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GamesBeat Summit Digital speakers: Stanley Pierre-Louis, Keisha Howard, Blake Harris, and Josh Tsui


We’re taking GamesBeat Summit 2020 into a digital online-only format. And here’s the next slate of speakers: Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association; Keisha Howard, founder of Sugar Gamers; Blake Harris, author of Console Wars and The History of the Future; and Josh Tsui, director of the upcoming Insert Coin documentary.

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.

Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of Entertainment Software Association

Above: Stanley Pierre-Louis is CEO of the ESA.

Image Credit: ESA

I’m pleased to announce that Stanley Pierre-Louis, the acting head of the Entertainment Software Association, will speak at GamesBeat Summit Digital. Pierre-Louis had to make some tough decisions recently. Because of the pandemic, he had to cancel the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the big game trade show that takes place every June in Los Angeles. And instead of rescheduling it, the ESA decided to postpone a new physical E3 show until June 2021.

GamesBeat Summit - It's a time of change in the game industry. Hosted online April 28-29.

Pierre-Louis is the voice and advocate for the U.S. video game industry. With more than two decades of entertainment and media experience, he leads ESA’s public policy efforts to showcase the dynamic impact the video game industry has on business, entertainment, and culture.

Prior to being named CEO in May 2019, Stan served as the ESA’s general counsel, leading the legal, policy, and regulatory affairs function for the organization. Before joining the ESA in May 2015, Pierre-Louis served as senior vice president and associate general counsel for intellectual property at Viacom, as senior vice president for legal affairs at the Recording Industry Association of America, and as outside counsel to leading media companies. He started his legal career as a law clerk to Judge David A. Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and has served on several non-profit boards.

Keisha Howard, founder of Sugar Gamers

Keisha Howard, Sugar Gamers

Above: Keisha Howard, Sugar Gamers

Image Credit: Sugar Gamers

Infectiously passionate about the worlds of video games and geek culture, Keisha Howard is a leader who has created a compelling and engaging vision and inspires others around it. A multi-time GamesBeat Summit, Howard is able foresee what lies beyond the horizon for the video game and e-sports industries. She regards video games as more than just entertainment, but a system of ideas and processes that can move and inspire people to action. For the second year in a row, she will moderate a talk with Pierre-Louis.

Howard started Sugar Gamers over 10 years ago while pursuing a career in high-rise real estate development. She started this media tech company without outside resources or funds, yet is able to create unorthodox solutions to the seemingly countless problems that exist while bootstrapping an entrepreneurial endeavor. She’s created a unique community, united not only by common interests in gaming and geek culture, but by the mission of promoting diversity and inclusiveness in a space that often suffers from the lack of it.

Her journey has afforded her the opportunity to work with brands like SYFY, Watchmojo, AT&T, HBO, Nintendo, HTC, Microsoft, Google and more.

Blake Harris, author of Console Wars and The History of the Future

Above: Blake Harris’ most recent book is The History of the Future.

Image Credit: Blake Harris

Blake J. Harris is the bestselling author of Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation, which is currently being adapted for television by Legendary Entertainment, and producers Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg and Scott Rudin. Harris has written for ESPN, IGN, Fast Company, /Film and The AV Club and appears regularly on Paul Scheer’s How Did This Get Made? podcast (where he interviews the biggest names responsible for the worst movies ever made).

His latest book, The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook and the Revolution that swept Virtual Reality, was published by HarperCollins in February 2019. I’ve read both of his books and found them very entertaining and enlightening.

Josh Tsui, director of Insert Coin

Above: Josh Tsui is director of Insert Coin.

Image Credit: Josh Tsui

Joshua Tsui spent over two decades working in video game development as a director on key franchises such as Mortal Kombat, Fight Night, and Tony Hawk.

Having studied film in college, he accidentally got into games development and put his filmmaking career on hold. Insert Coin, a history of Midway Games, brings him back to his roots with a subject he holds dear.

Event details

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. Last week, we announced speakers such as former Blizzard Entertainment president and cofounder Mike Morhaime, Mike Frazzini of Amazon Game Studios, and Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 (all times Pacific time)

Alina Soltys is cofounder of Quantum Tech Partners.

Above: Alina Soltys is cofounder of Quantum Tech Partners.

Image Credit: Quantum Tech Partners

9:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Boss Stage: Introductory remarks by Dean Takahashi, lead writer for VentureBeat’s GamesBeat

9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Boss Stage: “Serious money going into esports and gaming: Mergers, acquisitions, and fundraising trends” with Alina Soltys, founder of Quantum Tech Partners

​9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Boss Stage: “The rise of new independent publishers” with Michael Worosz, executive vice president for corporate development and independent publishing at Take-Two Interactive, moderated by Michael Metzger, partner at Drake Star Partners

Hero Stage: “The future of gaming is user-generated content” with Matt Curtis, VP of Developer Relations at Roblox

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Boss stage: Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon

​Hero Stage: Esports with Neo Liu, head of publishing for Tencent North America; Karim Farghaly of Bandai Namco; and Jacob Navok, CEO of Genvid Technologies; moderated by David Hoppe of Gamma Law

10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

Boss Stage: Mike Morhaime, cofounder and former president of Blizzard Entertainment, moderated by Seth Schiesel

​Hero Stage: “The Leisure Economy” with John Linden, CEO, Mythical Games

Above: GamesBeat Summit Digital speakers

Image Credit: VentureBeat/GamesBeat

​11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Boss Stage: Fireside Chat with Stanley Pierre-Louis, CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, moderated by Keisha Howard of Sugar Gamers

​Hero Stage: “Choose your own adventure: The evolution of storytelling through the next generation” with Gary Whitta of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, moderated by Tina Amini of IGN

​11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Boss Stage: “Gaming’s future as the best form of entertainment,” Jon Goldman of Greycroft and GC Tracker Fund, moderated by Andreea Enache of Blind Squirrel Entertainment

​Hero Stage: “We are who we pretend to be” with Edward Saatchi of Fable Studio, moderated by Dean Takahashi

​12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Breakout sessions, Networking Roundtables, Slack Q&A, Community Discussion

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Boss Stage: Scopely co-CEO Javier Ferreira

Hero Stage: “Game investments in the age of the coronavirus” with Ryan McDermott of Resolute Partners Group

​1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Boss Stage: “Facebook creative testing: Why the control is so hard to beat” with Brian Bowman, CEO of Consumer Acquisition (solo talk)

Hero Stage: “Using AI for game testing,” with PinkLion CEO Jennifer Bonine (solo talk)

​2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Boss Stage: “Console cycles: The old, the new, and the future” with Rob Dyer, chief operating officer at Capcom, moderated by Mike Vorhaus of Vorhaus Advisors

​Hero Stage: “Bulletproofing your brand strategy in the age of influencers” with Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements

​2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Boss Stage: “What to expect in early-stage fundraising” with David Gardner of London Venture Partners; Gregory Milken of March Capital Partners; and Shanti Bergel of Transcend Fund; moderated by David Chang of Asmodee Digital

​2:30 p.m. – -3:00 p.m.

Hero Stage: “Industry-facing game education – A Snapshot of the USC Games program” with Richard Lemarchand, Associate Professor at USC Games Program, moderated by Brandon Sheffield of Necrosoft Games

​3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Hero Stage: Series A/B Panel with Phil Sanderson of Griffin Gaming Partners; Michael Cheung of Makers Fund; moderated by Eric Goldberg of Crossover Technologies

3:45 pm – 4 p.m. Hero Stage break

Above: Phil Sanderson of IDG Ventures

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

​3:15 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Boss Stage: “How Thatgamecompany enabled a wholesome community in Sky” with Jenova Chen, Co-Founder of Thatgamecompany

​4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Boss Stage: “Building out charity in the games space” with Stephen Machuga of Stack-Up

​Hero Stage: “Your Gamer DNA” with Chethan Ramachandran, CEO of Skillprint; moderated by Keisha Howard of Sugar Gamers

​4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Boss Stage: Fireside Chat with Peter Akemann, CEO at Skydance Interactive

​Hero Stage: “The Realities of crossplay and managing live services” with Jesse Houston, CEO of Phoenix Labs; moderated by Dean Takahashi

​5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Boss Stage: “The Constant of Creativity” with Glen Schofield, Founder of Striking Distance Studios

​Hero Stage: “External Development Stories” with Mihai Pohontu, CEO of Amber Studios

​5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Connect with the community online. Join online Q&A, breakout sessions, and try fun and new digital event technology.

​Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Above: GamesBeat’s Mike Minotti hams it at the media table. Want to join him?

Image Credit: Michael O’Donnell/GamesBeat

8:00 a.m.

Women in Gaming Virtual Breakfast, Presented by Niantic. Speakers include Kellee Santiago of Niantic, Nonny de la Peña of Emblematic Group, and Elizabeth Howard of Aspyr

​9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Boss Stage: Opening remarks — Mike Minotti, reviews editor at GamesBeat

​10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Boss Stage: “The future of influencer marketing” with Mari Takahashi of Smosh Games; Joshua Ovenshire of Arcade Cloud; moderated by Andrea Rene of What’s Good Games

​Hero Stage: “How to run a great writers room” with Adam Foshko of HBO; moderated by Mark Long of HBO

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Boss Stage: “Recapturing the history of games,” Josh Tsui of Ten Point Oh and Blake Harris, author of Console Wars and A History of the Future; moderated by Dean Takahashi

Hero Stage: Lightning round talks

“Play with My Emotions: A Case for (more) Romance & Sex in Games’ with Zsuzsa James, Team Finland Coordinator for Video Games & Esports; Andrew Maximov, CEO of Promethean AI; Barry Jenkins, CEO of Primal Space Systems and Instant Interactive

​11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Boss Stage: “Why gaming will be at the center of the future entertainment universe” with Josh Yguado, Co-Founder & President of Jam City, moderated by Amy Allison of Skydance

​Hero Stage: Fireside Chat with Elan Lee, cofounder of Exploding Kittens; moderated by Theresa Duringer of Temple Gates Games

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Above: Josh Yguado, chief operating officer of Jam City.

Image Credit: Jam City

Boss Stage: “Experiencing technical difficulty” with Mitch Lasky of Benchmark Capital; moderated by Eric Goldberg of Crossover Technologies

​11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Hero Stage: “How game developers can adapt to the world after COVID-19,” with Renee Gittins, Executive Director of IGDA, moderated by Justin Berenbaum of Xsolla

​12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Boss Stage: Fireside Chat with Bernard Kim of Zynga; moderated by Patrick Shanley of The Hollywood Reporter

​12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Breakout sessions, Networking Roundtables, Slack Q&A, Community Discussion

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Boss Stage: “Gaming has always paved the way in mobile and user acquisition” with Paul Muller, CTO of Adjust; moderated by Dean Takahashi

Hero Stage: “The EVE Effect” with Hilmar Pétursson, CEO of CCP

1:30 p.m – 2:00 p.m.

Boss Stage: “The Metaverse is Coming” with Philip Rosedale of High Fidelity; Matthew Ball of Epyllion Industries; Raph Koster of Playable Worlds; Frederic Descamps of Manticore Games; moderated by Sam Englebardt of Galaxy Interactive

Hero Stage: “The mainstreaming of esports,” panel including Mark Chang, head of gaming and esports at Intel

​2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Boss Stage: Fireside chat with Brent Bushnell of Two Bit Circus

Hero Stage: “Strategies for mental wellness in gaming,” speakers John Smedley of Amazon Studios; Mark Chandler of The International Game Summit for Mental Health; and Eve Crevoshay of Take This.

​2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Boss Stage: “The real world games of the future: Designing AR/Geospatial/Purposeful games,” with Greg Borrud of Niantic (solo talk)

​Hero Stage: “Diversity and inclusion: How to create virtual and accessible resources for marginalized communities during a pandemic/in the face of uncertainty,” with Nika Nour, Executive Director of IGDA Foundation, moderated by gaming personality Jessica Chobot

​3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Eric Schiermeyer is CEO of Blockchain Game Partners.

Above: Eric Schiermeyer is CEO of Blockchain Game Partners.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Boss Stage: Fireside Chat with Neil Young, CEO of N3twork, moderated by Bing Gordon of Kleiner Perkins

Hero Stage: Blockchain panel with Sebastian Borget of The Sandbox; Peter Kieltyka of Horizon Blockchain Games; and Eric Schiermeyer of Blockchain Game Partners; Taehoon Kim, CEO of nWay; moderated by James Zhang of Concept Art House

​3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Breakout sessions, Networking Roundtables, Slack Q&A, Community Discussion

​3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Boss Stage: “Games M&A: Open for business” with Michael Chang of NCSoft; Chris Petrovic of Zynga; Nick Tuosto of LionTree; and Affan Butt of Aream & Co.; moderated by Mark Stevens of Fenwick & West LLP

​Hero Stage: Asia Gaming Panel with Bill Wang of Giant Network; Amy Huang of Mattel163; Cynthia Du of Cocos; Jeff Lyndon of iDreamSky; moderated by Lisa Cosmas Hanson of Niko Partners ​

4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

Boss Stage: “Working backward from the players: Amazon’s approach to games,” with Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon, moderated by Dean Takahashi

Hero Stage: “Player behavior: Your secret growth tool,” with Carlos Figueiredo of Two Hat Security, Clara Siegel of Facebook, and Kim Voll of Stray Bombay; moderated by Kate Edwards of The Global Game Jam

​4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Lisa Cosmas Hanson is managing director at Niko Partners.

Above: Lisa Cosmas Hanson is managing director at Niko Partners.

Image Credit: Niko Partners

Boss Stage: Singtel

​Hero Stage: Fireside Chat with Danny Bilson, Chair, Interactive Media, Games Division at USC​

5:15 pm – 5:45 pm

Boss Stage: To be announced

​Hero Stage: To be announced

​5:45 p.m.

Connect with the community online. Join online Q&A, breakout sessions, and try fun and new digital event technology.



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