• Sat. May 25th, 2024

Games for Change unveils speakers for 20th annual festival


May 2, 2023
Games for Change unveils speakers for 20th annual festival


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This year’s Games for Change Festival will feature sessions on AI, mental health, education, and more when it takes place on July 18 through July 20 in New York City.

The Games for Change Festival is the world’s largest annual event dedicated to games and social impact, and the program is now in its 20th year.

Newly announced speakers for the 2023 festival include:

Paul Fletcher.
  • Paul Fletcher (psychiatrist and professor of health neuroscience, University of Cambridge) will take a deep dive into harnessing clinical neuroscience, VR, and gaming through The Insight Project – an initiative developed by Ninja Theory in collaboration with the University of Cambridge to support mental health through games.
  • Jesse Damiani (arts & culture advisor, Protocol Labs) will host a panel of AI and metaverse experts discussing how advances will affect safety, inclusion, data collection, and digital literacy. The panel will include ChatGPT answering questions in real time.
  • Paolo Pirjanian (founder/CEO of Embodied), will discuss how generative AI and robotics can be designed to tap into human empathy and inspire greater engagement during play in order to help promote social, emotional, and cognitive development as well as overall wellbeing.
  • Cynthia Williams (president of Wizards of the Coast and Digital Gaming) will host a panel of executives and education experts discussing Dungeons & Dragons school curricula that builds skills in storytelling, language arts, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication.
  • Jae Lin (Hotline Director, Games and Online Harassment Hotline) will present an actionable roadmap and nuanced framework to approach harm in a survivor-centered way, fostering change, accountability, and more meaningful apologies.
  • Jude Ower (founder and CEO, Playmob, cofounder, Playing for the Planet) and Mathias Norvig (CEO, Sybo Games) will discuss a new book, ‘Playing for our Lives’ which gives a practical guide to anyone on the best ways to action real world impact from within digital playgrounds.
Jesse Damiani (Arts & Culture Advisor, Protocol Labs).

“As the gaming industry continues to rapidly evolve, engaging in critical discussions around timely topics and their impact on our society is more important than ever. As the leader in games and social impact, Games for Change is proud to facilitate these conversations with a diverse group of industry executives who are collectively shaping the future of games and immersive media over the next 20 years,” said Games for Change President Susanna Pollack, in a statement. “We are excited to host these important conversations and work towards a mindful, safe, and sustainable future for our industry.”


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Paolo Pirjanian (founder/CEO of Embodied)

Games for Change also announced today that regular-priced tickets are on sale for the event. This ​includes exclusive access to all three days of the Festival, including the XR for Change Summit, as well as the annual awards celebration and access to a one-of-a-kind immersive arcade.

With an expanding lineup of industry experts and thought leaders from diverse fields, the festival promises numerous networking opportunities, arcades, and much more.​ ​​The event includes the XR for Change Summit (July 20), where attendees can explore emerging technologies shaping the future of social innovation in the metaverse and today’s most cutting-edge immersive experiences that are unlocking new pathways for social impact.

Additional Festival Events (invite only)

G4C Games & SDG Summit (July 17): An invite-only summit that will activate the games and XR sector to support key UN Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations Headquarters (Delegates Dining Room) for leaders across industries.

G4C Next Gen Fest (July 21): Youth ages 13-18 will come together to learn, create, and shape the future of video games for impact across education, civics, health, science, and more.

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