The last day of Games For Change Festival 2019 wrapped up on a strong note, highlighted by a fireside chat with Yannis Mallat, the CEO of Ubisoft Canada, and Stan Pierre-Louis, the president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, and a look at the new themes and features for Games For Change Festival 2020.

The fireside chat, of course, touched on Ubisoft’s Industry Leadership Award, the first Games For Change has ever given out, and it also covered social multiplayer experiences, how videogames are being used to treat illnesses, the missions behind Ubisoft Montreal projects (which have also been honored with other awards at Games For Change), software and hardware accessibility, and more.

As for the themes for Games For Change Festival 2020, it appears that there will be a focus on reaching more students, especially those in the host cities of New York City, Los Angeles, California, and Detroit, Michigan. This will be possible thanks to Games For Change’s new partnership with Endless Network.

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The new partners have created the Learn to Code Fellowship, which will select three Fellowship cohorts to work in teams. The cohorts will be tasked with creating an open-source game to help players learn how to code.

Endless Network will also be supporting the Fifth Annual Games For Change Student Challenge in 2020.

Of course, these weren’t the only presentations and panels that took place on the final day of Games For Change Festival 2019. Educational games were another hot topic, as Anantha Duraiappah of UNESCO MGIEP gave a keynote presentation on the “need for developing guidelines to qualify games as educational technologies,” and questioned the recent designation of “gaming disorder” as a recognized disease. Leaders from The Institute of Play also shared some of their key learnings from the past ten years, expressing the importance of changing the way “young people experience learning.”

Similarly, Nichol Bradford, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Transformative Technology Lab, highlighted transformative tech and the ability to take tech that can restrict our ability to think and socialize and turn it into something that can transform our emotions and well-being. If used properly, Bradford believes it can offer “greater clarity, joy, and connection to the mind.”

Eric Zimmerman, a game designer, and professor at NYU would probably be on the same page with Bradford: he discussed how videogames have progressed in status over the years. They are no longer considered “brain rotting;” they now have the potential for changing the world, and Zimmerman challenged the games industry to develop “new messages in games and new models of play that promote interaction with spheres outside of gaming such as food, brands, art, and more.”

Other more mainstream games and companies took the stage again for the third day as well. Esports returned on the day with the NBA 2K League, which gave an update on the second year of collaboration between the NBA and Take-Two Interactive. This included a stronger push for diversity and inclusion, a hot topic at other esports panels.* James Vaughan, the CEO, and founder of Ndemic Creations closed the festival out by talking about what he learned from developing Plague Inc and Rebel Inc.

Of course, many other panels took place on the last day of the festival, which you can read about here. The play arcade was also open for the last day of the festival, which allowed attendees to experience a wide variety of traditional, VR, and XR games and experiences and technology.

Games For Change Festival 2019 ran from June 17 through 19 at The New School in New York City. Though no dates for Games For Change Festival 2020 have been announced yet, you can learn more about it on Games For Change’s website and on our hub page for the festival.

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