GamesBeat Summit 2019 will take place in Los Angeles at the Two Bit Circus, a “micro-amusement park” that’s like an arcade meets Ready Player One in the Arts District. And now we’re ready to name our first three speakers for the event taking place April 23 and April 24.

Register now and get early bird pricing for GamesBeat 2019. Early bird tickets are just $595 for both days for a limited time only. For those looking for deal making, consider a VIP access pass for an additional $395 that includes access to a luxury VIP lounge, private meeting rooms, VIP lunch with yours truly, and more. And, as always we have special pricing for a limited number of Indie developers at $299.

The first of our many speakers are:

  • Chris DeWolfe, the CEO of Jam City
  • Mike Sepso, an executive at esports organization New York Excelsior and chairman of Electronic Sports Group (ESG)
  • Tommy Tallarico, head of Intellivision Entertainment, a legendary video game musician, and founder of Video Games Live.

Our theme this year is Building Gaming Communities. Our speakers and guests will talk about the best practices for building sustainable and positive communities in games.

Strong communities can help boost the staying power and hit status of games, as loyal fans keep coming back over and over and spread word-of-mouth goodness about games in an authentic way. But it’s no secret that communities can be a double-edged sword, especially when it comes to topics like hazing, harassment, and rebellions against monetization tactics.

Game companies have to walk tightropes, and our hope is that GamesBeat Summit will point the way to the best strategies for building thriving communities.

GamesBeat Summit is the destination summit for networking, inspiration, and industry insight. With the right people in the room to make great deals happen, our flagship industry event attracts the hottest game developers and publishers, as well as industry CEOs, executives, marketers, and venture capitalists.

Chris DeWolfe, CEO of Jam City

Jam City founders Chris DeWolfe (left) and Josh Iguado.

Above: Jam City founders Chris DeWolfe (left) and Josh Yguado.

Image Credit: Jam City

DeWolfe made his mark in the rising Los Angeles social media community by founding MySpace in 2003. The social network grew to more than 135 million monthly unique visitors, and he sold it to News Corp. in 2005 for $580 million. But DeWolfe wasn’t quite done. In 2010, DeWolfe teamed up with Austin Ventures to purchase MindJolt, a social gaming platform.

It merged with several companies and in 2012 it adopted Social Gaming Network (SGN) as its name. The acquisitions continued, with the addition of TinyCo (maker of Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff) in mid-2016. SGN rebranded itself as Jam City, and it went on to big hits in mobile casual games such as Panda Pop and Cookie Jam. The company acquired a few more games in 2018, and it also launched one of its best known titles, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.

All along the way, DeWolfe argued for the merits of consolidation and efficiency, as he wanted to create a sustainable mobile-first game company that could launch both branded and original entertainment while leveraging close Hollywood relationships. I’ve interviewed DeWolfe multiple times and have always found him thoughtful. I’m looking forward to a good chat onstage under the bright lights.

Mike Sepso, chairman of Electronic Sports Group

Above: Activision’s Mike Sepso at GamesBeat 2016.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnel/VentureBeat

Mike Sepso cofounded the pioneering esports company MLG in 2002 with Sundance DiGiovanni. They foresaw the day when watching people play games would be just as popular as watching professionals play traditional sports. They sold the company in 2015 to Activision Blizzard, where Sepso went on to help design the successful Overwatch League.

Sepso readily admits he was a little too far ahead of the curve sometimes, but he still has a lot of fresh things to say and do in esports. He recently joined the New York Excelsior Overwatch team in a bid to expand esports on a local level in New York City. And he also teamed up with former NBA executive Bobby Sharma to start an esports advisory firm Electronic Sports Group(ESG).

They will share their experience in sports and esports and help make big deals happen to bring in more advertisers, brands, and media companies into the world of esports. Sepso spoke at our GamesBeat 2016 event, as you can see in the picture above. But so much has changed in esports since then.

Esports is expected to grow to 250 million enthusiast fans and $1.7 billion in revenues by 2021, according to market researcher Newzoo.

Tommy Tallarico, head of Intellivision Entertainment and Video Games Live

Above: Tommy Tallarico is head of Intellivision Entertainment and founder of Video Games Live.

Image Credit: Intellivision

Tommy Tallarico grew up with the joy of playing the Intellivision video game console, a machine from Mattel that gave Atari a run for its money in the early 1980s. Now he has acquired the rights to the console and its original games, and he plans to relaunch Intellivision as a retro brand.

A wave of nostalgia has hit gamers, with Nintendo and Atari taking advantage with launches, both recent and pending, of older game consoles. Now they’ll have a new competitor with Intellivision Entertainment, as Tallarico told us in an exclusive interview.

Now we’ll hear what Tallarico, a renowned video game musician and founder of the global concert series Video Games Live, has to say about remaking a classic video game console. He’ll have plenty of competition, and he hopes to get a lot of help from small game developers in his quest to remind everyone what gaming was all about in its early days.

What to expect

We’re honored to have these speakers. They’ll be speaking in fireside chats on our business stage, and we’ll also figure out if they can contribute to our consumer-focused talks in a second hall.

Not everything is going excellent all of the time for these companies, as Jam City had a recent layoff. But we’ll ask them the straight questions that will prompt good debates, lessons learned, and news for the elite gaming audience.

At a lot of company-run events, we only hear happy talk. But we think that bringing the leaders of the industry together from different sectors helps refine the best thinking, and you often get wisdom from lessons that are hard learned. These kinds of talks and the chance for networking across sectors and industries is what will make our event unique in the crowded conference space.

Our event is going to be an intimate affair. And our location this year fits right with our theme. Two Bit Circus is a 40,0000-square-foot playground for all ages, with entertainment that includes escape rooms, virtual reality experiences, a VIP loft, live interactive games, a robot bartender show, and modern versions of carnival games. Our attendees will be able to hear business talks in the Club 101 auditorium and consumer-focused talks in a second hall.

We’ll be taking full advantage of the environment by integrating contests and team play for all to participate in.

We’re still forming our topics around growing communities. The discussions will likely focus on the rise of virtual reality and augmented reality communities; exclusive and high-end game communities; esports communities; divided communities; massively multiplayer online worlds; the convergence of sci-fi, tech, and games; game jams; the future of game technology; monetization; the rise of influencers; and the oncoming changes from blockchain and cryptocurrency.

This is our 10th year of GamesBeat events and this year promises to be the best one yet. Stay tuned as we announce more great speakers to our first-rate lineup.