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GamesBeat 2017 latest speakers: Thresh, game investor Ping Li, and Adam Sessler

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GamesBeat 2017 is at San Francisco’s beautiful Fort Mason on October 5 and October 6, and we’re delighted to announce our next three speakers. This batch can help us see understand the past and the present when it comes to esports, venture capital investing in games, and the rise of influencers in the global game industry.

You can get your tickets here at our 40 percent off early-bird discount rate.

Our newest speakers include Dennis Fong, the CEO of Plays.tv and one of the game industry’s first professional gamer; Ping Li, the general partner at Accel, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capital firms; and Adam Sessler, former television host of shows like X-Play and cofounder at Spiketrap.

Fong is the CEO of Raptr and Plays.tv. He founded the social network for gamers in 2007, and it has evolved into game video sharing site Plays.tv. But Fong is probably best known as “Thresh,” the first competitive gamer who played competitive games in the 1990s. He won Doom and Quake tournaments, and drove away with John Carmack’s red Ferrari 328 GTS as one of his prizes. He earned more than $100,000 a year in prizes and endorsements.

Above: Dennis “Thresh” Fong is CEO of Plays.tv.

Image Credit: Plays.tv

He retired from playing competitive Quake in 1997, and went on to found GX Media, and Xfire, an online gaming instant message client that was acquired by Viacom in 2006 for $102 million. He can take us back to the beginning of the esports and glean the lessons for today.

Above: Ping Li is a general partner at Accel.

Image Credit: Accel

Ping Li, the general manager at venture capital firm Accel, will moderate Fong’s fireside chat. Li joined Accel in 2004 and focuses on enterprise software application and infrastructure investments. One of his investments is in Plays.tv.

He is the lead investor and board member at Blue Jeans, Cloudera, Code 42, DataGravity, Plays.tv, Primary Data, Sysdig and Trifacta. Ping is also active in the security space as an investor at Illumio, Lookout Mobile Security, Tenable Network Security and previously, Imperva.

He was also responsible for numerous past investments with notable exits, including Arista (public), Nimble Storage (public), Reactivity (acquired by Cisco) and RelateIQ (acquired by Salesforce). Prior to Accel, Ping served as product line manager and director of corporate development at Juniper Networks. He started his technology career in Asia working for Singapore Telecom and Goldman Sachs Asia’s technology practice.

Above: Adam Sessler, former host of X-Play and cofounder of Spiketrap.

Image Credit: Adam Sessler

Adam Sessler is best known for being the host of television programs (X-Play, Extended Play, Gamespot TV) about videogames for 15 years, which he then followed as host and content producer on Rev3Games for Revision3 and his early work with the streaming community. His years on camera covering the industry have made him one of the most recognizable faces in the medium. Well known for unvarnished opinions and humor, Adam distilled the industry to the outsider and shared his enthusiasm for games with the hardcore audience. He runs TheoryHead Inc, a media and entertainment consulting firm, and is a cofounder at Spiketrap, which is currently in stealth mode.

Sessler will moderate a session on the role of influencers in gaming. Influencers can make or break games, if they decide they like them or not. With armies of followers on platforms like Twitch or YouTube, influencers are getting rich playing games. How does the life of an influencer differ from the old school journalism, and how do you approach them? Sessler’s session will be revealing.

Above: GamesBeat 2017 will take place at Fort Mason in San Francisco on Oct. 5-6, 2017.

Image Credit: Fort Mason

They will speak to our theme of the Time Machine. If you could see the future of games before it happens, that would give your business a competitive advantage. It’s like having a time machine where you can see the future and return to the present. You could also go back to the retro days of gaming to get the lessons that matter. This is the idea driving the theme for our GamesBeat 2017 conference.

We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in games, and that’s what makes it fun and unpredictable. But we’ll make sure that we get the most interesting leaders of the industry to speak. And we won’t just talk about old times. Rather, we’ll pair the speakers from the past with the leaders of today so they can talk about the relevant strategies for the future.

We’ll touch on the parts of gaming that are driving excitement, growth, and new startups. That includes augmented reality, virtual reality, esports, influencers, mobile games, core games, indies, new game technologies, and the connection between games, tech, and science fiction. We want to show you the edge and the strategies that will succeed in the future.

Above: GamesBeat 2017’s first speakers.

Image Credit: VentureBeat

The past can be prologue. But games have changed as they’ve reached a billion people and $100 billion in yearly revenues, reaching the mainstream like they never have before. Can we still apply the lessons from the past to the current and future marketplace? And what type of innovations and companies will draw the blueprint of what’s to come? So much of the industry’s internal narrative has been about it being cutting-edge. How can we imagine a broader set of drivers other than technology that will shape the industry?

GamesBeat 2017 is the destination conference for networking, inspiring talks, intelligent interaction, and getting all the right people in the room to make great deals happen. It targets game and tech industry CEOs, executives, marketers, investors, venture capitalists, and developers.

Our previously announced speakers include Robyn and Rand Miller, co-creators of Myst and Riven; Ed Fries, former head of Microsft Game Studios; John Underkoffler, CEO of Oblong Industries and science adviser for the influential sci-fi film Minority Report; Amit Kumar of Accel, a venture investor; Jon “Neverdie” Jacobs, CEO of Neverdie Studios. Josh Yguado, president and chief operating officer of Jam City; Matt McCloskey, vice president of commerce at Twitch; Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData Research; Dan Connors, CEO of Telltale Games; Nick Earl, CEO of Glu; Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors; Michael Metzger, investment banker at Houlihan Lokey; Aaron Loeb, president of FoxNext Games; Chris Heatherly, head of NBCUniversal’s new game business; Debbie Bestwick, CEO of Team17; Perrin Kaplan, principal at Zebra Partners; Stephanie Chan, writer at GamesBeat; Tim Chang, managing director at Mayfield Fund; Ramez Naam, science fiction author and writer of the Nexus series; Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable; Bill Roper, chief creative officer at Improbable; Paul Bettner, CEO of Playful, the creator of the VR titles Lucky’s Tale; Steven Roberts, chairman of ESL, the biggest independent esports tournament company; Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of CCP Games, creator of Eve Online and VR games such as Eve Valkyrie; and Bernie Stolar, CEO of The Stolar Group and former head at Sony’s U.S. PlayStation business and Sega of America.

Advisory board

  • Nicole Lazzaro, CEO of XEO Design
  • Nick Beliaeff, senior vice president at Spin Master
  • Noah Falstein, chief game designer at Google
  • James Zhang, CEO of Concept Art House
  • Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData Research
  • Nathan Stewart, Dungeons & Dragons senior director, Wizards of the Coast
  • Peter Levin, president of Lionsgate Interactive
  • Ravi Belwal, Facebook Games
  • Jamil Moledina, Google Play
  • Sunny Dhillon, partner at Signia Venture Partners
  • Michael Metzger, senior vice president at Houlihan Lokey
  • Mihir Shah, CEO of Immersv
  • Zvi Greenstein, general manager at Nvidia
  • Gordon Bellamy, visiting scholar at USC
  • Tadgh Kelly, Vreal
  • Kate Edwards, former executive director at IGDA
  • Tom Sanocki, CEO of Limitless
  • Phil Sanderson, managing director at IDG Ventures
  • Walter Driver, CEO of Scopely
  • David Pokress, senior vice president at AdColony
  • Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors

Topics will include:

  • Intersection of sci-fi, games and tech
  • Platforms: Where to place your bets? AR, VR, & more
  • Creating a culture of inspiration and creativity
  • Emerging markets for games
  • Monetization: How to acquire and retain users
  • Esports and building the community
  • Deals: Follow the money
  • Diversity and the expanding ecosystem
  • Early Access as a business model
  • How mods can launch new game genres
  • What game engine should you use?

Sponsors include: Intel, Appodeal, Accel, Epic Games, and Samsung.

The PC Gaming channel is presented by Intel®‘s Game Dev program.



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