D.I.C.E. 2018 will once again feature focused roundtable, break-out sessions to facilitate new networking opportunities that will enrich the attendee experience. Roundtables compose of intimate idea sharing with groups of approximately 10 to a table. A roundtable leader will present a compelling topic which will be explored from the varied perspectives of table participants. This is an excellent networking opportunity paired with premier idea sharing.
There will be three different roundtable rooms, each focused on a specific theme: Business Leadership, Creative Development and Media Topics. Business Leadership, Creative Development and Media Topic rooms are open to all paid attendees; D.I.C.E. press attendees are welcome to join discussions in the Media Room. Roundtable sessions will be taking place Thursday, February 22nd.
PLEASE NOTE: Roundtable sessions will be closed events for D.I.C.E. attendees only.
Founder and CEO
The Coming Storm: How Cryptocurrency Could Fully Democratize Game Publishing
Crypto-currency is the latest buzz word making its rounds. But often overlooked on this topic, is how the block chain tech associated with crypto-currency could have far reaching effects, not only how people transact, but how business even operate. Imagine a future where game builds were the currency. And where developer were automatically compensated for ever transaction of their content – used game sales, rentals, codes traded on G2A. Now imagine that the same “currency” was used to fund, distribute, and promote those game – the very core of what traditional publishers do today, and none of it was handled by an institution but fully disintermediated among the community of game developers and game players…
Detoxifying Game Communities
2017 brought us disturbing incidents of players harassing players and players harassing developers. It also brought us amazing, supportive, rad communities. This roundtable will discuss why some communities stay positive while others turn toxic, how we can detoxify communities that have turned negative, and how we can help create positive, self-policing communities. Are there sites, methods, social networks or tools your studio should use, or avoid? How can you effectively deal with trolls and griefers in your community? Let’s share best practices and methods for making sure we have great communities for our players (and ourselves)!
Creating an Adaptable Culture
There are two key aspects to team and studio culture, one is aspirational representing the culture you want to have, and the other is reflective representing the culture you actually have. It’s challenging at the best of times (small team, same place, clear vision) to align your culture but it becomes even more challenging as team and studio sizes grow from tens to hundreds, and development spreads from one central location to offices and partners around the world. What worked then, may not work now. Let’s discuss how to create, and maintain a great team/studio culture and how you’ve adapted it to keep up with changes in process and people. Even better, let’s discuss what hasn’t worked so we know what to avoid in our future attempts.
Developing Emotional Agility and Facing Uncertainty
Robin Hunicke is the Co-Founder of the independent game studio Funomena, which creates experimental games for Console, PC, VR & AR platforms. Over the past 12 years Hunicke has had the opportunity to seamlessly move between various roles - game designer, producer, leader and educator. She has found that one of the most challenging obstacles across these roles is dealing with uncertainty - in particular, how to have "emotional agility" in the face of difficult times, and how to communicate about uncertainty with sensitive, creative people. Join Hunicke as she explores the art of navigating through these issues and learn how they may actually be opportunities to help your team flourish.
Director of Communication
Building an Internal Communications Team at Development Studios
Having only a community manager inside most development studios no longer meets all the studio’s needs – it’s time to think bigger. There is a benefit to having an internal communications department in most development studios, regardless of size, and whether they are independent or first party. The broad scope of responsibility also presents interesting challenges on how to integrate the department within the studio, and how they work with publishers and external agencies. In this discussion, we’ll talk about how an internal communications team can be beneficial to all stakeholders, and discuss best practices and how to overcome common cultural and process challenges.
Director and Co-Founder
Bad studio process can destroy lives, and good studio process can make dream jobs. What can we do better, and how do we do it?
Extracting a coherent game from a diverse group of passionate, brilliant creators feels miraculous sometimes. Good studio process can bring some method to the madness. Probably someone has suggested "well it's important to put the game first" but that's an idea, not a process. How do you structure your studio? What's the purpose of it? How do you get from prototype to production? How do you integrate suggestions from outside the core team? Do you have a formal structure for pitching fixes? What are some hands-on ways that studio leads help build team confidence in outcomes? In this conversation we will explore the ways we make things that are greater than the sum of their parts.
Who is "Everyone"?
It is no mystery that outrage has always had a place inside videogame communities, and in our current cultural environment, there's no reason to expect it to subside. But when the internet erupts it can be hard to discern if everyone is angry and corrective action is necessary or if an isolated core has strong microphones. Using findings from his data analytics company Spiketrap as a jumping off point, Adam Sessler will lead a discussion about tactics and concerns in these fraught moments when any decision can fan the flames.
Streams of Communication
A roundtable to share new and best practices, pitfalls and learnings around the "new media" landscape, from your blog to Twitch, to influencers, to press.
Boss Fight Entertainment
The Future of Lootboxes
"Lootboxes" have been the basic building block of monetization for Free-to-Play games for years, but in 2017, the business model began to move into AAA games, often with mixed results. Should we expect to see this trend continue? What lessons should we learn from those who have struggled to get players to appreciate this billing model? And should we be concerned about potential regulatory action in the future?
Head of Publisher Relations
Gaming Lifecycle Management - The Conversation Formerly Known As One_Way
Traditionally, in the very hard-copy based world of a game marketing lifecycle, there was a schedule of materials, media drops, and outreach designed more to encourage pre-orders and retails sales then to drive excitement and conversation around the game content itself. The ultimate goal was to drive people to buy the game on day one. From that point forward, the conversation and interaction became secondary. In this new world order of digital distribution and the increasing growth of multiplayer game experiences, there is no longer a start, middle, and end to a game's lifecycle. Instead, there is a much earlier starting point and longer tail for game devs to hop on. This discussion will focus on the importance of that conversation between devs and their players, how tools like Discord encourage and contribute to that lifecycle, and why that is important in this new world order.
Community and Culture
Great company culture doesn't just happen. It takes intention and planning to create and maintain the culture you want for your studio. Focusing on start-ups and indies, we'll talk about creating a culture from the ground up. From selecting and defining your mission, purpose, and core values, to the day to day work of implementation, we will share stories and techniques that will help define our studios for years to come. Morgan Webb is from Bonfire Studios, an independent developer that is defining and prioritizing studio culture from day one.
Founder and CEO
Building Great Games & Great Games Businesses - What it takes to win in today’s digitally distributed games market.
Why are great games not always great businesses? Sounds simple, but the gap between subjectively great games and objectively great businesses has never been greater. We’re all in search of the perfect combination of these two ideals and at this RoundTable we’ll talk about the quest for quality & player relevancy while also employing the necessary techniques to turn player engagement into a sustainable and growing business. From Gamemaking to Game Operating, let’s fearlessly share what we’ve learned and move our medium and our businesses forward together.
This is a tumultuous industry where companies can close suddenly or a project you’ve worked on for 2 years gets cancelled. How do we bounce back and stay motivated and passionate? What are things we’ve learned when starting a new company or game after a time of heavy turbulence?
The future of audience participation in gaming
Join Wright as he leads a discussion imagining future audience interaction with games and how that will impact different disciplines, from design to business. How do audiences participate in eSports in a way that keeps games fair and balanced? As audiences grow in size, and players become performers, who becomes the game’s primary customer? If audiences are participating in games, where do you draw the line between audiences and players? Are we converging to a point where everyone is a participant? What are the business and legal ramifications of that?
Founder and Director
The Video Game History Foundation
I've Been Stealing from You for Years (And It's for Your Own Good)
The video game industry has a memory problem, and we're not talking about RAM. Collectively we've lost or thrown away far more of our past work than we've kept, and in our current predominantly-digital landscape, it's only getting worse. How will historians of the future talk about us if we don't leave anything interesting behind? And is there a way we can work toward ensuring our work is properly archived and available?
Giving AI Personality
While using AI to extend the character’s vocabulary and speech opportunities, how do we still create interesting characters? This is a non-technical look at this challenge.
President, E-Line Media
Co-Founder, Experimental Design
Rapidly-Prototyping the Future
E-Line Media recently launched a world building joint venture with Alex McDowell, narrative designer, founder of the World Building institute at USC and production designer on over twenty films including Minority Report for Steven Spielberg. Minority Report is one of the best examples of how popular media can create expert-informed possible futures that become reality. This discussion will explore how Experimental Design is working with top film-makers, game-makers and world builders to build evocative, holistic worlds where many stories can be told (across any media) - rapidly prototyping the future with a deeply human lens for Fortune 500 companies, municipalities, government agencies, film studios and social impact organizations.
Data vs Instinct: Decision-Making in Game Development
In the last decade data analysis, A/B testing and predictive modeling have transitioned from an afterthought (if any thought) to mostly a given in the game industry. Data can be invaluable in understanding the player and making decisions, but it can just as easily lead us astray or narrow the scope of our vision. How should we be balancing data vs instinct? What factors should we consider? What's right for your team? And how do you change?
League of Geeks
Production in the Era of Games as a Service.
Indie studios have begun to embrace the games as a service development model as an effective way of sustaining the long term success of their titles. Let’s chat production and the struggles, successes and strategies we use. What do you have in your production tool belt that can be used to make games as a service viable for your team? What can be achieved with the resources of a small to medium studio that also sustains multiple live platforms?
General Manager for Studios 1st Publishing, Team Xbox
Building Games for Everyone
It’s a well-known fact that checklists inspire no-one to do their best work. Small game teams oftentimes have big stories to tell, and representing all of these ambitions is not always feasible. Join Shannon on a roundtable to discuss how to build a big, diverse story and world with the resources of a small team. Through lots of trial and error, Shannon has learned a thing or two on how to focus in a team’s internal approaches to ensure that developers are telling inclusive stories that impart respect, authenticity, and love.
Director, Virtual Reality Center of Excellence
AR, VR, and Getting The Future To Arrive Earlier
While barriers to adoption are falling, and corners of the business are seeing moderate success, we’ve still not seen runaway growth analysts predicted. This panel will discuss technology, design and business challenges facing gaming on immersive computing platforms.
Chief Development Officer & Co-founder
Building a Culture of Creativity
How can we inspire individual, team, and cross-team creativity? Let’s explore the processes, tools, structures, and other mechanisms that can be used to make sure creativity is being fostered in organizations big and small.
From Title to Franchise: Maximizing Intellectual Property
Let’s talk about how to build a franchise and what criteria can help us determine how far we can go or whether we should go at all. Let’s think together about the energy, time and resources invested as creators and as customers with title-specific universe and characters, technology and systems, mechanics and skills, etc, and how to draft off that investment for future efforts. Let’s consider franchise management in the context of a larger marketplace and within a company’s own portfolio of works. Let’s talk about the balance between energy spent towards continued exploitation of a past success and energy spent towards creating new things. Let’s combine our experience and thinking at the table to understand what considerations we can use at the onset to inform our decisions during development towards the franchise goals we hope to keep open for us.
Effective Creative Collaboration
Join us for a conversation around the principals that drive effective, interdisciplinary game teams. Our questions will focus on the group dynamics of high-performance teams. How do we organize cross-disciplinary collaboration? What are ways to structure effective conversations? Where do we turn when the path forward is unclear? We'll exchange strategies for ensuring new ideas survive group scrutiny and trade models for effective creative leadership.
CEO and Co-Founder
The Current Habits of Next Generation Game Consumers – Players vs. Viewers
Once upon a time, aka 2016, no convention attendee said these words to me on a show floor: "I don't play games. I watch them on streams." In the past year the number of attendees who both know my games and have never played my games is increasing. The common denominator- all are 18 years old and younger. At what point is this non-playing generation going to tip? Outside of touchpad devices do these kids have experience with console or pc gaming? Why are they are bouncing off the play experience at conventions sometimes while in cosplay for my games? In this discussion, we will chat about changing cultural expectations of games and how streaming is affecting this along with the wild west landscape of streaming that protects neither streamer nor developer.
Story BEFORE Mechanic: The Case for Game Design Heresy
For decades, game designers have started by "finding the fun." At Campo Santo we've started with finding the story and tone of the game. Come have a discussion about the pros and cons of this opposite approach or simply use the hour to taunt Sean Vanaman for not being a True Gamer.
Studio Head - Halo Transmedia and Entertainment
The DNA of a Game Universe
Some game franchises aspire to expand beyond the core game experience. Often it is the fictional universe the developers build within and around the game that allows players to connect more deeply with that game or to experience it through other mediums. But what are the meaningful components of a game universe and how do you grow and evolve it beyond the game (and should you)? We'll also chat about the role of community and co-authorship in this process and the challenge of maintaining authenticity to the core experience.
Journalist aren’t your enemies… or friends
An introduction to journalism for those in the game industry, focusing on the basics of the craft to help those often covered by the press understand how and why the profession serves the people who play, make, market and publish games. It will also serve as a chance to get a better understanding of the process and what expectations one should have when becoming the subject of an article. Moderator Brian Crecente established Kotaku as one of the largest gaming sites in the world, co-founded Polygon and is currently building out Rolling Stone’s gaming coverage at Glixel. Prior to covering video games, Crecente spent a decade and a half covering crime and public safety for newspapers around the country.
Big and Micro Influencers: Discussion on Tips and Tools for Engagement
In this roundtable, Perrin will share best practices for utilizing Online Influencers as partners. What is an influencer? And how do you go about working with growing talent and avoid the payment barrier? What are best practices to reach consumers through these channels? How do you best engage YouTube game channels? What are the positives and negatives for a company to use sub-brands in their online strategy?
The Independent Gaming Press In 2018
In an age of streamers, sponsored content, and social media, what is the role of the independent press covering the video games beat? The news-preview-review cycle is long dead, and a variety of approaches are replacing it. Press, developers, and publishers are welcome for a candid discussion of the state of the press in 2018. Moderator Chris Kohlerspent a decade covering games for WIRED, is currently Features Editor of Kotaku and is the author of the books Final Fantasy V and Power-Up.
Co-Founder, Executive Producer
What's Good Games
Engaging New Audiences and The Changing Face of "The Gamer"
When we picture "a gamer," there's a tendency to gravitate towards a default demo - an "average" gamer in age, gender, orientation, race, ability and more. But there are passionate gamers who don't match that type - and connecting with them in the right way can expand your audience and deepen your relationships significantly. Andrea Rene has been working in games media for a decade with brands like IGN, GameTrailers, GameStop TV, and more. She'll lead a discussion about the best ways to authentically reach out via media, community development, marketing and more to help look for ways to build beyond the default demo.
Lead Writer for GamesBeat
Super fans, super haters. Everybody has them. How do you deal with them?
What are the learnings we get from big blow-ups with fan communities? How do we learn from them? What are the perspectives of companies, developers, the press, and others when it comes to learning from the people can be either your best friends or your worst haters?
Studio Head & Co-founder
"The D.I.C.E. roundtable event is a great opportunity to meet with industry veterans, gaming thought leaders, and fans in an intimate setting conducive to knowledge sharing and open dialog. I valued the chance to hear diverse perspectives on topics important to me, and to my studio."
"The D.I.C.E. roundtables provided a unique opportunity to explore a range of topics to a greater depth than a typical conference. With the typical caliber of D.I.C.E. attendees present, the discussions were substantive, collaborative, and extremely informative. As a roundtable leader, I had the responsibility of gently directing the conversation around my topic, but it was fantastic to watch the attendees drive the dialog and organically take it in unexpected directions."
Chief Publishing Officer
"D.I.C.E. roundtables are a great way connect at a much deeper, more engaged level…you get to the meat of a topic quickly. I find comparing notes and real world experiences among 8-10 industry peers leads to helpful, actionable takeaways."
Chief Executive Officer
"The roundtables at D.I.C.E. 2016 let me connect with a bunch of great people, some of whom I met for the first time along with colleagues I have known for many years. The format let us talk and move the conversation into areas that mattered to us, and really helped me get some insights into how my peers are thinking about issues affecting our industry right now."
Director of Publishing
“I heard great things about the roundtables at D.I.C.E. Europe and was curious to see how the event would scale at the Summit in Las Vegas. The sessions exceeded my expectations. They were engaging, informative, and fun. It gave me an opportunity to discuss topical issues with peers who could offer a fresh perspective.”
“The D.I.C.E. roundtable sessions have proven incredibly valuable and are now a cherished portion of the Summit where I look forward to participating. It’s such an extremely rare opportunity to have point blank discussions with luminaries who are all seeking greater answers, yet are already at the top of their game. Priceless.”