20 Years in the Making!
July 14 - 21, 2023 • New York City
Come celebrate Games for Change's 20th year anniversary with us this summer. Listen to expert perspectives on the current state of the industry, retrospectives on what we learned over the years from our collective past failures and wins, and predictions for the global future of games and XR in education, health and wellness, civic engagement, environmental sustainability, and more.
Celebrate 20 Years of Impact !
2023 marks the 20th anniversary of Games for Change. This year's Festival will be bigger and better than ever, including newly expanded programming like the first-of-its-kind Games & SDG Summit at the United Nations, the flagship Games for Change Festival, the cutting-edge XR for Change Summit, and the inaugural Next Gen Fest for youth. Come celebrate with us for this historical event this summer!
Join us for a 360-degree view of the past, present, and future of games and XR for change and experience:
A 20th Anniversary Celebration
Celebrate the past 20 years of games and immersive media for impact with special events, activations, and more!
XR Summit & Immersive Arcade
A full day of sessions and an Immersive Arcade showcasing award-winning, cutting-edge XR experiences from around the world.
Networking & Interactive Sessions
Connect with community members through interactive networking opportunities, Meet the Funder Sessions, workshops, and more.
Founder and Creative Director at Heart Machine
Alx Preston, Founder and Creative Director at Heart Machine, is an artist who seeks to express himself through games, a medium so complex and challenging that only the truly determined/mad/angry at themselves would pursue a career in it long-term. And yet, here we are, some 10 odd years later after the launch of Hyper Light Drifter, a game with measured success and "bleak" written all over it. Heart Machine has grown a fair bit over the years, including releasing the game Solar Ash. He credits that to the kind people who decide they want to lend their time and talents to the wild whisperings of a starry-eyed cave dweller. Typically you'll find Alx talking, drawing or writing, all things he heard were "cool" at some point (and likely from a stranger that seemed trustworthy and bullish enough to be convincing) and never looked back.
Head of Policy for the Frontier Technology initiative at Minderoo Foundation
Dr. Burcu Kilic is the Head of Policy for the Frontier Technology initiative at Minderoo Foundation. Burcu is a global influencer, experienced thought leader, advocate, and strategist. She has researched and written extensively on digital rights, intellectual property, innovation, and trade and provided technical advice and assistance in numerous countries in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Africa. Before joining the Minderoo Foundation, Burcu directed the Digital Rights Program at Public Citizen and Public Citizen’s research on access to medicines. She was named as one of the 300 Women Leaders in Global Health in 2015 in recognition of her work on health and trade policy. She was also a practitioner fellow at Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab in 2021-22.
Award-winning Emerging Technology Pioneer, Professor, Entrepreneur, and former UN Diplomat
Gabo Arora is a world renowned multi-award winning immersive artist, professor, entrepreneur and former UN diplomat who works with the most cutting-edge emerging technologies, including virtual and augmented reality, to tell some of the most important stories of our time. Widely recognized as a pioneer of new documentary formats, his work, part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), has been described by the BBC and LA Times, amongst many others, as “game changing”, “powerful, moving and without precedent”, and “transcending all the typical barriers of rectangular cinema.”
Hotline Director at Games and Online Harassment Hotline
Jae Lin is the Hotline Director of the Games and Online Harassment Hotline and a mental health advocate for video games spaces. They have a background in queer community health and suicide prevention, with roots in collegiate esports. Jae is also a community organizer around trans liberation, queer arts, and racial justice in Austin, TX.
Arts & Culture Advisor at Protocol Labs
Jesse Damiani is a curator, writer, and advisor in new media art and emerging technologies. He is the founder of Postreality Labs, a strategic sensemaking studio based in Los Angeles, CA. He is Arts and Culture Advisor for Protocol Labs; Senior Curator and Director of Simulation Literacies at Nxt Museum; and the Host of Adobe’s Taking Shape, a hub for 3D art and design. An Affiliate of the metaLAB at Harvard and Institute for the Future, his writing appears in Adweek, Big Think, Billboard, Entrepreneur, HuffPost, IndieWire, NBC News, Quartz, The Verge, and WIRED. Recent curated exhibitions include PROOF OF ART at Francisco Carolinum Linz, the first museum retrospective on the history of NFTs; Synthetic Wilderness at Honor Fraser Gallery; and Simulation Sketchbook: Works in Process at Feral File/Vellum LA. He has served as a mentor in the YouTube VR Creator Lab and worked with both Google and Meta in their initiatives to develop educational content for the XR industry. He is Founder of Best American Experimental Writing, and formerly served as Editor-at-Large of VRScout; Curator of XR For Change, the extended reality summit at the Games for Change Festival; and Director of Emerging Technology and Insight at Southern New Hampshire University, where he led the Future of Work initiative.
Head of Production at Niantic Games Studios
Kellee Santiago is Head of Production at Niantic Games Studios, with a focus on original IP. As former president and co-founder of thatgamecompany, she developed one of the most prominent brands in independent and innovative game development. In 2013 she moved into Publishing and Developer Relations at OUYA, the Kickstarter Android console. She later joined Google to similarly build out the developer pipelines and content strategy for their VR and AR platforms. Last year she moved back into original game development, working on Ingress, which celebrated their 10th year as a live game, and the upcoming AR-first mobile game, Peridot.
Co-Founder and CEO at DeepWell Digital Therapeutics
One of the most prolific executive producers in the history of the games industry, Mike has been a part of bringing more than 100 games to market with more than 20 original million-unit sellers — all from small independent teams around the world. He and his partners at Devolver Digital have forever changed the measure of success for an independent publisher and he is now fully focused on facilitating opportunities to bring medicinal media to the next generation of creators.
Founder and CEO at Embodied Inc.
Paolo Pirjanian is the founder and CEO of Embodied, Inc., a company with a vision to build socially and emotionally intelligent companions that improve care and wellness. With 16+ years of experience developing and commercializing cutting-edge home robots, Paolo is an early leader in the field of consumer robotics. Previously, he has served as the CTO of iRobot, worked at NASA JPL, and helped create technologies for products from the Sony Aibo to the Roomba.
Embodied is the maker of Moxie the robot. Designed for kids ages 5-10, Moxie is the world’s first robot capable of believable social interactions enabled by generative AI, NLP, and computer vision and can perceive, process and respond to natural conversation, eye contact, facial expressions and other behavior as well as recognize and recall people, places, and things. Using Embodied's next generation platform SocialX, Moxie uses play-based learning to help promote social, emotional, and cognitive development, and constantly learns from kids as it takes them on ‘missions’ revolving around themes like kindness, friendship, empathy and respect.
Ryan J. Douglas
Co-Founder at DeepWell DTx
A noted expert and innovator in the fields of mental health, artificial intelligence, and surgical robotics, Ryan has been on the frontline of major paradigm shifts in healthcare for 15 years. Ryan is currently the CEO of DeepWell Digital Therapeutics, a new game-changing company that creates medically therapeutic games that can be used to treat mental health conditions while maintaining best-in-class gameplay. Ryan has 27 patents issued across robotics, AI and medical applications and has commercialized 30+ medical devices, including treatments for depression, hypertension, women's health, chronic pain, and related neurological conditions. Ryan holds pivotal patents for medical AI, robotics, and systems and frequently has achieved FDA clearance for breakthrough therapies.
Corporate Vice President at Xbox
Sarah Bond (she/her) is the Corporate Vice President, Game Creator Experience and Ecosystem at Microsoft. In this role, she leads the Xbox division dedicated to building and commercializing products and services for game creators and partners. Her global organization works with thousands of developers and partners to bring games to players on console, PC, mobile and the cloud. And, as a member of the Xbox leadership team, Sarah is instrumental in directing strategy, policy, mergers & acquisitions, and integration. As the former CVP of Global Gaming Partnerships and Development, Sarah was instrumental to the growth of Xbox and foundational to the success of Xbox Game Pass. She led the development of strategic partner relationships that advanced the expansion of Xbox Game Studios and was core to establishing the product portfolio in support of Project xCloud. Sarah sits on the Board of Councilors at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, as well as the Board of Directors at the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Zuora, the leading subscription management platform and CHEGG, a leading student-first connected learning platform. Prior to joining Microsoft, Sarah held senior roles at T-Mobile, including leading the Corporate Strategy and Development team, responsible for cross-functional strategic initiatives, major investments, partnerships, mergers and acquisitions and was a member of the team that led T-Mobile’s turnaround. She started her career at McKinsey, where she was an Associate Partner in the Seattle office. Sarah holds a BA in Economics from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Sarah has dedicated her career to transforming cultures, rearchitecting organizations, accelerating businesses, and most importantly empowering others to do the same.
G4C Festival Week Events
XR Brain Jam
July 14 - 16, 2023
A unique event that pairs researchers with XR creators to develop innovative prototypes that push the boundaries of XR. The Jam challenges participants to combine their sectors and tackle problems ranging from biofeedback to social anxiety to climate change.
Games and SDG Summit
July 17, 2023 - At the United Nations - Invite Only
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.
Games for Change Festival
July 18 - 19, 2023 | The Times Center & Microsoft Times Square in NYC
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the world’s largest annual event dedicated to games and social impact, which draws a cross-sector community of change makers, developers, executives, and fans from around the world.
G4C Awards Ceremony
July 19, 2023
The Games for Change Awards celebrate the year's best games and XR experiences for social impact and learning. Come join us in celebrating the some of this years most stand out projects, people, and organizations making a meaningful difference. The event is free for all festival attendees though space is limited.
XR for Change Summit
July 20, 2023 | The Times Center & Microsoft Times Square in NYC
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.
July 21, 2023 - Invite Only
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.