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We have packed inspiring speakers and engaging sessions into our GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 2 event coming on January 26-27. This post gives you a peek at our nearly final agenda for the event about the technology and trends that could take gaming and the metaverse to its next level.

Sadly, we did not think of inviting Walmart to show us its vision of the metaverse. (In a cosmic joke, Walmart metaverse was trending last week when someone came up with a snide tweet about a 2017 video where Walmart showed off 3D online shopping in a sorry-looking video.)

I suppose the Walmart joke helped raise awareness of the metaverse. But we’ve got the real stuff.

We’ll discuss everything from the metaverse to nonfungible tokens and other buzzwords of the moment, and we’ll evaluate the nature of these opportunities. Are they overhyped waves that will get our feet wet, or will they be tidal waves that sweep through the whole industry like free-to-play and social mobile gaming.

Event

GamesBeat Summit Next 2022

Join gaming leaders live this October 25-26 in San Francisco to examine the next big opportunities within the gaming industry.

Register Here

GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 2 and our GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit feature a total of 124 speakers (with exactly 50% coming from diverse backgrounds) across 49 sessions over three days. We’ll have some intimate online roundtables and online Q&A sessions with our speakers and VIPs. It’s a free event for attendees.

The metaverse is coming

A real Keanu Reeves walks into a simulated scene.

Above: A real Keanu Reeves walks into a simulated scene.

Image Credit: Epic Games

This is our fourth online event during the pandemic, coming just a few months after our GamesBeat Summit Next event in November. While that event was about the technological edge of the industry, this combined event is about the Facebook/Meta gaming ecosystem on day one and then days two and three are all about the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.

On day one, our final talk of the Facebook event will feature Jason Rubin, vice president of Meta and the man in charge of Meta content. He will talk about the progress the company has made since CEO Mark Zuckerberg pivoted to the metaverse and changed the company’s name to metaverse.

Jason Rubin is vice president of Meta content at Facebook/Meta.

Above: Jason Rubin is vice president of Meta content at Facebook/Meta.

Image Credit: Facebook/Meta

Then we’ll kick off two more days of metaverse talks, all focused on moving the ball forward and bringing the open metaverse closer to fruition.

Whether you favor a walled garden metaverse from the big tech companies or an open version that is homegrown gaming, we’ll expose you to some of the smartest minds in gaming, investing, technology, and social. And everybody who is coming wants to change the status quo.

Highlighted speakers

Above: Ian Livingstone is a knight and general partner of Hiro Capital.

Image Credit: Hiro Capital

We’re delighted to have our emcees back with the return of Kahlief Adams, captain of Spawn On Me; and Andrea Rene, cofounder of What’s Good Games. We’ll hear from gaming’s only knight, Ian Livingstone, and his partner Luke Alvarez at Hiro Capital, which is named after the main character of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.

We’ll talk about Nvidia’s progress with the Omniverse with Richard Kerris, head of Omniverse development; Dave Baszucki, CEO of Roblox, will talk about reimagining the way we bring people together; Matthew Ball of Epyllion and Anna Sweet and Tanya Watson of Bad Robot Games will talk about building socially focused virtual worlds.

Above: Kim Libreri is CTO of Epic Games.

Image Credit: Epic Games

Kim Libreri, chief technology officer of Epic Games, will tell us just how real the metaverse can look.
Mike Wagner, CEO of Star Atlas, will talk about triple-A blockchain games. We’ll also hear from Sebastien Borget, chief operating officer of The Sandbox and president of the Blockchain Game Association.
Tiffany Xingyu Wang, executive of Spectrum Labs and cofounder of Oasis Consortium, will address how to curb toxicity in the metaverse. Brendan Greene, director of PlayerUnknown Productions, will talk about building massive virtual worlds, as will Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable.

Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki's Builderman avatar.

Above: Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki’s Builderman avatar.

Image Credit: Roblox

We’ll also have talks with Anastasia Staten, executive director of the ESA Foundation; Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer and CEO of Futures Intelligence Group; Jeri Ellsworth, CEO of Tilt Five; Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity; Brad Oberwager, executive chair of Linden Lab; Jace Hall, cofounder at HiDef; Rick Fox, cofounder of HiDef; Jules Urbach, CEO of Otoy; Marc Petit, general manager of Unreal Engine at Epic Games; Raph Koster, CEO of Playable Worlds.

Tilt Five CEO Jeri Ellsworth in front of a pinball machine.

Above: Tilt Five CEO Jeri Ellsworth in front of a pinball machine.

Image Credit: Tilt Five

And we’ll wrap it all up with a witty podcast by GamesBeat’s crew: Jeff Grubb, Rachel Kaser, Mike Minotti, and me.

Here’s the agenda for day one of the second annual GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit.

And here’s our metaverse agenda below:

Day 2 – January 26, 2022 — GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 2

Kahlief Adams of Spawn on Me.

Above: Kahlief Adams of Spawn on Me.

Image Credit: Spawn On Me

8:00 am – 8:10 am

Emcee Introduction: Kahlief Adams, captain of Spawn on Me

8:10 am  -8:25 am

Opening Remarks (Dean Takahashi)

8:25 am – 8:45 am 

Building socially-focused virtual worlds

Gaming is more social than ever, and that is getting us ready for the transition to the metaverse. How are games being designed, staffed, and operated differently as a result? Only 300 million to 400 million people are currently engaging in what we traditionally define as high fidelity virtual worlds. How do we move beyond that? We’ll explore how Bad Robot Games is approaching this.

Anna Sweet is CEO of Bad Robot Games.

Above: Anna Sweet is CEO of Bad Robot Games.

Image Credit: Bad Robot Games

Matthew Ball, Epyllion
Anna Sweet, CEO of Bad Robot Games
Tanya Watson, COO of Bad Robot Games

8:45 am – 9:15 am

How do we keep the metaverse cool?

Kim Libreri has helped make cool special effects in movies and craft the tools that game developers use to make games with near-perfect imitations of reality. He has seen the world of games and movies and technology converge. We’ll ask him what he thinks about the tools we have to automate the building of the metaverse, and the challenges in interoperability that we could face for a long time. We’ll talk about how close the metaverse can get to imitating reality, and the things that we’ll be able to do in the metaverse that we can’t do in real life.

Andrea Rene

Above: Andrea Rene of What’s Good Games

Image Credit: What's Good Games

Kim Libreri, Chief Technology Officer, Epic Games
Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat

9:15 am – 9:45 am

Reimagining the way people come together

The Roblox vision is to reimagine the way people come together. The company is making significant technological advances that are enabling deeper forms of communication, immersion, and expression.  Founder and CEO, David Baszucki will talk about how Roblox is creating the new category of human co-experience where people could play, learn, and work together in the “metaverse”– the amazing digital worlds and experiences now coming to life after decades of being dreamt about.

Keynote Dave Baszucki, CEO of Roblox
Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat

9:45 am – 10:15 am 

How brands can prosper in the metaverse

Brands could bring a lot of prosperity to the metaverse, and brands need to move to where the consumers are, and soon they may need to find these elusive people in the metaverse. How can the brands do this in an authentic and respectful way? We’ll explore that in a conversation between two of the leading thinkers about the subject.
Lindsey McInerny, former lead for technology and innovation at Anheuser-Busch InBev
Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer and CEO of Futures Intelligence Group

Cathy Hackl is CEO of Futures Intelligence Group.

Above: Cathy Hackl is CEO of Futures Intelligence Group.

Image Credit: Cathy Hackl

10:15 am – 10:45 am

Video games and the metaverse: How we will build it together

A conversation with leading industry members on building this new reality to reflect our aspirations and diversity.

Anastasia Staten, executive director of the ESA Foundation
Joanna Popper, global head of virtual reality, go-to-market at HP
Jessica Lindl, general manager and VP of social impact and education at Unity
Raffaella Camera, head of brands and advertisers solutions at Epic Games

10:45-11 am 

Feeling the metaverse
Sly Lee and Isaac Castro will talk about how the metaverse isn’t real until you can bring a sense of touch to it.
They will discuss new ways to bring more immersive senses to virtual experiences.

Sly Lee, co-CEO and cofounder of Emerge
Isaac Castro, co-CEO and cofounder of Emerge

11:00 am – 11:30 am

Building massive digital spaces

Brendan Greene changed gaming with the creation of battle royale, and his PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has sold more than 75 million copies to date. His next plan at PlayerUnknown Productions is to build an ambitious planet-scale virtual world dubbed Artemis. His team hopes to use game design, user-generated content, and machine learning to fill out the vast open world. In the meantime, he is creating Prologue, a 64-square-kilometer single-player space where a player must survive in a big wilderness. We’ll talk about the challenges of building something so ambitious.

Brendan Greene, Director, PlayerUnknown Productions
Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat

Brendan Greene at Gamelab

Above: Brendan Greene at Gamelab

Image Credit: Gamelab

11:30 am – 11:50 am 

There are no WIMPS in the metaverse

For 48 years of game GUIs, WIMPS reigned supreme. The dominant paradigm of Windows, Icons, Mouse, Pointer, and Solo play has made gaming (and the rest of computing) accessible to the average person. Now enter the Metaverse these flat screen 2D relics feel like wet newspaper stuck to the face. Supplying only a pancake layer of interaction in what players expect to be an immersive 3D world shortchanges a player’s Metaverse Dreams. After upgrading to Metaverse friendly technology, platforms, and business models; join us to understand how to design UX that immerses the player in ways that only the Metaverse can. Come learn 5 UX approaches to transform your game’s pancake WIMPS to Metaverse WHOAS. Even if your flatscreen game focuses on traditional mechanics, come grab the red pill and make whatever you’re working on feel more like the Metaverse.

Nicole Lazzaro, president and founder of XEO Design

11:50 am – 12:20 pm

Rewards and brands in the metaverse

If game companies offer rewards, it’s often limited to a single game. But what if you could collect rewards across a number of games? Or across the metaverse. How do we set up ways to cash in the rewards across exchanges and games? What are the metaphors from the real world, like coupons or Happy Meals, that work online? And how do you create rewards players will actually use? How do you also do this and stay in good graces with regulators? This talk will focus on putting gamers in the driver’s seat when it comes to rewards in the metaverse.

Moderator: Nicholas Longano, CEO of Scuti
Zach Stadlin-Robbie, head of strategic brand partnerships and business development at MiniClip
Seven Volpone, CEO of Subnation
Jillian Rothman, senior director of new business & ventures at Warner Music

Above: Rick Fox is cofounder of HiDef.

Image Credit: HiDef

12:20 pm – 12:50 pm

Real world regulations in the metaverse: What do you need to prepare for?

Everyone likes VR/AR to escape the real world, but you can’t escape regulations when doing business in the metaverse.  How do you monetize user experiences?  What are the legal and taxation requirements we need to deal with?  How do you account for inflation/deflation in a virtual economy? Leaders from venture capital, monetization, blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors will share some of their insights, predictions and what they’re doing to prepare so game development can thrive in the metaverse.

Moderator: Chris Hewish, president of Xsolla
James Gatto, Shepherd Mullin, co-head of blockchain and games team
Emily Stonehouse, Linden Lab/Tilia

Philip Rosedale

Above: Philip Rosedale

12:20 pm – 1:20 pm (Roundtable)

Roundtable: Making the metaverse accessible
Michele Landis, cofounder and CRO at Accessible360
Paula Jones Blind Chihuahua, chief creative officer
Emilie Joly, CEO of Zoe Immersive
Bell Beh, CEO BuzzAR
Sly Lee, CEO Emerge

12:50 pm – 1:20 pm

Finding your place and your meaning in the metaverse

Not everybody can be the hero. When you move into the metaverse, you’ll want to find something to do. These worlds will need farmers or blacksmiths. How can we make role-playing fun in a vast world, without bringing the doldrums of the real world to online life. And how can we make a living doing it?

Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat
Benjamin Charbit, CEO of Darewise

1:20 pm – 1:50 pm

How do you bring people together in the metaverse?

Many technologies have promised this very thing and left us with only the illusion and a fractured social experience. We need to start with the familiar places consumers already feel comfortable in. Tilt Five builds on everyone’s favorite pastime, game night, and sprinkles in augmented reality (AR). Blending physical presence and the virtual one, Tilt Five’s holographic gaming system allows for users to interact with not only one another but the holograms on their table. Jeri Ellsworth joins us to talk about how we can delight, engage, and motivate users of all different backgrounds to experience the metaverse together.

Jeri Ellsworth, CEO of Tilt Five
Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat

1:50 pm – 2:20 pm

The metaverse: past and future

A lot of the current conversation around the metaverse is around the transition from 2D to 3D and the hardware to support this transition. But maybe the metaverse is more about engaging people.This was the core principle when Philip Rosedale launched (one of) the first metaverse(s), Second Life, nearly 20 years ago, and it remains the focus of Second Life today. This session will discuss this original vision, what the company has learned after nearly 20 years of Second Life and – most importantly – where Philip and Brad Overwager see the future of the metaverse in what they believe will be an always live internet. They will cover pseudo versus real identities, the fundamental need for people to engage in trade in metaverses, and the importance of an underlying financial system – or economy – within a metaverse.

Moderator: Ina Fried, chief technology correspondent at Axios
Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity
Brad Oberwager, executive chairman of Linden Lab

2:20 pm – 2:50 pm

Planning for inclusion of new voices in the gaming metaverse 

The “meta” within metaverse implies a larger scope than currently exists with the capability of helping to build connections to shared experiences in new and meaningful ways. As the gaming metaverse continues to expand rapidly, what are the opportunities for diversity and inclusivity of new voices within building and designing the metaverse? How do we create a metaverse that includes all voices? This panel with the HiDef founders, will focus on exploring these questions as well as how to rethink the foundation of the metaverse and all the areas it touches – content, culture, identity, virtual to IRL ecosystem, payment formats and currency, hardware and multi-platforms to name a few – in order to build a more inclusive world online.

Above: Jace Hall is cofounder of HiDef.

Image Credit: HiDef

Jace Hall, cofounder at HiDef
Rick Fox, cofounder of HiDef
Moderator: N’Gai Croal, founder of Hit Detection

2:50 pm – 3:20 pm

Putting gamers and their rights at the center

The first wave of blockchain games weren’t impressive. Launched amid crypto scams, overhype, complexity, and regulatory fears – they weren’t fun. But game startups like Star Atlas are making triple-A games with more refined approaches to the market. And they’re ready to explain that their focus on gamers is what leads them to NFT technology. Is true ownership not much different from being able to sell your used games in the past, and isn’t selling tokens akin to launching games with Kickstarter campaigns? Can they convince gamers that decentralization, resales, and true ownership are good for them? Or will gamers stay happily working for game publishers like serfs toiling for the lord of the manor?

Mike Wagner, CEO of Star Atlas
Moderator: Miko Matsumura, general partner of Gumi Cryptos Capital

3:20 pm -3:50 pm 

Navigating the metaverse: A guide to limitless possibilities in a Web 3.0 world

The economics of running a virtual world within the metaverse will be a complicated matter. Game worlds and virtual worlds are complicated enough on their own. But what happens when you make the worlds interoperable and users can migrate among them? Dirk Leuth, cofounder of Upland, will talk about making the right choices in designing a metaverse economy in a conversation with Cathy Hackl. How do you get started with experiments? How do you predict user behavior? What stages do these economies have? What are the pitfalls to avoid?

Dirk Lueth, cofounder, Upland
Tommaso DiBartolo, University of California Berkeley
Yat Siu, chairman of the board, Animoca Brands

Above: Jules Urbach, CEO of Otoy.

Image Credit: Otoy

3:50 pm – 4:20 pm

The ethics of the metaverse

Among all the aspects of the forthcoming metaverse that are often discussed – from the technology and interoperability issues to the business and economic promises – one of the more fundamental and perhaps least addressed is the nature of ethics in the metaverse. With any convergence of people – real or virtual – comes the challenge of navigating diverse worldviews and perceptions of “rightness” that will require a common ethical foundation for long-term success. Join this critical conversation that explores how ethics will affect and be  affected by the metaverse.

Moderator: Kate Edwards, CEO of Geogrify
Kent Bye, host of Voices of VR
Micaela Mantegna, Berkman Klein Center affiliate at Harvard University and founder of Women in Gaming of Argentina
Jules Urbach, CEO of Otoy

4:20 pm – 4:25 pm

Closing

Kahlief Adams, captain of Spawn On Me

4:25 pm – 5:25 pm 

Online Reception and networking on Spatial

Day 3 – January 27, 2022  (Into the Metaverse 2)

8:00 am – 9:30 am

Above: Debbie Bestwick, CEO of Team17.

Image Credit: Team17

Women in Gaming Breakfast emcee Andrea Renee

Moderator: Andrea Rene, cofounder of What’s Good Games
Debbie Bestwick, CEO Team17
Laura Sturr, head of business operations and player experience at Amazon Games
Tiffany Xingyu Wang, executive at Spectrum Labs and president of Oasis Consortium.

9:30 am – 9:40 am

Emcee Introduction Andrea Rene

9:40 am  -9:45 am

Opening Remarks
Mike Minotti, reviews editor for GamesBeat

9:45 am – 10:15 am 

An open or closed metaverse? – And the opportunity for startups vs incumbents

How will the metaverse emerge? Will it be open or closed, and how will that be determined? It’s clear that all parties will need to focus on interoperability to give the metaverse more utility and meaning. How do you enable players to take avatars from one world to another? How do you improve the fidelity of the experience of being in the metaverse? This panel will address the challenges in getting the metaverse’s leading companies to cooperate on their common interests in building a metaverse where both startups and incumbents can thrive using open technology.

Moderator: Luke Alvarez, founder and general partner at Hiro Capital
Ian Livingstone, founder and general partner at Hiro Capital
Marc Petit, vice president and general manager of Unreal Engine at Epic Games
Anatoly Yakovenko, cofounder of Solana
Dr. Doom, LIV Inc

Above: Marc Petit is general manager of Unreal Engine 5.

Image Credit: Epic Games

10:15 am – 10:45 am

DAOs and the path to the open metaverse

Large companies are pouring billions into the Metaverse. So how can the rest of us have a voice at the table as we strive for an Open Metaverse? Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) offer one clear path. DAOs allow members to become owners and stakeholders who can represent a powerful counterpoint to large (and usually closed) silos.

In this session, we demystify what a DAO is and how it operates, and examine the specific ways that DAOs can give players, developers and creators a voice as we head toward building the Metaverse. In particular, we will examine the Open Meta DAO as a model and explore how it will enable an open Metaverse.

Moderator: Ryan Gill, founder of the Open Meta DAO
Chase Chapman, Decentology
Sarah Austin, Qglobe

10:45 am – 11:15 am

Blockchain powering the new metaverse economy 

Games, crypto and metaverse companies are trying to build the most engaging experience around connecting, playing, earning and participating in the future of the virtual economy. The winning economy will deliver real value, true ownership and opportunity to share in the economy’s success. We will be talking about how to create and build this new economy and avoid the pitfalls.

John Burris, chief strategy & blockchain officer, Together Labs

11:15 am – 11:45 am 

Why traditional advertising won’t work in the metaverse

In the metaverse, traditional advertising just won’t work. With a multitude of options for making money from content, advertising as we know it will go from creators’ primary income to an additional revenue stream. But as audiences and eyeballs gravitate towards the metaverse, brands can’t afford to be left on the sidelines. On top of that, the metaverse won’t draw mainstream audiences without the brands and their engaging content. So what can they do? Brands need to quickly adapt to being present in virtual worlds. They will need to work with passionate creator communities to deliver seamless and engaging virtual world content, which is both meaningful and adds value for creators and audiences alike. This panel will discuss how brands can take their first bold steps into new worlds of opportunity.

Admix CEO Samuel Huber
Michael Liu, SVP Head of Innovation, Carat/dentsu media
Doug Rosen SVP at Nickelodeon / ViacomCBS
Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat

Above: Anastasia Staten is executive director of the ESA Foundation.

Image Credit: ESA Foundation

11:45 am – 12:15 pm

Launching NFT games in the open metaverse: Decentralized gaming guilds as a channel strategy

Valve’s decision to ban blockchain games from Steam renewed concerns about the power that centralized platforms hold over developers. NFT game makers, however, are already leveraging a range of Metaverse-native distribution strategies that bypass the traditional gatekeepers to go straight to the player community instead.

Bozena Rezab, CEO of Gamee
Nicolas Gilot, Founder & CEO, Ultra.io
Sebastien Borget, chief operating officer of The Sandbox and president of the Blockchain Game Alliance
Moderator: Andrew Green, head of developer relations, Yield Guild Games

12:15 pm – 12:45 pm

Curbing toxicity in the metaverse

One of the unfortunate side effects of the metaverse’s development is the possible increase of toxic behavior. What kinds of behavior will rise on the metaverse? Is there a way we can stop toxicity before it begins? In this talk, Tiffany Xingyu Wang, the CSO of Spectrum Labs, Laura Higgins, Director of Community Safety and Civility at Roblox, and Rachel Franklin, SVP of Positive Play at Electronic Arts, will discuss ways to prevent toxicity in the rise of the metaverse.

Tiffany Wang, executive at Spectrum Labs and president of Oasis Consortium
Rachel Franklin, head of positive play at Electronic Arts
Laura Higgins, head of digital civility at Roblox
Moderator: Rachel Kaser, writer for GamesBeat

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm (Roundtables)

Roundtable: Presence and agency in the metaverse
Virtual worlds can create spaces for genuine and fulfilling interaction, but how much agency can users have while maintaining a safe space for engagement? Feelings of safety can be compromised when bad actors are given free reign. However, freedom is vital to creating a feeling of true presence. This roundtable will explore the role of presence and agency in VR, and the trade-offs developers and users need to make to create a safe metaverse for everyone.
Moderator: Stephanie Llamas, chief analyst at VoxPop
Louisa Spring, CEO of Sam Immersive
Jessica Ochoa Hendrix
CEO & Co-Founder, Killer Snails

Roundtable: Forget Snow Crash. The real metaverse won’t be like sci-fi

From Snow Crash’s Metaverse to Ready Player One’s OASIS, the dream of a “do anything, be anything” virtual world has persisted. But while mega-corporations build new virtual spaces that they can control and sell advertising space in, a freer, more open metaverse is being built with parallels to the open source movement. This roundtable will discusses how utility NFTs will be the building blocks here, why user ownership and governance matters, and why the revolution will be decentralized.
Moderator: Caleb Applegate, COO of Enjin
Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat
Witek Radomski, chief technology officer at Enjin
Cliff Cawley, Lost Relics

Tiffany Xingyu Wang is CEO of the Oasis Consortium.

Above: Tiffany Xingyu Wang executive at Spectrum Labs and president of Oasis Consortium.

Image Credit: Oasis Consortium/Spectrum Labs

12:45 pm – 1:15 pm

Transacting in the metaverse

The metaverse opens countless new ways for brands to advertise, monetize, and evangelize their products. Transacting in the metaverse will rely on a mix of new and existing technologies, combined with modern infrastructures to facilitate payments, e-wallets, trading, and more. Join our session to learn about:

  • Innovative businesses leading the shift to the digital world
  • Integrating your back-office to support new revenue streams
  • Facilitating payments to partners
  • Predictions for how commerce unfolds

Chris Smith, Founder, BIG Esports
Josh Marcus, COO Rumble Gaming
Evan Hedy, senior marketing manager at Tipalti
Moderator: Dean Takahashi

Above: Sarah Austin of Qglobe

Image Credit: Sarah Austin

1:15 pm – 1:45 pm

Why the plumbing behind the metaverse matters

In the metaverse, virtual interactions need to feel human. This means interactions need to be real time, lag free, dynamic, engaging and human centric, regardless of geography. The team at Gather has developed a platform that allows for virtual spaces via metaverse-like experiences to give teams a way to connect and collaborate. Over the last few years, the technology to support and allow for an experience like Gather to exist has become more and more readily available. It’s these solutions that act as the plumbing for the metaverse. In this session, we’ll discuss the importance of the plumbing that powers experiences like Gather and how these solutions are making the metaverse become more and more real for people around the globe.

William King, cofounder CTO-Subspace
Kumail Jaffer, cofounder CTO Gather.Town
Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat

1:45 pm – 2:15 pm

How blockchain gaming will go mainstream

A chicken-and-egg problem is stalling the progress of NFT games. Blockchain advocates and crypto fans are flocking to these games, but the real market will arrive when the mass market game companies start taking advantage of NFTs. But fear of regulation and resistance from hardcore gamers may hold these big companies back. How can blockchain game companies break this logjam?

Moderator: Chris Akhavan, chief business officer, Forte
Jerome Collin, CEO at SuperTeam
Kuleen Nimkar, business development at Solana
BoredElonMusk

2:15 pm – 2:45 pm 

From the metaverse to the simulation/matrix

How we get from the metaverse and then get into the discussion about whether we’re living in a simulation already. Video game metaphors make sense in this discussion, but it can also include as questions of ontology (what is real) and epistemology (how do you know what is real). Will glitches tell us if we’re living in a simulation? Are we building the Matrix already? Are we building a computational multiverse? And does Riz really believe we are living in a simulation?
Riz Virk, head of MIT Gamelab

2:45 pm – 3:15 pm

How to enable massive virtual worlds
Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable
Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat

Riz Virk is an MIT computer scientist and frequent speaker.

Above: Riz Virk is an MIT computer scientist and frequent speaker.

Image Credit: Riz Virk

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm

Enter a user-led, reality-based metaverse

We are on the cusp of a fundamental change in the way we use technology to interact with each other as multiple cornerstones of the metaverse have begun to emerge. Varjo will share how it is creating a reality-based metaverse where users can interact with each other, not as avatars, but as lifelike human images in a real-time 3D digitized world of their physical surroundings can transform both professional work and personal lives. Hear how mixed reality technology is already bridging our physical world with the unlimited flexibility of the virtual world, and why the future of the metaverse should be user-led, not controlled by tech giants.

Urho Konttori, cofounder of Varjo

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Metaverse development: Infrastructure and investment trends

Everyone wants to build in the metaverse, but outside of a few large players they don’t always have the knowledge or tools to get started. We’ll discuss what tools are being developed and funded to accelerate development of metaverses, and how they can help keep the metaverse “open.” We’ll also discuss investment trends for the metaverse and what they mean.

Moderator: Wes Levitt, head of strategy at Theta Labs
Marc Thom, senior investment manager, Sony Innovation Fund
Ibrahim AlSuwaid, investment VP at DCM Ventures
Nick Birnbaum, partner and head of research, Alpha Sigma Capital

Above: Richard Kerris is vice president of Omniverse development.

Image Credit: Nvidia

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

A metaverse for enterprises: Non-gaming industrial virtual worlds

The metaverse presents an enormous opportunity for enterprises to transform their businesses. With advances in 3D and simulation technology, individual artists, collaborative teams, and even AI agents can share creations and build digital assets and environments that all companies will need to make the metaverse seem real. We’ll look at all the ways that virtual worlds can prove useful as companies big and small plant their stakes in the emerging landscape. We can explore whether games and industrial simulations will help each other out in fleshing out the realized vision of the metaverse beyond social gatherings.

Moderator: Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat
Nivedita Ojha, VP of Platform and Data Strategy, Autodesk
Richard Kerris, VP of Omniverse development platform, Nvidia
Marc Petit, GM of Unreal Engine, Epic Games

Raph Koster is CEO of Playable Worlds.

Raph Koster is CEO of Playable Worlds.4:30 pm – 4:48 pm

Real talk about a real metaverse

Lots of people are promising a metaverse real soon now. Raph Koster has actually built one before, so he’ll tell us why it’s harder than people think, and what is required to actually fulfill those dreams. He’ll talk about the difficulty of interoperability, how people behave, the importance of creating standards, and the need to focus on fun.

Raph Koster, CEO of Playable Worlds

4:48 pm – 5:08 pm

GamesBeat crew podcast

Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat
Rachel Kaser, writer for GamesBeat
Jeff Grubb, staff writer for GamesBeat
Mike Minotti, reviews editor for GamesBeat

5:08 pm – 5:13 pm

Closing

Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat

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