For the second consecutive year, Digital Media Wire’s annual LA Games Conference (LAGC) is going all-virtual. With the gaming industry seeing unprecedented growth throughout the pandemic, there will be a lot of ground to cover at the online event, which is set to take place from May 10-12. The agenda is divided into three categories—Games Business, Hollywood and Creators, and Mobile and Esports—and features more than 50 speakers.

Ahead of the event, we caught up with Tinzar and Ned Sherman, co-founders of Digital Media Wire and LA Games Conference, about this year’s theme, best practices for pivoting to online, how they tackled the absence of in-person networking and more. 

What is the theme of this year’s LAGC and what, if any, was the inspiration for this theme?

LAGC2021 focuses on the intersection between Hollywood and Gaming with focus on popular gaming trends such as UGC, Metaverse, NFTs, esports, diversity and inclusion in games and investment.  Our theme is inspired by the latest business and investment activity in the games ecosystem, which monitor throughout the year through our community and network of news and events.  

Do you have any best practices for putting together an event like LAGC online? 

Whether producing an event online, in person or as a hybrid, our advice is to focus on community and execution.   

What has been or continues to be the most challenging part about pivoting LAGC from in-person to online? 

We use Zoom as our online platform. Since everyone was already familiar with it, the transition from in-person to online conference was smooth. The challenge is to provide a meaningful networking opportunity to attendees looking to meet new contacts. Our attendees are active on chat during the panel sessions and have successfully used the chat format as a way to meet new contacts with whom they connect with after the event. 

Were there any takeaways from taking LAGC online the first time last year? 

The speakers and attendees were highly engaged in the online format.  We also had more global attendees who joined us last year and we are expecting similar global attendance this year. 

How or in what ways does online LAGC differ from the in-person event?

The in-person event had 3 simultaneous tracks and it’s a 1-day event compared to the online event being 3 days for 3 different tracks. The days are shorter for the online conference too so attendees are not sitting in front of the screens the entire day.  

For many, a big drawback of online events is the lack of face-to-face networking—after last year’s online event, do you have any insights on this new form of networking?

Yes, we had explored the alternatives but found that our attendees and speakers are quite good at connecting via Linkedin.  We encourage people to share their Linkedin profiles during the sessions. When we can safely gather again, we hope to host more in-person gatherings and to experiment with hybrid formats. 

How do you see LAGC’s event model evolving? 

We think that the online version is here to stay but there is value in face-to-face meetings and hope to host hybrid events going forward.

The following list represents this year’s LA Games Conference keynotes and featured speakers. See the full list of speakers here.

  • Angela Roseboro- Chief Diversity Officer, Riot Games
  • Ben Feder- President, International Partnerships (North America), Tencent Games
  • Bernard Kim- President of Publishing, Zynga
  • Chris DeWolfe- CEO and Co-Founder, Jam City
  • Jaci Hays- Chief Operations Officer, FaZe Clan
  • Jeonghee Jin- CEO, Pearl Abyss America
  • Maxim de Wit- Global Head of Content, Unity Technologies
  • Samantha Ryan- Senior Vice President, Group GM, BioWare, Full Circle, Maxis, Motive, Electronic Arts
  • Saxs Persson- Co-Chief Creative Officer, Mojang Studios, Minecraft
  • Simon Sim- President and CEO, Netmarble US
  • Stanley Pierre-Louis- President and CEO, Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
  • Ted Schilowitz- Futurist, Paramount Pictures