GamesBeat Next 2023, a two-day event that united gaming industry leaders for exceptional content, networking, and deal-making opportunities, concluded on October 24 in San Francisco. The event featured 31 sessions and 96 speakers, covering topics such as game jobs, user-generated content, AI, blockchain, cloud gaming, esports, diversity, and more. Here are some of the highlights from the event.
One of the most popular sessions at GamesBeat Next 2023 was a panel discussion on how to find game jobs in a competitive market. The panelists included Jen MacLean, managing director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA); Kate Edwards, executive director of the Global Game Jam; Michael Condrey, co-founder and president of 31st Union; and Rami Ismail, co-founder of Vlambeer and founder of Meditations. The session was moderated by Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat.
The panelists shared their insights and advice on how to stand out from the crowd, how to network effectively, how to showcase your skills and portfolio, how to negotiate your salary and benefits, and how to deal with rejection and feedback. They also discussed the challenges and opportunities of working remotely, freelancing, or starting your own studio.
Some of the key takeaways from the panel were:
- Be passionate about games and the industry, but also be realistic about your expectations and goals.
- Be flexible and adaptable to different roles, projects, and platforms.
- Be proactive and persistent in your job search, but also respectful and courteous to potential employers.
- Be open to learning new skills and technologies, but also focus on your strengths and specialties.
- Be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a game developer, and join organizations like IGDA or Global Game Jam for support and resources.
User-generated content and AI: The future of gaming?
Another session that sparked a lot of interest was a fireside chat between Nicola Sebastiani, chief content officer of The Sandbox, a blockchain-based virtual world platform; and Dean Takahashi. They talked about how user-generated content (UGC) and artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming the gaming industry and creating new possibilities for players and creators.
Sebastiani explained how The Sandbox allows anyone to create, own, and monetize their own games and assets using simple tools and blockchain technology. He also shared some of the success stories of creators who have made millions of dollars by selling their creations on the platform.
Takahashi asked Sebastiani about the role of AI in UGC platforms, and how it can enhance or replace human creativity. Sebastiani said that AI can be a powerful tool for generating content, but it can also pose ethical and legal challenges. He said that The Sandbox is exploring ways to use AI to assist creators, but not to replace them.
He also said that UGC platforms need to balance the freedom of expression of creators with the quality and safety of content. He said that The Sandbox has a moderation system that filters out inappropriate or harmful content, but also respects the diversity and creativity of its community.
Other sessions from GamesBeat Next 2023
GamesBeat Next 2023 also featured many other sessions that showcased the latest trends and innovations in the gaming industry. Some of them were:
- A keynote speech by Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, who talked about how Fortnite is evolving into a metaverse platform that connects players across different games, devices, and media.
- A panel discussion on how cloud gaming is changing the way games are developed, distributed, and played. The panelists included Phil Harrison, vice president and general manager of Google Stadia; Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president of Project xCloud at Microsoft; Jack Buser, senior director of content acquisitions at PlayStation Now; and Jason Rubin, vice president of special gaming initiatives at Facebook.
- A fireside chat between Mike Pondsmith, founder of R. Talsorian Games and creator of Cyberpunk; and Dean Takahashi. They talked about the origins and evolution of Cyberpunk as a science fiction genre and a game franchise, as well as its impact on popular culture.
- A panel discussion on how esports is becoming a mainstream phenomenon that attracts millions of fans, players, sponsors, and media. The panelists included Nicole LaPointe Jameson, CEO of Evil Geniuses; John Needham, global head of esports at Riot Games; Johannes Waldstein, founder and CEO of FanAI; and Kevin Lin, co-founder of Twitch.
- A panel discussion on how diversity and inclusion are essential for the growth and success of the gaming industry. The panelists included Gordon Bellamy, visiting scholar at USC Games; Megan Gaiser, co-founder of Spiral Media; Keisha Howard, founder of Sugar Gamers; and Kiki Wolfkill, studio head of Halo Transmedia and Entertainment at 343 Industries.
GamesBeat Next 2023 was a successful and inspiring event that brought together gaming industry leaders and enthusiasts from around the world. The event also announced the winners of the Game Changers 2023 list, which recognizes the most promising game startups of the year. The winners were:
- Bitwave, a platform that enables gamers to create and share interactive stories using voice and text.
- Forte, a platform that enables game developers to integrate blockchain technology and create new economic models for their games.
- Modulate, a platform that uses AI to create realistic and expressive voice skins for online communication and entertainment.
- Resolution Games, a studio that creates immersive and accessible VR and AR games for everyone.
- Stardust, a platform that uses AI to generate personalized game recommendations and experiences for players.