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We’re taking GamesBeat Summit 2020 into a digital online-only format. And today, we’re revealing three new speakers for the event: former Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Morhaime, Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney, and Amazon Games vice president Mike Frazzini.
We’ve added these speakers to the updated agenda, posted below, for the event which will air on April 28 and April 29 as a virtual conference. If you are interested in attending GamesBeat Summit online, please sign up here.
After careful thought about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we decided not to use centralized studios or physical locations. But we think we can serve our GamesBeat community well with a fully distributed, digital event.
The health and safety of our GamesBeat community, attendees, employees, and sponsors remains our top priority. In this digital event, attendees can watch livestreamed and recorded talks, take part in online networking sessions and digital roundtables, access our gaming partners virtually, and more.
Three top investment pros open up about what it takes to get your video game funded.
Mike Morhaime, former president of Blizzard
After 27 years at Blizzard, cofounder Mike Morhaime announced his retirement at a BlizzCon event in October, 2018, and he formally left the company in 2019. career that spanned more than 27 years at a single company. Under his tenure, Blizzard Entertainment became one of the biggest names in gaming.
Morhaime cofounded the company as Silicon & Synapse along with Allen Adham and Frank Pierce. Adham served as the first leader, and Morhaime took over as president in 1998, after Adham resigned to pursue a different life. And after 2007, Morhaime was president of Blizzard. Morhaime led efforts to help grow the company from a Southern California startup to an international powerhouse with regional operations in more than a dozen countries, including China.
During his reign, World of Warcraft became the biggest massively multiplayer online role-playing game in the world. Blizzard also gave us such memorable games as Diablo, StarCraft, Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch. Morhaime cofounded Silicon & Synapse with Allen Adham and Frank Pearce in 1991. I wrote a detailed Blizzard’s history in an interview with Morhaime back in 2016 when the studio turned 25.
I did a fireside chat with Morhaime last year at Gamelab in Barcelona, and I was struck at how thoughtful he was about answering questions about gaming’s past and its future.
Morhaime’s passions extend beyond gaming, and he’s been a staunch advocate for bringing communities together, creating inclusive environments, and striving to have a positive impact on the world at large. He’s been a supporter of numerous charitable efforts, and during his tenure, Blizzard helped raise millions of dollars and awareness for charity partners, including Make-A-Wish, Girls Who Code, Children’s Hospital Orange County, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and many others.
Morhaime has been honored by numerous organizations, including the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (technology and Engineering Emmy), Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, has been inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame, and was given the 2019 Honor Award at Gamelab Barcelona.
Seth Schiesel, former staff writer on games for the New York Times, will moderate the fireside chat. Schiesel wrote a groundbreaking column about games for many years at the newspaper. We are delighted to have them both.
Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon
Mahoney’s Tokyo-based company is the pioneer of free-to-play online games. He has been head of the company since March 2014. Before that, he was general manager of the administration division at Nexon, and also served as chief financial officer and chief administrative officer. At Nexon, the company’s big hits include Dungeon Fighter Online and Maple Story.
He served as the head of global financial operations and CEO at OutSpark and was an executive at Electronic Arts for nine years.
Recently, Mahoney has been leading Nexon into a Western expansion. The company acquired DomiNations developer Big Huge Games, a Western studio founded by game pioneers Brian Reynolds and Tim Train, and it also bought High School Story developer Pixelberry Studios. Nexon also invested in a new studio run by former EA game studio chief Patrick Söderlund.
Mahoney has been signing up a lot of famous game developers, mostly by pitching gaming as an art form. Mahoney has spoken at GamesBeat events before on how gaming should lose its Hollywood envy, how to craft a culture of inspiration, and how artistry is key to solving mobile gaming’s malaise. Last year, he spoke about creating game communities that last for years. We are delighted to have him back.
Mike Frazzini, vice president at Amazon Games
Frazzini oversees Amazon’s first-party games and Twitch Prime. Amazon Games is cooking a number of games, including the massively multiplayer online game New World. Twitch Prime gives members a selection of free PC games every month, free in-game loot for the world’s largest games, and a premium experience on Twitch that includes a free channel subscription every 30 days, and exclusive chat colors and emotes. Twitch Prime is available in more than 200 countries and territories.
In his more than 15 years at Amazon, he has previously held leadership roles in books and video game retail. He’s an avid skier and gamer, and holds a BA from Miami University an MBA from the University of Michigan
Frazzini will delve into Amazon’s customer-centric approach to games, and discuss why today’s best games continue evolving into long-term hobbies. I will moderate the session with Mike. Looking forward to it.
GamesBeat Summit Digital will provide the same great content and create digital networking experiences, all available remotely. We’ve very grateful that the overwhelming number of our speakers (which we originally recruited for our physical event) and our sponsors have stayed with us. We hope to live up to their belief in us with our talks around the theme of Dawn of the Next Generation.
We will continue to be proactive in our communication and will follow up with more information about technology platforms and logistics in the coming days. It looks like we’re heading toward an even larger even with about 115 speakers. The schedule is still subject to change. Here’s the agenda.
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