Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.

Our next speakers for our upcoming GamesBeat Summit event will talk about “Bucking the status quo: Redesigning leadership for diverse talent, perspectives, and products.”

They will speak at our event entitled GamesBeat Summit 2017: How games, sci-fi, and tech create real-world magic. GamesBeat Summit 2017 will take place on May 1-2 at the historic Claremont resort hotel in Berkeley, Calif., just a short distance from San Francisco. You can secure your seat here. Use “VB6” at checkout for 10 percent off.

The speakers on the panel include Megan Gaiser, the CEO of Spiral Media; Rami Ismail, the cofounder of Vlambeer; Asi Burak of Power Play; and Asra Rasheed, the producer at Disney. The moderator will be Guy Bendov, the CEO of Side-kick Games.

Here’s what the panel is about. The news is dominated these days by the fear of the future and of “the other.” Revised immigration policies, the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, and provocative remarks have mobilized millions around the world who are afraid of losing their jobs and national identity.


GamesBeat Summit 2023

Join the GamesBeat community in Los Angeles this May 22-23. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry to share their updates on the latest developments.

Register Here

Progress on diversity issues, equality in the workplace, and true international collaboration are challenged on a daily basis, and we need to invest in a leadership transformation to proactively find creative solutions. How do we advance the gaming and tech industries in the right direction and welcome diverse people, perspectives, and products without leaving anyone behind?

Asi Burak, CEO of Power Play and chairman of Games for Change.

Above: Asi Burak, the CEO of Power Play and chairman of Games for Change.

Image Credit: Power Play

Asi Burak is the CEO of Power Play and chairman of the game industry group Games for Change, which produces the largest gaming event in NYC, the annual Games for Change Festival.

He has served as a strategic advisor to organizations like EON Productions (producer of the James Bond films), Tribeca Enterprises, Newsweek, and McCann Erickson, helping to guide the strategic use of games and digital experiences to further brand engagement.

Prior to serving as G4C’s President from 2010 to 2015, Asi co-founded and led Impact Games, the creators of PeaceMaker and Play the News (acquired by Hybrid Learning Systems in 2010).

Megan Gaiser, CEO of Spiral Media and principal at Contagious Creativity.

Above: Megan Gaiser, the CEO of Spiral Media and principal at Contagious Creativity.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Megan Gaiser is the CEO of Spiral Media and principal of Contagious Creativity. She guides technology and entertainment companies to create meaning and money. She serves as a senior creative leader, strategist, director, and storyteller for inspired computing experience across games & VR/AR and films.

As one of the first female CEOs in the gaming industry, Gaiser spent the last 15 years experiencing the game industry as both an insider and an outsider. This unique vantage point enabled her to not only sidestep the outdated habits of the game industry but to capture the female market by creating the first intelligent game for girls via the Nancy Drew franchise. Gaiser gained a reputation for identifying and engaging unproven markets, inspiring collaboration, and showing a commitment to the highest artistic and aesthetic qualities.

Guy Bendov, CEO of Sidekick VR.

Above: Guy Bendov, CEO of Sidekick VR.

Image Credit: Sidekick VR

Guy Bendov is a cofounder and the CEO of Side-kick Games, a developer and publisher of cutting-edge games. Side-kick has been creating games for and with leading publishers and tech leaders such as Square Enix, DeNA, Disney, and Rovio as well as Intel, LeapMotion, PrimeSense, and Google Labs.

In addition, Guy heads SidekickVR, which teams with publishers and brand owners, such as DeNA West and Lionsgate Studios, to bring exciting mobile VR games to market. He has more than 20 years of experience, and in 2007, he cofounded GameIS, the Israeli games association, and serves as its chairman.

Asra Rasheed of Disney and Justin Hefter of Bandura Games at GamesBeat 2015's diversity panel.

Above: Asra Rasheed of Disney and Justin Hefter of Bandura Games at GamesBeat 2015’s diversity panel.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Asra Rasheed is the executive producer at The Walt Disney Company. She has more than 15 years of experience and extensive domain knowledge in digital media, ecommerce, and mobile.

She has strength in content development, architecting distribution platforms, interactive reading products, games, children’s entertainment, digital publishing, content acquisition, interactive design, strategic partnerships, and brand management.

Rami Ismail, a thought leader among indies, talks with Dean Takahashi at GamesBeat Summit 2016.

Above: Rami Ismail, a thought leader among indies, talks with Dean Takahashi at GamesBeat Summit 2016.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Rami Ismail is cofounder of Vlambeer, a two-person company based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It has produced hits like Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers, and Nuclear Throne. The company has been around for six years, but Ismail is an outspoken leader and thoughtful supporter of independent games and their role at large. He has traveled the world as one of the big voices of the indie game industry, presenting at a wide range of conferences and speaking out on issues such as diversity, Muslim representation in games, #GamerGate, and uncompensated crunch time in games.

Other speakers include Rich Hilleman of Amazon Game Studios; Chris Roberts, the CEO of Roberts Space Industries; Akshay Khanna of the Philadelphia 76ers; Greg Richardson of Team Dignitas; Ted Price, the CEO of Insomniac Games; Mike Gallagher, the CEO of the Entertainment Software Association; John Underkoffler, the CEO of Oblong Industries and science advisor for Minority Report; Gary Whitta, the screenwriter for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; Richard Marks of Sony PlayStation; Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games; Owen Mahoney, the CEO of Nexon; and Jamil Moledina of Google Play.

Inspiring moments lead to disrupting the worlds of gaming, tech, and entertainment. Who hasn’t been influenced by great novels like Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, which gave us virtual worlds, or Tom Cruise’s data gloves and gesture-controlled computer in Minority Report? Now, those things have become real, and we want to see what’s coming next.

Our theme is about what inspires game developers, executives, and investors to be creative. Part of the event will focus on the inspiration cycle that is accelerating as the walls between science fiction, video games, and real-world technology come down. We don’t think there’s another conference that focuses on the seams between these industries.

This event will focus on inspiration and creativity. So much of what used to be science fiction is coming true, and it is inspiring even more accelerated visions of the future in games and other entertainment. We hope to inspire you by taking you to the moments that led to great ideas across multiple industries. You’ll leave refreshed and ready to change the worlds of gaming, technology, and more.

We think this conference will offer a rare chance for cross-pollination and networking between high-level people in different industries, and we believe that insights in one place can lead to inspirations in another.

This conference is for high-end gaming executives, startup CEOs, developers, investors, publishers, marketers, tech experts, entertainment industry professionals, sci-fi experts, AR and VR executives, and other professionals. I should also point out that this is where we try to create an actual GamesBeat community with our supporters, readers, and attendees. We gather the right people in the room and encourage everyone to get to know each other. Join us.

If you’re interested in sponsoring, message Thanks to our initial sponsors Samsung, Intel, and Blackstorm.

Breakout sessions

  • Intersection of sci-fi, games, and tech
  • Monetization: How to acquire and retain your user base
  • Deals: Follow the money
  • Esports and community
  • Emerging markets for games
  • Platforms: Where to place your bets? VR, AR, and more
  • Creativity and diversity

Advisory board

  • Sam Barlow, game developer of Her Story and creative director at Interlude
  • Michael Chang, senior vice president at NCSoft
  • Daniel Cho, chairman at Innospark
  • Jay Eum, managing director, Translink Capital
  • Clinton Foy, chairman of the Immortals and managing director at Crosscut Ventures
  • Megan Gaiser, co-CEO at Spiral Media
  • Lee Jones, global business lead Google Ads
  • Perrin Kaplan, principal at Zebra Partners
  • Roy Liu, general manager at Linekong USA
  • Wanda Meloni, executive director of the Open Gaming Alliance
  • Jamil Moledina, game strategic lead at Google Play
  • Adam Orth, founder at Three One Zero
  • Mihai Pohontu, vice president of emerging technologies at Samsung
  • Phil Sanderson, managing director at IDG Ventures
  • Mike Sepso, cofounder of MLG and senior vice president at Activision Blizzard
  • Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors
  • Margaret Wallace, CEO of Playmatics
  • Marco DeMiroz, cofounder, The Venture Reality Fund

I’ve been writing about our theme for a while. I’ve written about the accelerating cycle of inspiration between tech, games, and science fiction. I interviewed Shane Wall, HP’s chief technology officer, about the connection between sci-fi and tech. The Westworld TV show also explored the seams between artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and video games.

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