Our next speaker for our GamesBeat 2016 event is Mike Sepso, senior vice president for Activision Blizzard. Sepso was the cofounder of MLG, which Activision Blizzard acquired last year. Now he focuses on esports and runs Media Networks, a division devoted to creating the best esports experiences for fans across games, platforms and geographies at one of the world’s largest video game companies.
Sepso played a key role at MLG, focusing on strategy, key partnerships, corporate development, and product and technology development.
Our theme is “The platform awakens: A new hope for the game industry.” This is our first GamesBeat event that is heading south to Los Angeles. And it’s going to have a new one-day preamble, our AR/VR day, to focus on the excitement of augmented reality and virtual reality games and entertainment. That’s August 1, and it leads into our traditional GamesBeat fare.
Our ninth annual GamesBeat event takes place at the Terranea Resort on August 1 to August 3 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. The resort is on the beautiful Pacific Ocean and offers some awesome amenities, like a spa and golf. You can register for the event here.
GamesBeat 2016 brings together top execs, investors, analysts, and entrepreneurs from the hottest companies to explore the gaming industry’s latest trends, growth opportunities, technical directions, and newest monetization opportunities.
Our previously announced speakers include:
Richard Marks, a senior research engineer at Sony Interactive Entertainment
He’ll be one of the speakers at our AR/VR day, which will focus on strategy for the augmented reality and virtual reality markets. Marks’ topic for his fireside chat is “What Works in VR and What Doesn’t.” He should know, as he is one of VR’s pioneers, recently running the Sony PlayStation Magic Lab that came up with the PlayStation VR technology. Sony is making a major investment in PlayStation VR and plans to launch it in October.
Michael Pachter, the managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities
Pachter has more than 20 years of experience as a financial professional, and he has been analyzing game companies for a long time in addition to following the broader entertainment industry.
Pachter follows big game companies such as Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, GameStop, Nintendo, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, and Zynga. He has an M.B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles and degrees from Pepperdine University, the University of Florida, and California State University at Northridge. He has an acerbic wit and is often quoted in both the gaming and mainstream press when it comes to analysis of the game industry’s leading companies. And he is the host of the video series “Pachter Factor” on Siftd.net.
David Haddad, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Haddad spoke last year at our inaugural GamesBeat Summit event, and we’re happy to have him back. Haddad was appointed to his current post in October 2015. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of WBIE’s overall operations, including publishing, operations, sales, marketing, digital/mobile games, business development, and game production.
Under Haddad’s oversight, WBIE creates games across all platforms utilizing its wholly owned, award-winning development studios: TT Games, Rocksteady Studios, NetherRealm Studios, Monolith Productions, Turbine, WB Games Montreal, and WB Games San Francisco. Last year, Warner Bros. had its most successful year ever with a number of hit games, including Mortal Kombat X on console and mobile and Batman: Arkham Knight, Lego Jurassic World and Lego Dimensions.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers launched in January 2016, and the highly anticipated Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens will launch on June 28, 2016. As the head of WBIE, Haddad also serves on the board of the Entertainment Software Association. Haddad joined Warner Bros. in 2013 as head of digital publishing.
Kevin Chou, CEO of Kabam
Chou runs Kabam, a maker of free-to-play mobile games such as Marvel: Contest of Champions. He cofounded a company in 2006 that morphed into Kabam in 2009. And since that time, he has navigated the difficult currents of the ultra-competitive game industry. By 2014, Kabam had grown to hundreds of employees and more than $400 million in revenue, with a valuation in excess of $1 billion. More recently, Chou has tried to take the lead in disruption, and he has focused Kabam around fewer, bigger games. He has secured licenses with Hollywood studios such as Disney, Lionsgate, MGM, NBCUniversal, Paramount, and Warner Brothers for games based on some of the world’s most beloved movie franchises.
Last year, Chou launched a multipartner effort to take Marvel: Contest of Champions into the Chinese market. And most recently, Marvel: Contest of Champions hit the No. 1 game in downloads in China.
Roy Taylor, corporate vice president of alliances at AMD
Taylor is a seasoned veteran of the video game and semiconductor industries. He is currently an expert in AMD’s relations with major retailers and specialty retailers, and he’s an advocate for gaming content and VR that runs on AMD platforms. He previously held senior positions at Rightware, MasterIMage 3D, and Nvidia.
Jason Rubin, head of Oculus Studios
Rubin runs the team at Facebook’s Oculus division that creates, funds, and works with developers to build first party games and experiences for the Oculus Rift VR headset and the Samsung Gear VR. Rubin’s job is to create exciting entertainment that will draw consumers to the new platforms.
A 30-year veteran of game development, Rubin was the cofounder of Naughty Dog, where he created the hit games Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. He also cofounded the media mashup tool Fleeter, which he sold to Fox Interactive, and he was president of THQ. He spoke at GamesBeat 2015 about how VR is the toughest learning curve in games.
Peter Levin, president of Lionsgate Interactive Ventures & Games
Levin joined Lionsgate as president of interactive ventures and games in 2014. He is responsible for expanding Lionsgate’s content creation into video games and other interactive ventures, including incubation of new properties, investment in existing games and digital media vehicles and leveraging Lionsgate’s franchises and other branded properties into the gaming space.
It’s no accident that Lionsgate has announced a bunch of game-related deals, such as planting the seeds for an esports TV show and backing Hong Kong game studio Fifth Journey. He has been a frequent speaker at our GamesBeat events.
Chris Fralic, partner at First Round Capital
Chris Fralic joined First Round Capital in its New York office in 2006. He has focused on investment areas such as advertising, marketing technology, social/mobile, e-commerce, travel, gaming, and connected devices. He has worked with acquired companies such as Flurry (Yahoo!), Invite Media (Google), and Demdex (Adobe). And he is currently working with game companies that include Beyond Games, Mobcrush, and Roblox.
Our confirmed moderators include Geoff Keighley, game broadcaster and host of the Game Awards
Keighley is a seasoned game broadcaster and host of The Game Awards. The event last December drew 2.3 million viewers for a two-hour awards show. Keighley came to our event a year ago and interviewed Jason Rubin of Oculus Studios. He has been writing about games since he was 13.
And Martin Rae, president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Rae runs the professional academy of game industry peers that stages the annual DICE. Summit and the DICE Awards in Las Vegas each year. He has been the head of the nonprofit since 2010 and is a champion of the game industry. Rae has traditionally hosted our panel on venture capital investments in games.
Who should attend?
Our advisory board for this event includes:
- Michael Chang, senior vice president of corporate development at NCSoft West
- Greg Essig, head of business development at Mobcrush
- Megan Gaiser, senior creative leader and strategist; principal at Contagious Creativity
- Perrin Kaplan, principal at Zebra Partners
- Ophir Lupu, head of games at United Talent Agency
- Wanda Meloni, executive director at the Open Gaming Alliance
- Ali Moiz, CEO at Vulcun
- Maarten Noyons, CEO of the International Mobile Gaming Awards
- Ian Sharpe, CEO of Azubu
- Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors
- Sunny Dhillon, partner at Signia Venture Partners
- Alejandro Manchado, strategic partner development lead at Google
- Daniel Cho, chairman of Innospark
- Mike Capps, former president of Epic Games
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