Games for Change Celebrates 20th Anniversary by Expanding Festival to Include Summit at UN and “Next Gen” Youth Event

(NEW YORK, March 7, 2023) - Games for Change (G4C) announced an expanded programming slate for its 20th annual flagship event, the Games for Change Festival, July 17-21. The Festival will now include an entire week of events, beginning with the first-ever Games and SDG Summit at the United Nations Headquarters (Delegates Dining Room) in New York City, hosted in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Additionally, an inaugural Next Gen Fest for youth 13-18 years old will cap the week-long events, providing a forum for young people to explore and shape the future of video games for impact across education, civics, health, science, and more.

“With growing evidence and excitement around the power of games and XR to transform our world, it’s clear that the Games for Change community has a role to play in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous future for future generations,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “The Games and SDG Summit and Next Gen Fest are exciting additions to our week-long Festival program — and will help expose more young people, policymakers and NGOs to the bold ideas, playful learning experiences, and cross-sector partnerships that the Games for Change Festival is known for.”   

Over the past two decades, the annual Games for Change Festival has become the must-attend gathering for changemakers, developers, executives, and fans who believe in the impact of gaming and immersive media. Since then, Games for Change's mission to drive real-world change through video games and immersive media has spread worldwide, capturing the public’s imagination, inspiring cross-sector collaboration, and sparking widespread innovation. 

The growing interest in the power of games and immersive media for impact from a wider array of audiences — from government and nonprofit leaders to technology and media executives, and educators and families — led to the creation of the long-imagined Next Gen Fest to engage youth in the future of impact games, and to the Games and SDG Summit to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges such as climate change. 

“The climate crisis needs all hands on deck and we’re delighted to be working with Games for Change on the upcoming Summit in New York,” Sam Barratt, Chief of Youth, Education and Advocacy for UNEP. “While it’s early days still, the Playing for the Planet initiative shows that the games industry is committed to act on the environmental agenda. We look forward to sharing the learning and insights we have gathered over the past three years and to see what more we can do together.” 

About the G4C Games & SDG Summit

The G4C Games & SDG Summit is the first-ever video games industry convening at the UN. The half-day event will bring together over 150 leaders from the games industry, policy, media, non-profit sector, and others to spark dialogue, identify strategies, and explore how games and extended reality (XR) technologies like virtual and augmented reality can support key UN SDGs, including education, equality, justice, climate action, and sustainable cities and communities. The invite-only event will feature keynote speakers, case studies, panel discussions, and a games arcade.

About the Next Gen Fest for Youth

The G4C Next Gen Fest is designed to educate, inspire, and empower middle and high school students to become responsible gamers, creators of impact games and XR experiences, and agents of change in their communities. The G4C Next Gen Fest will connect young people to professionals working in the gaming industry and provide exposure to careers in technology and social innovation. During the event, students can learn digital design and coding skills, practice creative problem-solving and collaboration, and connect with a community of peers and mentors. The day-long event at the Microsoft Experience Center in New York City will bring together over 150 students for learning sessions, workshops, meet-and-greet opportunities with streamers and gaming industry executives, and more.

Games for Change Festival Program Schedule

The lineup of events taking place during the 20th Anniversary Games for Change Festival July 17-21 in New York City will include:

  • G4C Games & SDG Summit (July 17): Create partnerships that activate the games and XR sector to support key UN Sustainable Development Goals at an invite-only summit for leaders across industries.
  • Games for Change Festival (July 18-19): Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the world’s largest annual event dedicated to games and social impact, which draws a cross-sector community of changemakers, developers, executives, and fans from around the world
  • XR for Change Summit (July 20): 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.
  • 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.

Additional details on the 2023 Games for Change Festival can be found online at

About Games For Change

Since 2004, Games For Change (G4C) has empowered game creators and innovators to drive real-world change — using games and immersive media to help people learn, improve their communities, and make the world a better place. G4C partners with technology and gaming companies, nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies to run world-class events, public arcades, design challenges, and youth programs. G4C supports a global community of game developers working on using games to tackle real-world challenges, from humanitarian conflicts to climate change and education.