To the future (and BEYOND!): Speakers from the gaming world announced

2020 has seen so much change, we can’t help but speculate on what will emerge from the chaos. This week’s latest BEYOND announcements look to the future with renowned speakers from the world of gaming – are we on the brink of the Metaverse? What does the future of Esports look like? What opportunities have arisen from the pandemic and what ideas have had to be left behind?

Introducing: Brenda Romero

Brenda Romero is a BAFTA award-winning game director, entrepreneur, artist and Fulbright award recipient and is presently game director and creator of the Empire of Sin franchise. She is also CEO and co-founder of Romero Games based in Galway, Ireland.

As a game director, she has worked on 50 games and contributed to many seminal titles, including the Wizardry and Jagged Alliance series and titles in the Ghost Recon, Dungeons & Dragons and Def Jam franchises.

Brenda is the recipient of multiple lifetime achievement awards, including a Grace Hopper Award and GDC Ambassador Award, and many of the games she has contributed to have won dozens more awards.

Mainstage: Metaverse 1.0

Joining this year’s BEYOND as a keynote speaker, Brenda Romero will explore whether, this time, we are really on the brink of the Metaverse. The session will delve into our Day 2 theme of emergence, as we begin to wonder what life will look like post-pandemic – what will be left behind, and what will emerge from the chaos.

With viable technology and the promise of a parallel economy unaffected by pandemics, the notion of the Metaverse – the seamless integration of physical and virtual worlds – is back.

With her expert knowledge of the new technologies and business models, Brenda Romero discusses what a metaverse might look like if we fail to remember how damaging and limiting biases have so often been baked into new technologies.

Introducing: Heather Dower

Heather Dower set up the Esports creative marketing agency ‘Hotdrop’ in late 2019. Her journey in gaming began as a streamer in early 2011, quickly learning how to optimise a personal brand and developing expertise in the emerging market of esports & gaming influencers by becoming a successful brand influencer and esports broadcaster.

Pre Hotdrop, Heather applied her industry experience as the UK’s Marketing Director for ESL. She led the marketing and creative teams through various global properties, brand activations, charitable events as well as pioneering new IP product development.

Live Panel on Esports: Responding to the Pandemic

Heather Dower will be chairing this live panel and Q&A, joined by gaming experts James Dean and Anna Baumann. Together they will look at the significant changes that the global pandemic has delivered to the Esports sector. The session will link to our Day 1 theme of ‘Divergence’, exploring how the pandemic has interrupted normal programming and what changes will be permanent.

So far in 2020 the hiatus in live sports has led to surging interest from traditional sports fans – however, currently Esports tournaments remain paused too. This session explores the evolving relationships between organisers, players, audiences and advertisers, to gauge the response required for the sector to survive and thrive.

Introducing: James Dean

Providing invaluable insights to the above panel with discussion about the future of Esports, James is the founder and CEO of the ESL UK subsidiary, responsible for building the ESL brand and community on a regional level. He also leads the consortia developing the Audience of the Future Esports Demonstrator ‘Weavr’, funded by UKRI.

We are delighted to have James joining us on Day 1 of BEYOND, and can’t wait to hear how this discussion will unfold as the panelists delve into the future of the Esport sector.

Introducing: Anna Baumann

Anna is Executive Vice President of Esports at ReKTGlobal, overseeing its eSports properties Rogue and London Royal Ravens. While she remains Managing Director and General Counsel of the European subsidiary, running the LEC and Polish Regional League slot, she now focuses on a streamlined implementation of the unique vision of ReKTGlobal’s ownership group: to build a global brand, connecting music icons, esports superstars and community outreach across all esports properties.


To experience the showcases and speakers featured in this article, tickets for BEYOND are on sale now. Join us from 30 November – 3rd December 2020 for this year’s BEYOND – a unique, annual gathering of current and future innovators focused on Research and Development across the Creative Industries. The all virtual BEYOND 2020 is a space where thinkers, makers, investors and researchers across the creative industries come together to explore the relationship between creative research and business innovation. Find out What’s On and register for updates for all the latest.