As the gaming industry continues to evolve and take a spotlight in modern day culture, SXSW Gaming offers a premier lineup of programming that will provide attendees with a unique experience that feels unlike any other gaming conference. The 2019 sessions for the Game Marketing & Community and Game Design & Development Tracks were designed to ensure that everyone involved, from the casual gamer to the AAA game studio CEO, will be at the forefront of industry conversations.
We are thrilled to have all these incredible innovators join us in 2019 and hope you will join us this March to push this conversation forward!
GAME MARKETING & COMMUNITY TRACK
Geoff Moore (Envy Gaming), Gerald Youngblood (Tankee Inc.), and Libe Ackerman (SuperParent)
The media landscape as we knew it has been uprooted and the power rests in the hands of the on-demand generation: kids who have grown up with broad access to unprecedented amounts of consumable entertainment and marketing content. How thoughtful are we being with the gaming content that we’re distributing and the impact it ultimately has on these upcoming generations? Gain insight as to what’s being done to reach and keep up with this new generation of gamers with new forms of entertaining, engaging, and age-appropriate content.
Amber Allen (Double A Labs), Deric Ortiz (Advocate), Michael Hume (The Washington Post), Patrick Wixted (Ketchum)
The gaming industry is flourishing and the largest brands in the world are taking a keen note. Learn how these global brand leaders are approaching the gaming space and how their perspectives have shifted dramatically from “the early years” to this new age of gaming. With some of the biggest advertising and marketing players pouring millions of dollars across all sectors of this industry, how will new programs develop and marketing initiatives take shape for the next wave of gaming’s growth?
Brett Lautenbach (NRG Esports), Jennika Pasinsky (NZXT), Jonathan Miranda (Salesforce), Noah Kolodny (Octagon Inc)
After several years of exploration and crunching the numbers, discover how some of the largest non-endemic brands are finding a home in gaming by making well-advised decisions. This booming industry presents a prime opportunity for everyone to get involved with more metrics and data available than ever before. With several key figures viewing games as the optimal solution to reach the cord-cutting generation, what do you need to know when making smart marketing decisions in this space?
Leah Ruben (KingsIsle Entertainment), Tony Jones (Wargaming America), and Eric Musco (BioWare)
MMO game experiences are all built around one fundamental principle: sustainable online communities. With several game franchises surpassing a decade of operations with gamers who have been there through it all, there have been many critical lessons learned in maintaining an ever-evolving community. Gain key insights from leading MMO community managers and see how you can apply their community management tactics towards your next game project.
Jennifer Barclay (Moxie), Mike Singletary (Moxie), Scott Hunt (Moxie)
Arby’s has remained at the top of the social media game by entertaining millions of fans throughout gaming with their creative designs shared throughout social media. But how exactly do they create such a vibrant array of social media content? Meet team members from Moxie, the creative agency responsible for Arby’s captivating social presence, and learn about their unique approach to creating engaging social content for niche groups such as gaming and anime.
Rebecca Levey (KidzVuz.com), Taina Malen (Star Stable Entertainment), Jennifer Tracy (Nickelodeon Velocity), and Cathy Applefeld Olson
A company’s most important team member is the customer, especially if you target teens/tweens. Today’s teen/tweens are more than consumers; they are creators, producers, and legit revenue drivers. They’re fiercely loyal to their community, and visionary marketers will listen, engage, and evolve with the community. The panel will explore the role of community and impacts of user-generated content from driving product development to developing marketing campaigns to hiring expert talent. Panelists run global programs at these companies: Nickelodeon actively engages kids across channels and networks; Star Stable community produces 120k-plus original videos, connecting girls globally; KidzVuz is the only online kid network dedicated to letting tweens share their views about brands they love.
David Najjab (Gearbox Software), Nika Nour (Entertainment Software Association), and Manuel Delgado (Six Foot)
Video games are an economic force. Employing over 66,000 people which contributed $12 billion to the US GDP in 2017, and with companies found globally throughout every major country and all states here at home, this industry’s reach is truly far and wide. Unfortunately, this reach also makes the industry an easy target. The panelists will discuss challenges posed by governments and agencies around the world as it relates to the culture wars against gun violence, societal norms, protection of children, addictive gaming behavior, and upholding the right to free speech. Learn how to navigate the complexities of government as panelists outline how you can have a deep impact in the gaming industry by learning about issues and making sure your voices (and vote) help create a brighter future.
Lester Chen (YouTube), Grace Francisco (Roblox), Ned Sherman (Manatt), Erin Wayne (Twitch)
Young, independent content creators have forever changed the belief that audiences are meant to be passive viewers of video and interactive entertainment. A new, global massively large generation that has never known life without the internet is transforming the future of entertainment by imagining and creating their own stories and sharing them with the world. Millions of digital creators are producing, distributing and monetizing content on platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Roblox. This panel will discuss key learnings from young storytellers and the ways in which next-gen digital creators are driving consumption of entertainment in a way that will have lasting impacts on the business and legal foundation on which the entertainment industry has been built.
GAME DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT TRACK
Max Hoberman (Certain Affinity), Phillip Weiss (metricminds), Elizabeth Howard (Aspyr), and Gordon Walton (Artcraft Entertainment)
Making games is easy business, right? With decades of combined experience helping to build the games that we all know and love, these three studios are now leveraging their unique talents and capabilities to create their own original IP and game experiences. But making a dramatic shift from your core business model comes with unexpected consequences. Learn how these industry leaders are navigating uncharted waters and evolving all while keeping their businesses afloat.
Greg Street (Riot Games), Ken Troop (Wizards of the Coast), John Erskine (Cloud Imperium Games), and Genese Davis
Game design is an eminently creative and artistic exercise that serves as the foundation for a growing global industry. Each game studio has a unique style, but they all share one thing: The Game Design Discipline. From the first loading screen to the last cutscene, effective game design blends art and science to keep players entertained and eager for more. Competing forces work to influence the direction of every game–from the players’ vision of the product to the executive goals to hit–but ultimately, design culture dictates the end result. This panel will discuss how various game design directors with products in a range of lifecycles reconcile their design disciplines with overall studio culture and the material impact this has on each company.
Phil Sage (Hasbro), Valerie Vacante (Collabsco), Krissa Watry (Dynepic Inc), and Meir Biton (StoryBall)
More than fun and games, connected play is expected to be an $18 billion industry within the next five years. As new emerging tech experiences evolve, how are designers and developers creating safe, connected play experiences that help us play, learn and explore in the physical and digital world? Voice, robotics, AR, IoT and more, this panel will share perspective on the connected play industry, specific real world examples of developing connected play products and experiences, how designers are creating new ways to gamify the world around us and what’s ahead for the future of play.
Kiki Wolfkill (343 Industries), Anastasia Staten (Entertainment Software Association), and Manuel Delgado (Six Foot)
Gamers are diverse: 45% are women, and African American and Latinx gamers play at higher rates than Caucasians. And, while the development pipeline of students who are in university video game design programs is becoming more diverse, the video games industry has an opportunity currently to open its doors even wider. Many video game publishers and developers are pursuing programs to increase the diversity of their workforce and specifically the percentage of women in the industry has been growing. This panel will discuss the challenges of creating a more balanced workforce and development team. Speakers will share success stories and review best practices to accelerate change and increase the diversity of the video game industry.
Jennifer Kelly (Fenwick & West LLP)
Technological advancements and the explosion of the gaming industry from eSports to mobile games to AR/VR has created nearly unlimited opportunities for game developers to bring their visions to fruition and reach millions of people, however not without potential roadblocks – knockoffs are a major problem and companies need to understand how to deal with both shameless copying of their hit games – and ensuring their own games don’t infringe others’ rights. Join us as the go-to games industry litigator Jennifer Kelly goes on a speedrun through the key IP issues all developers and publishers should know, including key copyright, trademark and right of publicity considerations for both sides of the table.
Kate Edwards (Geogrify), Warren Spector (OtherSide Entertainment), and Jim Galis (Advanced Imagination)
Ageism in the games industry has received more attention, as the age of the game community continues to rise, both developers and players. This panel will focus on game makers who, merely due to their age, are overlooked in favor of younger candidates. Game developers who entered the industry in their 20s are now turning 50+ and still have a passion for the business and want to contribute. We’ll discuss statistics around this dilemma, the “50-over-50” list, how this impacts the community and how game advocacy groups are working to combat the issue.
Gracie Arenas Strittmatter (BioWare), Katy Barber (Kakebytes), Ben Cloward (BioWare), and Jeff Vanelle (BioWare)
The savage world of Anthem is volatile, lush, expansive, and full of unexpected characters. Bringing these aspects to life presented a wealth of challenging problems for BioWare’s technical artists, who bridge art and technology through areas such as performance, shaders, and artist tools. This retrospective panel will highlight some of the team’s work, alongside reflections on innovation, distributed collaboration/coordination, and the successes and challenges of creating a new IP for the world to enjoy.
User experience (UX) and psychology are becoming trendy in the industry, but how can these disciplines concretely help a team to develop a game? Some designers might think that this knowledge is not easy to apply, or even fear that it will distort the experience they intend to offer. However, UX and cognitive science combined are at the service of design, and can provide very concrete and easy-to-use tips to anticipate and solve design problems, sometimes even before the play testing phase. By having a general understanding of how the brain works and by following UX guidelines, the designers increase the chance of their audience experiencing the intended design. This talk will offer an introduction to UX and psychology in game development, with examples from Fortnite.
Join Us for SXSW Gaming 2019
3-Day wristbands are now available at the early bird rate of $39 — a $10 savings on the walk-up rate in March! Book your hotel early to get the best available housing rates and selections.
Attendees with 3-Day wristbands receive entry into Gaming programming and special events, along with access to a world-class exhibition featuring the latest games and gaming technology, major esports tournaments and so much more. For a taste of what to expect in March, check out some of the 2018 SXSW Gaming sessions here.
SXSW Gaming 2018 Conference – Photo by Travis Lilley