GamesBeat 2017 will take place at San Francisco’s beautiful Fort Mason on October 5 and October 6. And we’re delighted to announce our next five speakers.

They include Paul Bettner, CEO of Playful; Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable; Bill Roper, chief creative officer of Improbable; Tim Chang, managing director at Mayfield Fund; and Ramez Naam, science fiction writer and author of the acclaimed Nexus series. You can save 20 percent on registration with our Save20 discount code.

Above: Tim Chang is managing director at Mayfield Fund.

Image Credit: Mayfield Fund

They will speak to our theme of the Time Machine. If you could see the future of games before it happens, that would give your business a competitive advantage. It’s like having a time machine, where you can see the future and return to the present. You could also go back to the past to the retro days of gaming to get the lessons that matter. This is the idea driving the theme for our GamesBeat 2017 conference.

We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in games, and that’s what makes it fun and unpredictable. But we’ll make sure that we get the most interesting leaders of the industry to speak. And we won’t just talk about old times. Rather, we’ll pair the speakers from the past with the leaders of today, so they can talk about the relevant strategies for the future.

We’ll touch on the parts of gaming that are driving excitement, growth, and new startups. That includes augmented reality, virtual reality, esports, influencers, mobile games, core games, indies, new game technologies, and the connection games, tech, and science fiction. We want to show you the edge and the strategies that will succeed in the future.

Above: Ramez Naam, science fiction writer and author of the Nexus series.

Image Credit: Ramez Naam

Ramez Naam is a computer scientist and the award-winning author of five books, including the Nexus series of science fiction novels and the non-fiction The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet.

Naam’s brain-hacking and civil-liberties-focused science fiction novels have won the Prometheus Award, the Endeavour Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, been listed as an NPR Best Book of the Year, and have been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award. Before turning to writing, Naam spent 13 years at Microsoft, where he led teams working on machine learning, neural networks, information retrieval, and internet scale systems. Follow him on twitter: @ramez or visit him at

Above: Paul Bettner, CEO of Playful, and creator of Lucky’s Tale, at GamesBeat Summit.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Paul Bettner is the founder and CEO at Playful, the maker of the groundbreaking Oculus Rift game Lucky’s Tale and the open world crafting game Creativerse. Playful also recently announced it is making the platform game Super Lucky’s Tale for Microsoft’s Xbox One game console.

Before starting Playful, Bettner was founder, CEO, and creative director at Newtoy. That company created Words With Friends, a bestselling word game. Zynga acquired Newtoy for $53 million in 2010. Bettner also worked as a game developer at Microsoft’s Ensemble Studios.

Above: Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable.

Image Credit: Improbable

Herman Narula is the cofounder and CEO of Improbable, a London-based technology startup born out of Cambridge University. Improbable is creating SpatialOS, a computation platform which enables developers to build large-scale, complex simulations running across thousands of machines in the cloud. Improbable recently raised $502 million from investors including SoftBank.

Improbable is helping game companies build huge worlds. But it is also active in multiple civil and commercial industries, including gaming, telecommunications, infrastructure and security. Improbable currently has a team of more than 180 people, including top software engineering talent from world-renowned academic institutions and companies such as Google, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Microsoft.

Founded in 2012, Improbable received $20 million in Series A funding from Andreessen Horowitz in March 2015, with a $30 million follow-on led by Horizons Ventures in July 2015, which also included Temasek Holdings.

Above: Bill Roper is the new chief creative officer at Improbable.

Image Credit: Bill Roper

Bill Roper has been in games for 23 years. He started at Blizzard Entertainment, where his contributions were instrumental in the success of the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo franchises.

After leaving Blizzard, roper went on to co-found Flagship Studios (Hellgate: London) as CEO and then served as chief creative officer at Cryptic Studios. He joined Disney Interactive in 2011 as VP, Marvel Games and was promoted to VP/GM of the Core Games business in January 2012 where he lead the Disney Infinity, Fantasia: Music Evolved, and partnerships development groups.
In a recent interview, Roper He noted that Improbable’s customers — such as Bossa Studios, the maker of Worlds Adrift — want to build a “living universe, a persistent place with millions of creatures.” Roper believes that helping such companies realize their visions and overcome technical limitations could be “impactful and meaningful.”

Tim Chang is an experienced investor and global executive. He has been twice named to the Forbes Midas list of Top Tech Investors and received the Gamification Summit award for Special Achievement. Tim’s venture capital experience includes leading investments at Norwest Venture Partners and Gabriel Venture Partners. His operational experience includes working in product management and engineering across Asia for Gateway and General Motors. Tim is an accomplished musician, who performs in three bands, as well as a body- and consciousness-hacking enthusiast. He is friends with Naam, and Chang previously interviewed sci-fi author Eliot Peper on stage for us at GamesBeat Summit.

Above: GamesBeat 2017’s first speakers.

Image Credit: VentureBeat

The past can be prologue. But games have changed as they’ve reached a billion people and $100 billion in yearly revenues, reaching the mainstream like they never have before. Can we still apply the lessons from the past to the current and future market place? And, what type of innovations and companies will draw the blueprint of what’s to come? So much of the industry’s internal narrative has been about it being cutting edge. How can we imagine a broader set of drivers other than technology that shape the industry?

GamesBeat 2017 is the destination conference for networking, inspiring talks, intelligent interaction, and getting all the right people in the room to make great deals happen. It targets game and tech industry CEOs, executives, marketers, investors, venture capitalists, and developers.

Our previously announced speakers include Steven Roberts, chairman of ESL, the biggest independent esports tournament company; Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of CCP Games, creator of Eve Online and VR games such as Eve Valkyrie; and Bernie Stolar, CEO of The Stolar Group and former head at Sony’s U.S. PlayStation business and Sega of America.

Advisory board

  • Nicole Lazzaro, CEO of XEO Design
  • Nick Beliaeff, senior vice president at Spin Master
  • Noah Falstein, chief game designer at Google
  • James Zhang, CEO of Concept Art House
  • Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData Research
  • Nathan Stewart, Dungeons & Dragons senior director, Wizards of the Coast
  • Peter Levin, president of Lionsgate Interactive
  • Ravi Belwal, global partner manager for games at Samsung
  • Kate Connally, Google
  • Sunny Dhillon, partner at Signia Venture Partners
  • Michael Metzger, senior vice president at Houlihan Lokey
  • Mihir Shah, CEO of Immersv
  • Zvi Greenstein, general manager at Nvidia
  • Gordon Bellamy, visiting scholar at USC
  • Tadgh Kelly, Vreal
  • Tom Sanocki, CEO of Limitless
  • Phil Sanderson, managing director at IDG Ventures
  • Walter Driver, CEO of Scopely
  • David Pokress, senior vice president at AdColony

Topics will include:

  • Intersection of sci-fi, games and tech
  • Platforms:Where to place your bets? AR,VR, & more
  • Creating a culture of inspiration and creativity
  • Emerging markets for games
  • Monetization: How to acquire and retain users
  • Esports and building the community
  • Deals: Follow the money
  • Diversity and the expanding ecosystem
  • Early Access as a business model
  • How mods can launch new game genres
  • What game engine should you use?