The latest speaker to join our GamesBeat Summit 2018 event is Kent Wakeford, the cofounder and chief operating officer of KSV eSports International. Wakeford will chat with GamesBeat lead writer Dean Takahashi about the massive growth of esports and where it’ll be heading in the years to come.

We’ve switched venues to a secluded placed called The Seminary at Strawberry in Mill Valley, California, north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Our dates and agenda are still the same: April 9 and April 10. Our conference is all about making games better and improving the business, and our speakers should give us a window into the future of game technologies.

You can get your tickets here at 30 percent off our rate using the code DEAN. We’ve also got a new $500 code for indie game developers, IndieVIP, on this link. (We’ll be checking to make sure only indie devs use this code.)

Wakeford and KSV chief executive Kevin Chou both left mobile developer Kabam to form the organization in 2017. Based in both Seoul and Silicon Valley, KSV eSports owns and manages several competitive teams, including popular all-Korean squad Seoul Dynasty (from the Overwatch League), and 2017 Heroes of the Storm world champion KSV Black.

At Kabam, Wakeford helped the company grow to more than 1000 employees. Over 500 million people played their games, including blockbuster hits like Marvel Contest of Champions and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth. Last year, Wakeford and Chou sold Kabam off to Korean developer Netmarble Games and FoxNext.

Wakeford is also on the board of directors for leading mobile esports platform Skillz, which helps more than 4,000 developers connect with players around the world.

Above: The Seminary at Strawberry in Mill Valley.

Image Credit: The Seminary at Strawberry

Our speakers fit within our theme of The Future of Games: Better games, better business. If you could see the future of games before it happens, that would give your business a competitive advantage. Our event brings together the hottest game developers, publishers, and investors to talk with their peers and business executives about their insights into the future of games.

GamesBeat Summit 2018 is the destination conference for networking, inspiration, and intelligent interaction. With the right people in the room to make great deals happen, our flagship industry event attracts the best game and tech developers and publishers, executives, marketers, and venture capitalists. This event is intended for VP-level executives and above along with the hottest game developers and publishers.

We’ll delve into the strategies of the future for gaming, and how to drive excitement, growth, and new startups. Our talks will feature augmented reality, virtual reality, esports, influencers, mobile games, core games, indies, new game technologies, and the connection between games, tech, and science fiction. We want to expose you to ideas like The Leisure Economy, where everyone in the future will be able to make a living playing games.

Games have changed as they’ve reached a billion people and $116 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 marketplace? 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 will shape the industry?

Our previously announced speakers include:

  • science fiction writer Eliot Peper
  • John Hanke, CEO of Niantic Labs
  • Andrea Rene, game host
  • Aaron Loeb, president of FoxNext Games Studios
  • Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity
  • Janina Gavankar, lead actress of Star Wars: Battlefront II
  • congressional candidate Brianna Wu
  • Tencent’s Dan Brody, vice president of business development at Tencent
  • Rand Miller, co-creator of Myst and Riven
  • John Underkoffler, CEO of Oblong Industries and science adviser for the influential sci-fi film Minority Report;
  • Amit Kumar of Accel, a venture investor
  • Jon “Neverdie” Jacobs, CEO of Neverdie Studios
  • Josh Yguado, president and chief operating officer of Jam City
  • Matt McCloskey, vice president of commerce at Twitch
  • Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData Research
  • Nick Earl, CEO of Glu
  • Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors
  • Michael Metzger, investment banker at Houlihan Lokey
  • Chris Heatherly, head of NBCUniversal’s new game business
  • Debbie Bestwick, CEO of Team17
  • Perrin Kaplan, principal at Zebra Partners
  • Stephanie Chan, writer at GamesBeat
  • Bill Roper, chief creative officer at Improbable
  • and Paul Bettner, CEO of Playful, the creator of the VR titles Lucky’s Tale.

Advisory board

  • Nicole Lazzaro, CEO of XEO Design
  • Noah Falstein, chief game designer at Google
  • James Zhang, CEO of Concept Art House
  • Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData Research
  • Peter Levin, president of Lionsgate Interactive
  • Jamil Moledina, Google Play
  • Michael Metzger, senior vice president at Houlihan Lokey
  • Mihir Shah, CEO of Immersv
  • Gordon Bellamy, visiting scholar at USC
  • Kate Edwards, former executive director at IGDA
  • Tom Sanocki, CEO of Limitless
  • Phil Sanderson, managing director at Ridge Ventures
  • Perrin Kaplan, principal at Zebra Partners
  • Sibel Sunar, CEO of Fortyseven Communications
  • David Edery, CEO of Spry Fox
  • Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors

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?

Sponsors include: Intel, Worldpay, Appodeal, Unreal Engine, Accel, Universal, Google, Streamlabs, Yomob, Altered Ventures, Mindmaze, Consul General of Canada, Pearl Abyss, Leyou, Jam City, Scalefast, Gfycat, and AppOnboard.