One of the highlights of the GamesBeat Summit 2018 event this year is our diversity panel, featuring Rebecca Heineman, CEO of Olde Sküül;  Matt Conn, Founder of GaymerX;  Ebony Peay Ramirez from Oculus’s Diversity Program; and Marco DeMiroz, Co-Founder of The VR Fund.

The panelists will tackle the big issues, from the gender and racial disparities in the game industry to GamerGate, the Google Manifesto, and more. We’ll also look to the future to talk about the challenges emerging tech is going to bring, and how studies are showing that diversity literally equals cold hard cash.

We’ve also 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, at this link.

Above: Rebecca Heineman, CEO of Olde Sküül

Rebecca Heineman is a legend. A writer, game designer and developer, the first-ever national video game champion, she’s also the founder and CEO of Olde Sküül, the publisher behind Battle Chess and Descent. Heineman has been developing for over 30 years, is one of the original founders of Interplay, and is responsible for some of the biggest franchises in the industry, including The Bard’s Tale, Dragon Wars, and Out of This World.

She’s worked for Electronic Arts, Boone Corporation, Mumbo Jumbo Games, Barking Lizards Technologies, Sensory Sweep Studios, Xbox 360 technology at Microsoft’s Xbox division, Ubisoft, Bloomberg, Amazon, Sony Computer Entertainment’s Research and Development division, and most recently for Gearbox, optimizing code on Borderlands 2.

Above: Matt Conn, Founder of GaymerX

Matt Conn, the San Franciso-based founder and CEO of MidBoss, is also the mind and money behind GaymerX, the game convention that seeks to create a safe space for LGBTQ identified gamers. The Kickstarter for GaymerX launched in August 1, 2012 with a goal of $25,000 — and hit it within five days. He raised $91,000, and kicked off the first convention on August 3 and 4, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

Conn is also the producer for the MidBoss-produced cyberpunk story adventure game Read Only Memories, as well as the LGBTQ video game documentary Gaming In Color.

Above: Ebony Peay Ramirez, Oculus’ Diversity Program Manager

In 2016, Oculus announced they’d commit $10 million to diverse programs for virtual reality, and Ebony Peay Ramirez, Oculus’ Diversity Program Manager, is leading the charge with events like Oculus Launch Pad, designed to encourage diverse thought, personalities, perspectives, and imaginations in the VR industry. What started as a pilot program is now attracting interest from the wider VR industry, with 360-degree filmmaking heavyweights like Felix & Paul Studios, award-winning indie game dev Funomena and Unity partnering with Oculus to support the program.

Ramirez also heads up other Oculus-run initiatives, including VR For Good and The Diverse Filmmakers Project which aims to offer access and assistance for more diverse VR creators.

Above: Marco DeMiroz, Co-Founder of The VR Fund

At The VR Fund, Marco DeMiroz, Co-Founder, works to bring guidance and resources to promising and early stage VR, AR, and MR startups. For more than ten years DeMiroz has focused on strategic investments across clean technology, entertainment, lifestyle, media, sports, and technology with firms including Trinity Ventures, Selby, GameChange Ventures, U.S. Bancorp, Piper Jaffray Ventures, and Evolution Media Capital, where he led its investment in JauntVR.

In addition to his role at The VR Fund, Marco actively advises numerous media and technology companies in the VR and AR sectors. Marco started his career as a programmer and then researcher for NASA, and later became president and chief executive officer of the mobile game studio, PlayFirst, which he sold to Glu Mobile in 2014.

Our speakers fit within our theme of The Future of Games: Better games, better business, the Time Machine. If you could see the future of games before it happens, that would give your business a competitive advantage. Our event will let the hottest game developers, publishers, and investors 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 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:

  • show host and Spiketrap cofounder Adam Sessler
  • 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.