Competition has long been a part of the gaming world, but the explosion of esports into the mainstream has opened new doors and created unlikely avenues of cooperation and innovation. SXSW Gaming is proud to present the next round of Featured Speakers for 2019 focusing on these opportunities, alongside other industry experts and veterans in the Esports Industry track.
This year, Constance Steinkuehler (Professor of Informatics) and Mark Deppe (Director of Esports) from the University of California, Irvine; Michael Prindiville (CEO of Dignitas); and Peter Levin (President of Interactive Ventures in Games and Digital Strategy of Lionsgate) join the 2019 Featured Speaker lineup at SXSW Gaming.
This year’s sessions will explore the growing influence of esports, sharing insights on how it will impact not only everyday gaming culture and business but creative industries far beyond the normal reach of games. With esports teams forming at the high school level, Deppe and Steinkuehler will analyze the results of a study conducted at the University of California, Irvine on how connecting teens’ vast esports interest with education will yield emotional and skill development to prepare them for a larger, increasingly connected world. Peter Levin will be interviewed by Ari Segal, President & COO of esports organization Immortals, to discuss how Lionsgate is paving the way for brands to invest in esports as a new phase of entertainment. Michael Prindiville, the newly-appointed CEO of the international esports team Dignitas, will be here to share his experience of the organization’s rebranding and their new goals in the gaming world.
We are thrilled to have such a wide variety of Featured Speakers for SXSW Gaming 2019. Featured Sessions at SXSW Gaming are open to all SXSW Gaming attendees with a SXSW Gaming wristband or any SXSW badge.
Featured Speaker Bios
Constance Steinkuehler is a Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, where she researches the cognitive, intellectual, and social aspects of esports and multiplayer online videogames. She is the founder and former President of the Higher Education Video Games Alliance, an academic organization of game-related programs in higher education. Steinkuehler currently serves on the advisory board for the UCI Esports Program and chairs the UCI Diversity and Inclusion in Esports Task Force. She is the Director of Research and Education for the North America Scholastic Esports Federation. She has also worked closely with the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Education on special reports related to videogames, and her work has been featured in Science, Wired, USA Today, New York Times, LA Times, ABC, CBS, CNN, NPR, BBC and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Mark Deppe is the Director of Esports at the University of California, Irvine and has led the effort to create the university’s award-winning esports program. He works closely with student leaders, administrators, faculty and industry partners to build a business plan that is both cost-neutral to the university and broadly approaches the world of esports. During his time at UCI, he has helped break six world records and led their League of Legends team to a 2018 Collegiate Championship. Deppe is the Commissioner of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation.
Michael Prindiville is the newly appointed CEO of Dignitas and played a hand in the team’s rebranding in October. After leaving his position as Head of Esports at NBC Sports Group he joined Dignitas, one of the first esports teams to be acquired by a major North American sports property – the Philadelphia 76ers.
Peter Levin is the President of Interactive Ventures in Games & Digital Strategy of Lionsgate and is responsible for expanding Lionsgate’s content into video games and extending the studio’s portfolio of brands and franchises into the gaming and virtual reality space. He has led Lionsgate into the high-growth esports market by spearheading the company’s investment and becoming an Executive Chairman of the multidiscipline esports franchise Immortals.
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