GamesBeat Summit speakers: Edward Saatchi, Elan Lee, and Doron Nir

GamesBeat Summit 2020 will focus on the latest trends in the gaming ecosystem, and today we’re introducing a trio of speakers who are bringing exciting ideas to the industry.

In separate talks, Edward Saatchi of Fable Studios, Doron Nir of StreamElements, and Elan Lee of Exploding Kittens will speak at our event, which will take place on April 28 and April 29 in downtown Los Angeles at Two Bit Circus, a “micro-amusement park.” This place combines old-style circus and arcade games with modern virtual reality entertainment in the city’s Arts District.

You can register for tickets here under our early-bird pricing at 30% off. You can see 23 of the speakers listed on the event site, and we’ll have 100 speakers by April.

Other previously announced speakers include:

  • Nicolo Laurent, CEO of Riot Games
  • Gary Whitta, screenwriter for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and former editor of PC Gamer
  • Tina Amini, editor-in-chief of games at IGN
  • Richard Lemarchand, associate professor at the USC Games program
  • Nika Nour, executive director of International Game Developers Association Foundation
  • David Gardner, cofounder of London Venture Partners
  • Anantha Duraiappah, director of UNESCO MGIEP, a promoter of games for peace
  • Andrea Rene, cofounder of What’s Good Games
  • Mari “AtomicMari” Takahashi, cofounder of Smosh Games
  • Paola “Pancakepow” Alejandra, creator of Pancakepow.com
  • Joshua “Jovenshire” Ovenshire

We’ve got more speakers that we haven’t announced yet. They will have their own way of expressing what our theme — the Dawn of a New Generation — means to them.

It’s a time of change in the game industry. Console makers are moving ahead with their new machines. Cloud gaming efforts like Google Stadia are joining the fray. Apple is driving hard with Apple Arcade, and HBO, Netflix, and others are moving into games. The digital delivery stores are proliferating, giving competition to the old guard like Steam. And AR/VR companies are trying to get off the ground with new tech.

Gaming is moving down parallel paths, finding new ways to turn all of us into gamers. It is an ever-widening circle of opportunity, and our speakers will talk about how to best navigate these transitions to new machines, new markets, new business models, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Edward Saatchi, cofounder of Fable Studios

Edward Saatchi, cofounder of Fable.

Above: Edward Saatchi, cofounder of Fable.

Image Credit: Fable

Edward is an Emmy Award-winning entrepreneur; producer of Oculus Story Studio’s Lost, Henry, Dear Angelica and Quill; and cofounder of Oculus Story Studio. He founded NationalField as part of the Obama campaign and was named as Forbes “30 under 30” in technology for his technical contributions to the 2008 and 2012 campaigns with NationalField. Edward cofounded Fable in 2017.

Edward has been exploring the pioneering, exciting, and scary field of artificial people. He runs the Virtual Beings Summit, which is drawing crowds that want to learn about making virtual characters and bringing them to life with AI. We’ll talk about the intersection of virtual beings, AI, and games in a fireside chat.

Elan Lee, cofounder of Exploding Kittens

Elan Lee

Above: Elan Lee

Image Credit: Exploding Kittens

Elan Lee is a professional technologist and storyteller. His pioneering work in entertainment has spanned everything from multiple startups raising millions of dollars to creating the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) genre.

I’ve interviewed Lee throughout his career, and his creativity has always struck me in his quest to entertain us in new ways. And most hilariously, he has teamed up with The Oatmeal’s Matt Inman to make tabletop card games like Exploding Kittens. And those tabletop projects are turning out to be a great way not only to make money but also test ideas for digital games. Lee will be doing a fireside chat at our event.

Elan started his career at the Microsoft Games Studio, where he was a lead designer on the original Xbox. He next cofounded 42 Entertainment (the company behind I Love Bees, Nine Inch Nails: Year Zero, and The Dark Knight). Elan was also the founder and chief creative officer of Fourth Wall Studios, and the chief design officer at Xbox Entertainment Studios. Elan most recently co-created Exploding Kittens, the most funded game on Kickstarter and the most backed crowdfunded project in history.

Elan has spoken all over the world on the future of gaming and storytelling. He has won a Primetime Emmy for the series Dirty Work, the Game Innovator of the Year award for Exploding Kittens, and an IndieCade Trailblazer Award for a distinguished career in interactive entertainment.

He has been featured in Wired Magazine, the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the Wall Street Journal. He has also won awards for Best Web Game of the Year, Best Advertising Campaign of the Year, and Best Idea of the Year.

Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements

Above: Doron Nir is the CEO of StreamElements.

Image Credit: StreamElements

Doron Nir is the CEO and cofounder of StreamElements. He is a serial entrepreneur, gamer, and visionary, driven by a passion for product development, content creation, and the goal of helping creators achieve success.

Doron will be talking about brands in the age of the influencer. With the democratization of social media and online communication, we see the rise of a new media entity: The influencer. Influencers are essentially one-person media companies that are amassing massive engaged audiences with the ability to drive game purchases and move products like never before. In this talk, Doron will share relevant learnings based on the film industry, explore the power of influencers in live streaming, and show how marketers can harness the power of live streamers to connect their brands to the best communities.

Nir has been involved in the games industry for over 25 years with a background including being a veteran game designer, a cofounder of GameIS (Israeli Digital Game Developers Association), an entrepreneur (Happy Sale), and one of the top podcasters in Hebrew (Geekonomy).

Doron is also a lecturer of game design and product development at the Interdisciplinary Center Hertzlia. Currently he is the most cited industry expert on the influencer-driven livestreaming trend, with inclusion in 45-plus stories over the past year in outlets such as VentureBeat, Bloomberg, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Forbes, The Verge, Hollywood Reporter, and AdWeek.

What to expect

We’re honored to have these speakers. They’ll be speaking in fireside chats, panels, and solo talks across our three stages: The Boss Stage (CEO/business talks), The Hero Stage (triple-A game developers and consumer-oriented talks), and The Bonus Stage (special talks).

The event will span all of games. We think that bringing the leaders of the industry together from different sectors helps refine the best thinking, and you often get wisdom from lessons that are hard learned. These kinds of talks and the chance for networking across sectors and industries is what will make our event unique in the crowded conference space.

Our event is going to be an intimate affair. And our location this year once again fits right with our theme. Two Bit Circus is a 40,0000-square-foot playground for all ages, with entertainment that includes escape rooms, virtual reality experiences, a VIP loft, live interactive games, a robot bartender show, and modern versions of carnival games. Our attendees will be able to hear business talks in the Club 101 auditorium and consumer-focused talks in a second hall.

We’re still forming our topics around next-generation gaming. The discussions will likely focus on investing in games; mergers and acquisitions and the changes they will bring about; the globalization of games; diversity; esports; the psychology of games; rising regulation; AI’s impact on games; games for peace; the rise of influencers; the convergence of sci-fi, tech, and games; monetization; blockchain and cryptocurrency; and debates on topics such as addiction and loot boxes.

This is our 11th year of GamesBeat events and this year promises to be the best one yet. If you’ve never been to our event, here’s my opening speech at last year’s event. And here are links to the videos for day one and day two. And here’s a summary of a few talks and a story about the Bushnell family that built Two-Bit Circus. Check out those links if you want to see if GamesBeat Summit is for you.

Stay tuned as we announce more great speakers to our first-rate lineup. A partial list of sponsors includes Consumer Acquisition, Rogue Games, Genvid, Niantic, Two Hat Security, Jam City, Scopely, Amber, and Adjust.

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