The Games for Change Festival was held in a virtual environment due to COVID-19 this year.
The lineup was well represented by the industry in both entertainment and serious games — giants in the industry like Facebook, thatgamecompany, Microsoft, Verizon with industry representation by IGDA and the ESA, and the academic sector represented by speakers from over 10 university-affiliated game labs.
Industry vets in the field of education and remote learning gave talks in the serious games and VR markets. Vets like Jesse Schell of Schell Games spoke on the need for educational games in VR., Schell participated in the 2018 IITSEC/Serious Games Showcase and Challenge with the VR game, HoloLAB Champions, which won awards as the Best Business-Developed Game and Best XR Game.
Kate Edwards, Executive Director of the Global Game Jam, and former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and Gordon Bellamy, CEO of Gay Gaming Professionals, talked about growing healthy online communities. Inclusiveness and mental health were important topics, especially as COVID-19 showed a tremendous uptick in folks getting together virtually through games and online forums.
Ryan Green of Numinous Games and That Dragon, Cancer also spoke of the healing power of games in loss and growth. Nathan Sawatsky, of Supercell, reinforced the need for online safety especially in a growing age of remote and distributed learning.
If you missed the event, this year’s conference recordings should be posted online soon.