For the second year, national gaming and eSports leaders and entrepreneurs will convene in Athens to talk about the state of the gaming and eSports industries and emerging digital trends at the Ohio University Business of Games Summit on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 at Baker University Center on the Athens campus.
Among many renowned industry representatives at the conference, Amazon Game Studio’s Myra Widodo will give insight into her career as both a publisher and developer of games at different companies during her closing keynote address. Additionally, the summit will examine the upcoming influx of eSports at the collegiate level, featuring a panel with Tyler Schrodt, CEO and Founder of the Electronic Gaming Federation, an emerging leader in eSports. This panel will also include Kevin Hoang from Twitch, one of the industry’s most important streaming services recently purchased by Amazon.
While many industry conferences focus on technology and development of games, this conference primarily deals with the business aspects and offers speakers and panels focusing on the perspectives of young entrepreneurs, investors, developers, publishers, players and spectators. Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship (CE), a partnership between the College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, along with the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, a part of the Scripps College of Communication, host the event.
“The growth in the worldwide digital game and eSport industry is explosive,” said Paul Mass, CE Director and conference organizer. “The Midwest, the state of Ohio, and Ohio University have all been home to digital innovation, talented entrepreneurs, and investment-worthy new businesses that contribute to this growth.”
Accessibility in game design is another business model explored at the summit. Mixer’s Program Manager Tara Voelker will share her passion and insight in how to create inclusive games to enable differently-abled players to participate. Other panel topics include “Virtual and Augmented Reality Game Development,” a discussion about creating games for emerging technology markets and “Following the Money: How does the investment community view Games and eSports,” with real-world investors discussing financing the gaming and eSports industry.
“Each we year we find there are more and more students interested in game development and immersive media production,” said John Bowditch, director of the GRID Lab. “While graduates receive employment opportunities all over the country, more graduates are interested in creating their own immersive media startup right here in Ohio.”
The summit will also examine the job market for new talent entering the industry. Marcus Cenci, Deep Silver Volition and EA-Sports Art Director, will talk about, “How to get a job in the digital games industry,” with an unfiltered discussion about how prospective employees can make themselves more marketable. Another session by OHIO assistant professor Jacob Hiler will delve into how video games can make employees more valuable and better managers.
“As we have found, the state of Ohio is a perfect place for new and existing game companies establish themselves,” Bowditch said. “With a high quality of living, exceptional universities, and an expansive entrepreneurial ecosystem forming throughout the state, Ohio is a prime location for future startups.” To address this, Chris Volpe, CEO of MulitVarious Games and Founder of the Ohio Game Developer Association, will kick off the summit with, “Upping the Game in Ohio: The State of the Industry,” a look at opportunities and challenges facing the game development and eSports industry in Ohio.
Not only does the summit feature important presentations, but an eSports Pavilion will be open all day with potential competitions for spectators in many different games, such as Fortnite and Overwatch. Finally, an exhibition floor will showcase games and virtual reality related products and technologies.
The summit will take place in Baker University Center from 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception and open house from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. in OHIO’s new CoLab on the third floor of Alden Library. The summit will conclude with a showcase of the GRID Lab from 7 – 9 p.m., located on the second floor of E.W. Scripps Hall next to Alden Library.
Admission to the summit is free, but registration is recommended. To view the schedule, for more information on the Ohio University Business of Games Summit or to register, visit http://gridlab.ohio.edu/bogs/.