (You can still apply to participate in the summit).
Kate Edwards, one of our speakers and the head of the International Game Developers Association, noted in a survey that game developers have had an average of four jobs over the last five years. That tells you how much disruption we’ve seen and game industry participants have experienced. What we all need is someone to help us figure out where it’s all going.
If you bet on everything, you’ll be spread thin across the globe. Are you too late for the mobile party, as Supercell’s Clash of Clans has a lock on the top-grossing chart? Are you too early for virtual reality, which could be a $30 billion market by 2020 but is still awaiting its first AAA hardware?
We’ll be discussing these ideas and more at the GamesBeat Summit event, an invitation-only conference on May 5-6 at the Cavallo Point resort in Sausalito, Calif. (There’s still a chance to apply for a ticket). We’re gathering an audience of the most influential people in gaming. Nineteen luminaries will speak on our main stage. Tim Merel, managing director of Digi-Capital, will set us straight with some numbers, including a bold prediction that augmented reality will be bigger than virtual reality. Then we’ll move on to the original game visionary, Nolan Bushnell, who will bring his perspective of decades to the subject of modern gaming.
The platform owners have their own answers to the questions we’ll explore. John Riccitiello, who gets to see a huge slice of the games under development as the chief executive of Unity, will tell us what he sees across the gaming landscape and how much progress his company has made toward its bold goal of democratizing game development. Adam Boyes of Sony’s PlayStation 4 leadership team will tell us what’s in store for that platform. And Thomas Hartwig of King will also talk about the challenge of being a cross-platform company in a shifting landscape.
We will hear about emerging alternative platforms from the likes of Yoichi Wada and Jacob Navok of Shinra Technologies, which is creating a massive supercomputer for online worlds, as well as Samsung’s Mihai Pohontu, who is figuring out how to make Samsung’s app store into a bigger platform. And Mike Gallagher, chief executive of the Entertainment Software Association, will tell us a thing or two about what is happening with gamers.
We all know that all game companies are taking mobile gaming seriously now, even console game makers like Warner Bros. Clash of Clans, the No. 1 mobile game, generates $80 million in revenue per month, according to App Annie. You can build a huge company on such revenues, but you won’t build an empire if your game is No. 100 on the list, as those games generate just $1.2 million per month.
Non-game brand owners are also eyeing this market. But how far are the larger entertainment companies and brand owners going to go to bring competition to the space where “mobile first” brands have dominated. If you want to create a AAA mobile game that breaks into the top-ten grossing list (as our speaker Kent Wakeford of Kabam has pledged to do), what’s it going to take?
David Haddad, executive vice president at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, has seven internal studios working on games, including one in San Francisco that is dedicated to mobile. His studios such as TT Games have seen huge success with LEGO-branded video games over the years. And because of that experience with a seasoned developer, Haddad was willing to make a huge bet on the toys-to-life LEGO Dimensions, a Skylanders-style toy-game mashup that could be one of the movie company’s biggest initiatives. And while Warner has done well with AAA titles, Haddad is exploring opportunities to expand into mobile with titles like Mortal Kombat X and going into new territories like China.
Meanwhile, Andrew Sheppard of Gree will delve into the difficulty of moving into new territories and building a worldwide development organization. Jeff Lyndon of China’s iDreamsky will expand upon his own warning about how heated the Chinese game market has become.
And we’ll hear from Lionsgate’s Peter Levin, who has been tasked with taking the intellectual properties of the movie studio that made The Hunger Games and Divergent into the game space. Levin has a dozen game projects going, but he’s staying focused on developers who have a passion for the properties. And we will also get a download from Marvel Entertainment’s top games chief, Peter Phillips, who also has a unique approach to licensing Marvel’s brands to game partners.
Lisa Marino will tell us a transparent talk about the challenge of turning around RockYou, and Misha Lyalin will tell us how ZeptoLab grew from two people to more than 100 on the strength of the hit Cut the Rope. And Kristian Segerstrale of Super Evil Megacorp will talk about the lessons of moving into the tablet market with a high-end multiplayer online battle arena game.
We’ll be able to go deeper on subjects through a series of roundtables on day two. We’ll discuss platforms, international expansion, brands, monetization and user acquisition, understanding gamers, and deals. These will be small 30-person group sessions where domain experts will lend their expertise to the discussions.
In my fireside chat with Rick Thompson, who has had $6 billion in exits during his career and is a partner at Signia Venture Partners, we’ll talk about the deals of the future and have fun thinking about the deals that should happen.