SXSW 2019 Gaming Programming Announcements and Gaming EXPO Information

March 15th will be here faster than you know it which means it’s time to start planning your SXSW 2019 Gaming experience and festival strategy. SXSW recently announced their 2019 Gaming Programming with three different programming tracks:  Esports Industry, Game Design & Developmentand Game Marketing & Community . They also posted more information gaming stages, exhibitions, Esports tournaments, hands-on play, various PC and Arcade gaming areas at SXSW 2019 Gaming Expo. Below are the latest updates released directly from SXSW over the past week. 

SXSW 2019 Gaming Spotlight on Programming

Esports Industry

  • Bringing Esports to Sports: This panel will cover the challenges and successes of the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League as it integrated esports into traditional sports franchises. Speakers include Grant Paranjape, Director of Esports Business and Team Operations of Monumental Sports & Entertainment; Adam Rubin, Team Operations Manager at the Detroit Pistons; Colin Hayes, Director of Business Strategy of Bucks Gaming; and Claire Kaido, Director of Business Operations of Knicks Gaming and Madison Square Garden Company.
  • Capturing The Game: Storytelling In EsportsNicola Piggott, Co-Founder of The Story Mob, will open a discussion on how esports fans interact with their heroes and what traditional sports can learn from evolving communication channels.
  • Esports: Player Development Best PracticesMatt Nashua, Director of Esports at Counter Logic Gaming, will discuss the benefits of providing centralized facilities for esports teams and explore the latest methods used to keep players in peak condition.
  • Esports and MusicGustav Käll, Global Head of Esports and Gaming at Universal Music Group (UMG), will speak on the history of the development of the record label industry in the last 10 years and how music can be used to enhance games and esports.
  • Esports and Streaming Have Evolved Beyond Winning: This panel will discuss the changes in streaming, esports tournaments, and what this means for the future of the esports industry. Attendees will be able to hear the perspectives from streamers, esports teams, business owners and more to understand how new media opportunities have emerged. Speakers include Sabina Hemmi, Co-Founder and Productor Director at Elo Entertainment; Ashley Christenson, a Streamer, Host and Steam Coach; and Sebastian Park, Vice President of Esports for the Houston Rockets.
  • Esports as a Service: Guaranteeing a FutureBethany Lyons, an Esports Analyst for SuperData Research, will talk about how esports publishers are working to create longer life cycles for their games; the rise and importance of franchising in esports; and how publishers entice advertisers and brands to bet on esports.
  • Leveling Up Your Next Esports Broadcast: This panel will feature professionals working in the esports industry in 2018 to discuss what is working within esports leagues and tournaments, what is not working, how to grow a following and and what the future looks like. Speakers include Nick Cicero, CEO of Delmondo; Shaun “Shonduras” McBride, Owner of Space Station Gaming; Sam Asfahani, Founder & CEO of OS Studios; and Tricia Sugita, COO at FlyQuest.
  • Leveraging Esports: The Value for Brands: This panel will discuss why brands should get involved in the esports industry and how it offers vital benefits in an increasingly digital world. Speakers include Andrew Paradise, CEO and Founder of Skillz Inc.; Nathan Lindberg, Director of Global Esports Sponsorships at Twitch; Kelly Cagney, Director of Global Brand Strategy & Marketing Communications at Turtle Wax; and Andy Swanson, Head of Publisher Relations at Discord.

Game Design and Development

  • Building Computationally Ridiculous Games: This session will discuss how hard it is to make a computationally complex game, the history of limits on users and NPCs in servers, and thoughts on what the future may look like where computing and massive networks play a role in expanding virtual populations to incredible sizes. Speakers include Royal OBrien, Game Tech Chief Evangelist at Amazon, and John Smedley, Studio Head of Amazon Game Studios San Diego.
  • The Business of Fun: Designing a Design Culture: This panel will discuss how various game design directors with products in a range of lifecycles reconcile their design disciplines with overall studio culture and the material impact this has on each company. Speakers include Greg Street, League of Legends Lead Game Designer at Riot Games, and John Erskine, VP of Publishing, CIG Texas Studio Director and founding team member of Cloud Imperium Games.
  • Connected Play: Gamifying The World Around Us: This panel will share perspective on the connected play industry, specific real-world examples of developing connected play products and experiences, how designers are creating new ways to gamify the world around us and what’s ahead for the future of play. Speakers include Valerie Vacante, Founder and Managing Partner at Collabsco; Phil Sage, Senior Director of Design & Development at iPlay and Hasbro; Krissa Watry, Founder and CEO of Dynepic; and Meir Biton, Founder and Chief Product Officer at StoryBall.
  • Don’t Knock it Off! IP Issues for Game DevelopersJennifer Kelly, Partner at Fenwick & West, will guide developers and publishers through key IP issues they should know as well as how to deal with both the shameless copying of their hit games and ensuring their own games don’t infringe on others’ rights.
  • The Technical Art of Bioware’s Anthem: This panel will highlight the art of Anthem, reflect on innovations in the game and recall the successes and challenges of creating a new IP for the world to enjoy. Speakers include Gracie Arenas Strittmatter, Technical Art Director at BioWare; Ben Cloward, CG Supervisor at BioWare; Jeff Vanelle, Principal Technical Artist of Bioware; and Katy Barber, Host and Producer of Kakebytes.
  • UX & Cognitive Science in Game DesignCelia Hodent, a freelance Game UX Consultant, will lead this session to offer an introduction of user experience and psychology in game development, with examples from Fortnite.

Game Marketing and Community

  • Blame Video Games! Shootings, Disease & Morality: This panel will discuss challenges posed by governments and agencies around the world and how you can have a deep impact in the gaming industry by learning about issues and making sure your voices help create a brighter future. Speakers include David Najjab, Director of Institutional Partnerships at Gearbox Software; Manuel Delgado, EVP of Strategy and Government Affairs at Six Foot; and Nika Nour, Head of Public Affairs & Strategic Advisor of the Entertainment Software Association.
  • Why Community-Driven Content is Key For Any CMO: This panel will explore the role of community and impacts of user-generated content from driving product development to developing marketing campaigns to hiring expert talent. Speakers include Taina Malen, COO/CMO of Star Stable Entertainment; Cathy Applefeld Olson, a freelance journalist and contributor to Cynopsis and Billboard; Rebecca Levey, CEO of KidzVuz; and Tyndie DuBose, Vice President of Partner Marketing at Nickelodeon.
  • Young Creators are the Future of Entertainment: This panel will discuss key learnings from young storytellers and how next-gen digital creators are driving consumption of entertainment in a way that will have lasting impacts on the business and legal foundation on which the entertainment industry has been built. Speakers include Grace Francisco, Vice President of Developer Relations at Roblox; Erin Wayne, Lead Community Manager for Twitch; and Ned Sherman, Counsel and Director of Manatt Digital at Manatt.

SXSW 2019 Gaming EXPO

  • Esports Tournament Stage
    • The Esports Tournament Stage hosts numerous esports competitions with dozens of online and offline opportunities available.
  • PC Arena
    • The PC Arena has hundreds of computers and laptops with daily tournaments and tons of prizes. The PC Arena offers endless hours of great PC gaming entertainment.
  • Arcade Bunker
    • The Arcade Bunker contains dozens of classic arcade cabinets, and several newly-fitted rigs featuring the latest games.
  • Tabletop Experience
    • The Tabletop Experience has a gaming library that boasts hundreds of classic and recently-released games in one of the largest open play spaces found at SXSW. The Tabletop Experienceis the home for all tabletop content found at SXSW Gaming.
  • Indie Corner
    • International Indie games from around the world are featured each year in the Indie Cornerto compete for one of four coveted SXSW Gamer’s Voice Awards. This crowd-voted award is dedicated to indie developers and teams, and is part of the SXSW Gaming Awards program.
  • Discovery Stage
    • The Discovery Stage features the best fan-centric programming that involves special appearances, game reveals, and many more fun events hosted throughout the weekend.

SXSW 2019 Gaming Tickets

SXSW 2019 Gaming happens March 15th -17th in Austin, Texas. SXSW 2019 Gaming 3-Day wristbands are now available at the early bird rate of $39, a $10 savings on the walk-up rate in March! An SXSW 3-Day gaming wristbands receive an entry into Gaming programming and special events, along with access to a world-class exhibition featuring the latest games and gaming technology and major Esports tournaments. Tickets for SXSW 2019 Gaming can be purchased here:

Similar to the last 5 years I will be covering SXSW 2019 and will continue to provide you with all the latest updates we receive before March 2019. For more information about SXSW 2019 Gaming please visit:


Source: SXSW, SXSW Gaming, PC Arena at SXSW Gaming 2018 Photo by Jeremiah Dearinger, Arena of Valor Collegiate Showdown Photo by Debra Reyes, Tournament Stage Header Photo by CalHolman, Tabletop Experience at SXSW Gaming 2018 Photo by Diego Donamaria