GamesBeat 2017 will take place at San Francisco’s beautiful Fort Mason on October 5 and October 6. And we’re delighted to announce our next three speakers are entrepreneurs and investors in the esports industry, which market researcher Newzoo predicts will grow to $1.5 billion by 2020.

They include Kevin Chou, CEO of KSV eSports International; Noah Whinston, CEO of the Immortals esports team; and Clinton Foy, managing director at Crosscut Ventures and chairman of the Immortals. They share one thing in common: They are part of the new Overwatch League, as owners of a couple of the first seven regional franchises. You can save 20 percent on registration with our Save20 discount code.

Chou sold off his mobile game company Kabam to Netmarble and Fox for nearly $1 billion. And he announced last week that he, former Kabam chief operating officer Kent Wakeford, and others had purchased the Overwatch League franchise for Seoul, South Korea (for an estimated $20 million). Chou has spoken at our GamesBeat events before, mostly on the subject of setting strategies to in what were once fledgling social network and mobile games industries.

In its rise from startup (named Watercooler originally) to major Hollywood-oriented game publisher, Kabam rose to prominence in the big leagues of mobile with title such as The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, The Fast and the Furious, and Marvel Contest of Champions. As head of the KSV eSports International company, Chou will recruit a South Korean management team and roster in the Seoul region to compete in the official esports league of the enormously popular Overwatch team shooter game from Blizzard.

Above: Noah Whinston, CEO of The Immortals, has staked out the Los Angeles franchise for the Overwatch League.

Image Credit: The Immortals

Chou will be joined by Whinston, the 22-year-old CEO of the Immortals, an esports team that he founded in 2015. Whinston, who spoke on influencers at our GamesBeat 2016 event, is also one of the entrepreneurs who moved into esports early and hopes to fend off competition from the likes of traditional professional sports teams like the New England Patriots (headed by Boston Overwatch League owner Robert Kraft).

Whinston’s Immortals has the Los Angeles franchise, and he has important allies including Los Angeles heavyweights like Peter Levin, president of Lionsgate Interactive Ventures; investors Michael and Gregory Milken; and AEG, the owner of the LA. Live entertainment venue that includes Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Lakers play. Beyond the Overwatch team, the Immortals also has teams playing League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Smash Bros., and Vainglory.

Above: Clinton Foy, chairman of The Immortals.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

And our third new speaker is Foy, chairman of the Immortals and a seasoned venture capitalist. Foy spoke on our investment panel last year at GamesBeat 2017. His Crosscut Ventures is an early-stage VC firm in Los Angeles. In 2015, Crosscut raised $75 million for investments in early-stage tech and game startups in Los Angeles.

Foy has deep experience in running game and tech companies, including gaming giant Square Enix (where he was chief operating officer and general counsel), and Super Evil Megacorp. Foy has led investments in Mobcrush, Vulcun, Little Labs, and Instant eSports. In seven years at Square Enix, Foy oversaw more than 100 product launches across a dozen platforms.

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 past 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 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 market place? 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 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 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 and 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
  • 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?

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