Connect with the top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 from May 22-23. Register here.
One of the most interesting moments of our GamesBeat Summit 2023 conference will come in a conversation or debate – on our online day on May 24 – between Sharon Tal Yguado, CEO of Astrid Entertainment, and Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox Entertainment.
They both have strong views on transmedia, or a mix of movies and games, which is a big part of our theme at our three-day summit starting Monday. And they disagree. This is just one of the reasons I’m so excited about our online summit day. We will have two days of in-person interviews in Los Angeles on May 22 and 23, followed by our online day on May 24. (You can use this code GBSDEANNEWS for 40% off the entire event; see the full agenda here).
I will also hold a “watch party” during the online day. Ask me on Twitter (deantak) or Facebook how to join it.
Tal Yguado comes from television and film, and she built studio divisions at Amazon and Fox. She helmed shows like The Walking Dead, The Boys, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Wheel of Time, and Invincible. Pitchford is known to us not only as a magician, but also as the creator of games such as The Borderlands series. Now he’s trying a Borderlands movie and more. Seeing these two trading sightings is going to be a real treat – and a fiery one. Their main point of discussion is what comes first to make a single intellectual property a transmedia success.
Our day is expertly led by Chris Melissinos of AWS, a veteran of our GamesBeat Summit events.
The online show on May 24 kicks off with a discussion between Yat Siu of Animoca Brands and Miko Matsumura of Gumi Cryptos Capital as they discuss the challenges facing blockchain games in the wake of the cycles of hype and skepticism.
We’ll hear from Chris Cocks, Hasbro’s CEO, on how an iconic toy company is bringing brands like Nerf, Transformers, Monopoly, Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering into the digital space as it enters its second 100 years of doing business. Michael Metzger of Drake Star Partners will pop several questions out of his hat for Cocks, who will answer them all.
I had to laugh a little when I saw the Insider’s headline about how “the metaverse is dead.” We also get some perspective on that idea from someone with a very different perspective in Japan. Hironao Kunimitsu, CEO of VR game company Thirdverse, will talk to me about why he still believes in the metaverse, and how VR games like X8 will take him there one step at a time.
Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive, is a notoriously button-down, no-nonsense leader. Mike Vorhaus of Vorhaus Advisers couldn’t get him to talk about Grand Theft Auto VI. But Vorhaus will disarm Zelnick a bit by getting him to talk about the risks he took in the early days of his career. It’s interesting to see how he made decisions and still makes some of the biggest bets in entertainment today.
And while it’s great to hear Zelnick talk about things like the metaverse and NFTs, it’s also interesting to hear what his employees think of the ideas that are bubbling up among employees. We hear Chanel Ward, director of diversity, equality and inclusion at Take-Two, moderate a panel featuring three leaders from the employee resource groups at Take-Two. Those have become critical voices for employees to be heard, especially when it comes to diversity issues and how to make games more engaging for all gamers.
The future of VR and the metaverse will remind us of how our summit began with a metaverse focus, and we’ll have GamesBeat’s Rachel Kaser moderate a fireside on the subject with Tommy Palm, CEO of Resolution Games. We’ll also hear some collaborative research from Meta/Facebook Gaming’s Tim Lion and Stephen Gray and Newzoo’s Alexis Pamboris as they explored gamers’ feelings about the metaverse, with some surprising results given the wave of skepticism we’re now having.
And ServiceNow’s Shuchi Rana will take our Metaverse Forum to a new chapter with a discussion of metaverse challenges with Nick Tornow, vice president of engineering at Roblox; Wagner James Au, author of Create a metaverse that matters; and Chris Brandt, CMO of Chipotle. They have a lot of strong opinions about how to move the metaverse forward, and they certainly don’t think it’s dead.
In a discussion between Sheridan Tatsuno, founder of Dreamscape Global, and Susanna Pollack, president of Games for Change, we moved into new voices territory with a discussion about how games can get people to think more about climate change. And we’ll see how we can think about bringing industries beyond games together with gaming talent to drive better outcomes for climate action and help gamers save our planet.
As we approach our end, we hear from John Needham, president of esports at Riot Games, and Jordan Fragen, author of GamesBeat, share why Riot Games loves esports. It’s been going on for over a decade and the League of Legends and Valorant esports programs have set the industry standard for in-game integrations, scale, production value, and brand partnerships. It’s a fascinating journey and it’s not over yet.
We close the online day with the discussion between Tal Yguado, who left Amazon Studios to start her own game company Astrid Entertainment, and Pitchford, one of the most colorful CEOs in gaming, as they discuss the best way to do the magic with IPs. to find. built on transmedia ambitions.
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