We’re trying something new at GamesBeat Summit 2016, to be held May 3-4 at the Cavallo Point resort in Sausalito, Calif. — lightning talks.

These are five-minute talks from industry veterans that will deliver focused lessons on gaming. There will be no PowerPoint, and it will take place outdoors in view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We’re hoping these talks will spark a lot of conversations. The talks will be as follows:

Tim Merel, CEO of Eyetouch Reality and managing director of Digi-Capital

Title: The reality of AR/VR business models

Description: There is nearly as much confusion as there is excitement about augmented and virtual reality. While VR could be big and AR could be bigger and take longer (VR $30 billion and AR $90 billion for combined $120 billion AR/VR revenue by 2020), there are more questions than answers out there. Business models are one of the big questions, and AR/VR hardware sales, e-commerce sales, adspend, and mobile network data/voice could drive over 80 percent of all AR/VR revenues. Things might look a little different to what you expect, and it’s not all about games.

Sam Barlow, executive creative director at Interlude

Title: Imagination is still the most powerful game engine

Description: This talk will be about how I’ve learned how to tell stories that are interactive and overcoming the intuitive logic that games are about decompressing, allowing exploration and contiguous space and continuous time, giving full agency to the player … and realizing that this is damaging to storytelling … that, mirroring the evolution of the cinematic cut, games can embrace the storytelling tool of compression, of deliberately engaging the imagination through omission and narrative negative space, and that in particular in interactive entertainment, engaging the imagination is even more useful and powerful. I think these thoughts are particularly timely as we enter into the world of VR, where we will be re-forgetting and re-learning these lessons again. 

GamesBeat Summit in 2015.

Above: GamesBeat Summit in 2015.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Don Daglow, CEO of 4thRing

Title: Games industry mentoring: a cup in the bucket

Description: There are a lot of issues in the world (like global warming) where we operate on faith since we can make a difference only when millions or even billions of people collaborate. Even a hundred thousand people is just a drop in the bucket.

The AIAS Foundation and other game industry organizations, however, are already seeing a big impact by doing something a simple as gathering industry mentors and assigning them to work with university students who are planning careers in games. These programs accelerate students’ progress in school, improve the initial jobs they earn on graduation, and are already bringing former scholars back into the organization to serve as mentors to the next wave of students. By providing inspiring mentors to young people planning careers in games, we can directly impact the likelihood that they will follow through with their plans to enter the industry, and as connected professionals they’ll be more likely to stay through the inevitable ups and downs of the entertainment business.

That’s why I say that this is a chance to not just be a drop in the bucket of positive change, but to pour a whole cup of “a better industry tomorrow” into the bucket, just by volunteering to be a mentor.

Amy Jo Kim, game designer.

Above: Amy Jo Kim, game designer.

Image Credit: Amy Jo Kim

Kathy Astromoff, vice president of game developer success at Twitch

This talk is entitled, “Stay close to your community.

Amy Jo Kim, mentor at Maven Ventures

Title: Getting to alpha

Description: This is about how I help clients find their ‘”Alpha Moment'” in game design — and why that’s leveling the playing field for game developers worldwide.

And these are our roundtable sessions happening at GamesBeat Summit on day two.

12:15 pm to 1:15 pm (all sessions are simultaneous)

Balancing monetization and retention (Surfbird A)

Description: You cannot monetize efficiently without first having an engaged audience. This discussion will host an open roundtable of mobile experts to dive into crafting the perfect balance between monetization, retention, and marketing, creating a game funnel that generates revenue.

Speakers: Gil Shoham, chief revenue officer of IronSource; Alejandro Manchado, U.S. gaming partnerships lead at Google; Jeff Gurian, senior director of marketing at Kongregate

Moderator: Matt Marshall, founder of VentureBeat

Gil Shoham, CEO of Supersonic, at the Mobile Summit.

Above: Gil Shoham, the CEO of Supersonic, at the Mobile Summit.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Uncovering the secrets of mobile engagement (Surfbird B)

Description: Mobile games create tremendous opportunities to find the right customers and offer frictionless paths to engagment and purchase – by leveraging seamless, data-driven personalization. But with over 3 million apps and over 1 million games competing for your player’s attention, global game developers face increasing challenges in the areas of reach, adoption, and engagement among a highly fragmented audience. The focus will be on driving customer acquisition: from adoption and in-app engagement, finding the right mobile channels to propel engagement for your game/brand, and what data strategies matter most in 2016. 

Speaker: Samantha Turner at Glispa

Moderator: Blaise Zerega, editor-in-chief at VentureBeat

Is the gaming world flat? (Tidewater A)

Description: Games can be made anywhere now, from Siberia to Malaysia. But where can you build the strongest game companies?

Speaker: Kent Wakeford, chief operating officer at Kabam

Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat

The state of game deals (Tidewater B)

Description: Veteran game investors talk about the frontiers of gaming’s future and how to invest in them

Speakers: Phil Sanderson of IDG Ventures, Sunny Dhillon of Signia Venture Partners, Jay Eum of Translink Capital

Moderator: Dan Fiden, chief strategy officer at FunPlus

Dealing with ad fraud (Verbena A)

Description: There’s an epidemic of fraud in mobile ads. We’ll talk about how to deal with it

Speaker: Paul Muller, chief technology officer at Adjust

Moderator: Steve Peterson, games journalist

Disclosure and choice – how we can manage crunch (Verbena B)

Description: Since its emergence, the game industry has always had a certain character to it that eventually became accepted as “normal.” One aspect of this normality includes extreme work hours and/or extended periods of “crunch time,” wherein developers are expected to go work far beyond standard hours to make up for the company’s inability to effectively manage a project and/or manage creative expectations for a given time frame. While crunch is a reality of almost every creative medium, there is a better way to manage its infliction on employees — primarily by instituting a policy of upfront disclosure and enabling employees to choose the kind of conditions in which they will create.

Speaker: Kate Edwards, executive director of the International Game Developers Association

The International Game Developers Association chief Kate Edwards talks game-design job satisfaction with USGamer senior editor Kat Bailey at GamesBeat 2015.

Above: The International Game Developers Association chief Kate Edwards talks game-design job satisfaction with USGamer senior editor Kat Bailey at GamesBeat 2015.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/GamesBeat