In a landmark partnership, venture capital firm Lightspeed and gaming news authority GamesBeat have launched the inaugural ‘Game Changers’ program—an ambitious venture aimed at recognizing and amplifying innovative startups in the gaming and interactive technology sector. The fifth category is reserved for innovators in the Web3 and blockchain industry.
A total of 25 companies will be selected across five major categories:
- Game studios
- Gaming platforms (e.g., user-generated content or social)
- Interactive technology (incl. AI & 3D)
- Extended reality (i.e., AR/VR)
- Blockchain & web3
To be eligible, companies have to:
- Be part of the gaming industry (see five categories above),
- Be no more than five years old, and
- Have no more than 50 full-time employees
What’s in it for the Winners?
Chosen startups will not only bask in the media limelight via GamesBeat’s expansive reach, but they will also gain entry into an exclusive Game Changers community. The program promises unique networking opportunities: direct mentoring sessions and interactions with industry stalwarts spanning the realms of gaming, technology, and interactive media. To sweeten the deal further, a standout winner from each category will be endowed with a special prize.
What sets this award apart? Recipients can relish all the perks without any financial strings attached. Contrary to many industry programs, participating startups won’t part with equity, and there’s no mandate for in-person representation.
Key Dates to Remember
- Deadline for Nominations: October 1, 2023.
- Winner Announcement: October 2023.
- GamesBeat Summit Next Conference: October 24-25, 2023, San Francisco.
The upcoming summit in San Francisco promises to be a gala affair where winners will take center stage.
A Meticulous Selection Process Backed by Industry Titans
GamesBeat journalists, alongside Lightspeed investors, are tasked with the initial scrutiny of the applications. This filtered list then undergoes the discerning eyes of a stellar judging panel. This isn’t any ordinary panel, but a consortium of the gaming world’s creme de la creme.
Among the judges, one finds representatives from industry powerhouses like Activision Blizzard, Amazon, ByteDance, Disney Accelerator, Electronic Arts, Google, Microsoft, Roblox, Riot Games, Unity, Xbox, and YouTube Gaming—to name just a few. Their collective wisdom ensures that those who rise to the top are truly destined to shape the future of gaming.
Your Move, Game Innovators
With nominations now open, the industry buzzes with anticipation. Startups, both nominated by peers and those applying directly, have until the first day of October to toss their hat in this prestigious ring. As this initiative unfolds, one thing’s for sure: The future of gaming looks brighter than ever.
Game Changers Judges: Leaders in Gaming & Interactive Media
- Anna Sweet, Chief Executive Officer of Bad Robot Games
- Ben Feder, Managing Partner of Tirta Ventures
- Bonnie Rosen, General Manager of Disney Accelerator
- Danny Lange, Vice President of BI & AI at Google
- Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer of GamesBeat
- Holly Liu, Co-Founder of Kabam
- John Hanke, Chief Executive Officer of Niantic
- John W. Thompson, Fr. Chairman of Microsoft
- Ken Wee, Chief Strategy Officer of Activision Blizzard
- Kylan Gibbs, Chief Product Officer of Inworld AI
- Leo Olebe, Global Head of Gaming at YouTube
- Manuel Bronstein, Chief Product Officer of Roblox
- Maria Park, Vice President of Corporate Development at Krafton
- Michael Chow, Chief Executive Officer of The Believer Company
- Moritz Baier-Lentz, Partner & Head of Gaming at Lightspeed
- Ryan Wyatt, Fr. President of Polygon Labs
- V Pappas, Fr. Chief Operating Officer of TikTok