For the first time, registration will be free to all participants, as the group hopes to draw a global audience to explore how video games and immersive media foster resilience, connectedness, and well-being.
The 17th installment of the festival will feature leading voices in the gaming and social impact community, including the following keynote speakers:
- Eve Crevoshay (Take This) — a champion of raising meaningful awareness for mental health issues among the game development community.
- Adam Gazzaley (Neuroscape) — Leader in ground-breaking research and clinical work using video games to understand and heal the brain.
- Siobahn Reddy (Media Molecule) — Creator of multiple award-winning games and working on the next generation of Play, Share and Create for PlayStation 4.
- Anita Sarkeesian (Feminist Frequency) — Media critic and activist who believes that the media has the power to change the world.
They join previously announced speakers:
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- Jenova Chen (Thatgamecompany) — visionary designer of the award-winning games Cloud, Flow, Flower, Journey, and Sky: Children of Light.
- Hana (Hanadriel) — musician/artist who produced her latest album in four weeks with the entire creative process livestreamed on Twitch.
- Asad J, Malik (1RIC) — acclaimed storyteller best known for use of holograms in Terminal 3 and A Jester’s Tale (starring Android-esque pop star Poppy).
- Brennan Spiegel (Cedars-Sinai Health) — director of a multi-disciplinary team to investigate how digital health technologies — wearable biosensors, smartphone applications, virtual reality, and social media — can strengthen the patient-doctor bond, improve outcomes and save money.
Over three days, the 2020 Games For Change Festival will offer curated panels, talks, workshops, demos, and interactive networking sessions. While weaving in this year’s themes of resilience, connectedness, and well-being, the programming tracks will explore Games for Learning, Civics and Social Issues, and Health and Wellness. As has been a highlight in past years, the festival will also include XR for Change with interactive sessions that showcase the positive influence of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality.
In addition, the festival will honor those in the industry who have been leading forces for social impact with the Games For Change Awards on July 14. Nominations will be announced in the coming weeks.
Susanna Pollack, president of Games For Change, said in a statement that this year’s focus is to introduce a global and ever-more diverse audience to the new and groundbreaking ways that games and immersive media are being used for good. She said the festival is rooted in the pillars of resiliency, connectedness, and well-being, and she is proud Games for Change can be a hub for igniting new ways to use games and immersive media for innovative learning, to drive business, to raise awareness for social good and most importantly, to thrive.
New this year, the Game For Change Virtual Marketplace is an online business-to-business expo where companies and organizations can showcase new games, tech, and platforms to attendees. Participation in the Marketplace is fee-based; applications are due by June 15.
Since 2004, New York-based Games For Change has been empowering game creators and innovators to drive real-world change, using games and immersive media that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place.