My experience at Games for Change Festival 2023

Games For Change Festival 2023 Featured Shared Screen

From 14 to 21 July 2023 took place the Games For Change Festival in New York, USA.

Organized by the Games For Change association, which aims to promote games and experiences with social impact, the festival had a very busy schedule .

I had the chance to participate in the festival during the 3 main days of conference, from July 18 to 20, 2023.

First of all, I have to say that I am impressed, and I have indicated this to the organizers in person, but organizing a 7-day event with 2-3 activities per day in some cases is not an easy task.

Then they accomplished this by inviting video games, and gaming to the United Nations headquarters in New York on July 17, 2023! This day was reserved for decision-makers and directors of companies and large groups in the video game industry to network.

From July 18 to 20, conferences, meetings, business meetings and workshops were divided between the New York Times Center and Microsoft’s premises in New York. They were fortunately located 2 minutes walk, on the same street practically, in Times Square on the island of Manhattan.

Times Center:

Microsoft Offices:

The conferences covered many topics: the social impacts of games, mental health, social justice, climate change, the future and citizen engagement.

It was stimulating to meet so many experts in their field, and to be exposed to new points of view, problems encountered but also solutions found. I learned a lot and also discovered the meaning of SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

Games For Change Festival 2023 Image 5 SDG Riot Games Shared Screen
Games For Change Festival 2023 Image 5 SDG Riot Games Shared Screen

The SDGs are according to the definition of Wikipedia on the English page :

“The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a set of seventeen interrelated goals designed to serve as a ‘common blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and in the future’.

[The SDGs are: no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; clean and affordable energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reducing inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life under water; life on land; peace, justice and strong institutions; and partnerships for goals. The SDGs focus on the interconnected environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development with sustainability at the centre of their concerns.”

In his talk, Jeffrey Burrell, head of social impact at Riot Games, talked about the initiatives the company had tried to motivate the huge mass of League of Legends players to unite for good causes. The narrative was naturally made up of trial and error and it’s always refreshing to hear representatives from major video game studios admit flaws in the initiatives launched.

It is visible at 3h01m00 below.

This is just one of the many, many exciting conferences that have taken place. At the time of writing, the videos are not separated by conference, but I will recommend lectures when they are.

The vast majority of conferences were held on time. The organization was very precise. Guests were present and available. For me, who travels video game conventions around the world, this is a miracle.

In addition to the conference days, there was a room called “Immersive Arcade” inside the New York Times Center. A dozen VR projects were presented.

There was another VR arcade at ONX studio in New York, a 20-minute walk away, but unfortunately I couldn’t observe this in time. So here are just pictures of the inside of the building. 😀

As if that were not enough and to give everyone the opportunity to talk to each other, each of the 3 days I participated in was punctuated by parties on the rooftops of New York. This made it possible to network, meet new people and admire the “skyline” or silhouette of the city’s buildings.

The Games For Change Festival 2023 was impressive in every way: the quality and quantity of the speakers, the prestigious venues chosen, the organization in general, the themes selected, the technique.

It is 20 years of experience that we see very clearly concretized and it could not take place without all the business development that the team has been able to carry out and which has materialized by a large number of partners who support the organization.

Congratulations to the whole team and thank you very much for the invitation.

Games For Change Festival 2023 Image 6 Shared Screen
Games For Change Festival 2023 Image 6 Shared Screen

To see the videos of the conferences shot at the New York Times Center, here is the list:

July 18, 2023 (all day)

July 19, 2023 Part 1 (morning)

19 July 2023 Part 2 (afternoon)

19 July 2023 Part 3 (afternoon)

XR Showcase:

July 20, 2023 Part 1 (morning)

July 20, 2023 Part 2 (afternoon)

And to find the conferences that interest you, follow this calendar on their website. At this time, conferences taking place at Microsoft premises are not available online. Nevertheless, they were recorded.

All photos are the property of Shared Screen Inc.

About Marc Shakour

Former video game programmer, columnist, teacher, competitor ... Marc has always been very familiar with the world and industry of video games. He decided to help neophytes about it, to discover new universes, worlds and fantastic creatures.

View all posts by Marc Shakour