DeanBeat Breakfast: Women in Gaming Launches Diverse Programming at GamesBeat Summit 2022

GamesBeat Summit 2022 returns with its biggest event for gaming leaders from April 26-28. Book your place here!


I am pleased that we have finished recruiting our 124 speakers for our 55 sessions at the GamesBeat Summit 2022 event from April 26-28. And I’m even happier that our fourth Women in Gaming breakfast includes a real breakfast. That’s because it’s the first time we’ve done it in a physical location – at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. (You can sign up here with a 50% Dean discount code.)

Andrea Rene from What’s Good Games will be hosting the day, and she’ll be hosting an informal breakfast session on “Engineering Inclusion.” It will take place from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on April 26. The session is about how to turn inclusivity into a benefit and spread it across an entire workplace.

The panel includes Tanya Watson, COO of Bad Robot; Christina Heller, CEO of Metastage; Francisca F. Phillips, Global Head of Membership and Growth at Jam City; and Margaret Wallace, Head of Games and Metaverse at Prasaga. I am very happy that Prasaga stepped in and sponsored the breakfast. You can register for the Women in Gaming breakfast here.

Andrea Rene is co-founder of What’s Good Games.

While the entire event will celebrate the heart of the gaming industry, GamesBeat Summit 2022 will address issues of diversity, mental health and inclusion. About 50.4% of our 125 speakers come from diverse backgrounds. We have achieved this diversity goal at our last three conferences.

Women in video game dubbing

Jennifer Hale voiced Commander Shepard in Mass Effect.

Our sessions will include explorations of diversity in different parts of the industry. We will have a panel (online session April 27 at 1:15 p.m.) on the evolution of acting for video games from a female perspective – discussing the representation and inclusion of women in games and the how the roles have changed and improved over the years.

Julia Bianco Schoeffling will be moderating this panel, and it will feature Cissy Jones (Delilah from Firewatch), Jennifer Hale (Commander Shepard from Mass Effect), and Anjali Bhimani (Symmetra from Overwatch).

Building the Conscious Metaverse

Nanea Reeves, CEO of Tripp.
Nanea Reeves, CEO of Tripp.

Nanea Reeves is no stranger to both the practice of mindfulness and meditation as well as the technological advancements that gave birth to the Metaverse. As CEO of Tripp, she helped create the virtual reality app Tripp, designed to create feelings of calm and awe.

In her keynote (April 26 at 1:30 p.m.), she will discuss the future of how metaverse technology can be applied to meditation practices with the goal of creating an environment of mindful well-being by not only embracing technology to s to get there, but by being at the forefront, leveraging progress to play a major role in personal growth.

Our visionary awards

Tammy McDonald talks about her husband Matt, a game developer who committed suicide.
Tammy McDonald of Axis Game Factory/Griffin Gaming Partners.

The GamesBeat Visionary Awards will air on April 27 at 4:35 p.m. We launched this award in 2018 to honor leaders in the video game industry who have shown real vision for the future. We added the Up and Comer award to honor someone whose accomplishments are ahead of them.

Last year’s winner for the Visionary Award went to Laura Miele, Director of Studios at Electronic Arts; and the Up and Comer Award went to Natasha “ZombaeKillz” Zinda, content creator and streamer.

Tammy McDonald of Axis Game Factory/Griffin Gaming Partners will once again host our awards. We have a special award this year and have chosen two very special people for the ceremony. We had an industry-wide panel of judges – including three past winners – who picked the winners.

Virtual reception

Meetaverse will host a GamesBeat reception from 5-7 p.m. on April 27.

In conjunction with Ivan Lobo’s Meetaverse, the gaming industry’s social virtual reality hub, GamesBeat will be offering a virtual reception that will allow our attendees to meet other gaming industry peers “face-to-face” by virtual reality.

This immersive social event will take place in a brand new location created especially for GamesBeat Summit in AltspaceVR. Participants will enjoy a program of activities including a guided tour of the cultural exhibition “Architects designing video games”, created by the Arquia Foundation in collaboration with Meetaverse; and a panel discussion on the potential of games as social networks, with avatars of Dean Takahashi (GamesBeat), Aleissia Laidaker (Advisor at The Mill and former Chief Experience Officer at Magic Leap), and Philip Rosedale, Founder of Linden Lab, maker of Second Life. We will also have other special guests.

If you would like to participate, make sure you have a working AltspaceVR account before the event and that you have registered your professional information and AltspaceVR username in the RSVP link here before April 26, 2022. And don’t forget to dress up your avatars.

Games designed for women

Ariella Lehrer is CEO of Legacy Games.

This session, which will take place on April 28 at 12:20 p.m., will highlight a booming part of gaming. Games designed for women have been an underserved market for much of gaming history.

But times have changed. Thanks to free games, 10 times more people have been introduced to the game, while casual games have grown in importance as mobile games continue to flourish. More women than ever are playing games daily. More and more game studios are targeting a female audience – or at least paying more attention to the fact that women make up a large portion of the mainstream audience. A number of these studios are founded by women.

Wanda Meloni of M2 Research will host a panel with Jill Wilson, CEO of Robin Games; Susan Cummings, CEO of Tiny Rebel Games; Julia Palatovska, CEO of Dorian; and Ariella Lehrer, CEO of Legacy Games.

Tencent/Level Infinite and the global gaming market

Michelle Liu is Vice President of Tencent.
Michelle Liu is CEO of Tencent Global Games.

Our session (April 27 at 4:05 p.m.) features one of the most powerful women in the video game industry – and one who hasn’t had great notoriety in the business.

Michelle Liu, CEO of Tencent Games Global, joins GamesBeat for the first time to discuss her role in managing Tencent’s game publishing business and its new brand, Level Infinite. She will discuss Tencent’s thoughts on games as a whole, the company’s approach to global publishing, how it works with its diverse group of studios and developer teams, and much more. Andrea Rene of What’s Good Games will host a conversation with her about Tencent’s role in the global gaming industry and its new Level Infinite publishing brand.

Shame! Shame! Personal thoughts on DEI, #MeToo and the future of games

Jane Chung Hoffacker is CEO of Incredible Dream.
Jane Chung Hoffacker is CEO of Incredible Dream.

Jane Chung Hoffacker helped design this informal, in-person roundtable on April 26 at noon. Women leaders will share their perspective four years after the #MeToo movement began in games. What changed?

What has been effective in bringing more diversity, equity and inclusion? What has changed on a personal level? How to increase investment in women and minorities in the game? And how does shame play a role in our vulnerability and change? Rachel Kaser, GamesBeat journalist, will moderate this session with Jane Chung Hoffacker, CEO of Incredible Dream; Kamini Tiwari, VP of Social Impact at Humble Bundle; Shail Mehta, CEO of The Last Gameboard; and Namrata Gandhi, CFO of Amazon Games Studio.

The booming video game industry in Africa

Kate Kallot is Head of Emerging Areas at Nvidia.

This light-hearted panel (online session April 28 at 3 p.m.) will examine the state of gaming and game development in Africa as perceived by some of the region’s most prominent game makers. Around 60% of the continent’s population is under 25 and disposable incomes are rising. High-speed internet connections are on the rise and Africa will have over 680 million mobile phone users by 2025. We’ll talk about the frontier of gaming with people driving growth.

Kate Kallot, head of emerging areas at Nvidia, will moderate the session with Cordel Robbin-Coker, co-founder and CEO of Carry1st, which raised a $20 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz; Jay Shapiro of Usiku Games; and Lual Mayen, CEO of Junub Games/Lual Mayen Foundation.

How leaders can change systems to improve mental health

Swatee Surve is CEO of Litesprite.
Swatee Surve is CEO of Litesprite.

And I’m happy to call this off-the-record roundtable (11:50 a.m. April 28) to encourage industry leaders to do more for mental health.

For a long time, the solution to mental health problems was to recommend that employees provide “self-care”. But that doesn’t always work, and companies can be more proactive in providing care. Is it time to have a corporate wellness manager? And what else can we do to better support our employees? This roundtable will discuss ideas for game companies to do better.

Swatee Surve, CEO of Litesprite, will moderate the session with participation from Mark Chandler, Founder of the International Games Summit on Mental Health Awareness; and Raphaël “Dr. B” Boccamazzo, clinical director of Take This. They are very wise people who believe that we can improve our safety net in games.

Building Diversity and Equity in the Games Industry Through the University

This session on April 28 at 11:50 a.m. will highlight another path to diversity. In the same way that cinema is much more than optics and lightning, there is more to game creation than just coding and animation. Slowly, game development programs are expanding beyond traditional technology skills to embrace diversity and inclusivity as essential creative tools. How are these values ​​learned? How can educational institutions effectively contribute to a more diverse industry?

Gonzalo Frasca, Chief Evangelist at DragonBox (Kahoot!), will moderate this session. Participants include Gina Jackson OBE, Founder, GameDev Bootcamps; Carolina Cruz-Neira, professor of computer science at the University of Central Florida; and Jim Huntley, professor of the games program at USC Games. Go Trojans.

The GamesBeat creed when covering the video game industry is “where passion meets business”. What does it mean? We want to tell you how much the news means to you, not only as a decision maker in a game studio, but also as a game fan. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about and engage with the industry. Learn more about membership.

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