Lightspeed and GamesBeat Unveil Game Changers

Lightspeed and GamesBeat Unveil Game Changers: The Annual Top Game Startup List Recognizing Gaming Innovators

Lightspeed Venture Partners and GamesBeat announced the creation of Game Changers, an annual top game startup list and awards program designed to showcase emerging, innovative startups in gaming and interactive technology.

The initiative will recognize and celebrate the achievements of visionary game startups, while also fostering collaboration and growth within the industry. The judges group includes top leaders from game companies, education, and investment.

Nominations are now open for game startups to enter:

A total of 25 companies will be selected across five major categories. Each category will feature a standout winner:

  • Game studios
  • Gaming platforms (e.g., user-generated content or social)
  • Interactive technology (incl. AI & 3D)
  • Extended reality (i.e., AR/VR)
  • Blockchain & web3

The Game Changers list comes during unprecedented growth in game startups and venture investment funds, even amidst challenging economic conditions. By drawing attention to these remarkable companies, Lightspeed and GamesBeat will provide well-deserved recognition and better visibility, leveraging their combined analytical and journalistic reach.

This annual list is especially timely as gaming is experiencing a fundamental transformation, driven by advancements in AI and 3D technology. These breakthroughs enable startups to create immersive experiences and worlds for the next generation of gamers, pushing the boundaries of imagination and design.

To ensure a fair and inclusive process, Game Changers will adhere to guiding principles emphasizing transparency, allowing global access to nominations, including self-nominations, peer nominations, and the input of hand-selected judges. Diversity is also a key focus, ensuring the inclusion of minorities in the nomination process, such as women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community.

Eligibility criteria stipulate that nominated companies must be part of the gaming industry, be less than five years old, and have fewer than 50 full-time employees.

The selection process will conclude by Sunday, October 1, 2023, with winners announced in mid-October and showcased at the GamesBeat Summit Next conference on October 24 – 25, 2023, at San Francisco’s Midway venue.

The judging panel includes leading gaming executives and operators with senior leadership experience across Activision Blizzard, Amazon, Animoca, ByteDance, DeepMind, Disney Accelerator, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Goldman Sachs, Google, Kabam, Krafton, McKinsey & Co., Meta, Microsoft, Niantic, Oculus, Riot Games, Roblox, Stanford University, Take-Two Interactive, Tencent, TikTok, Unity, Valve, Xbox, YouTube Gaming, Zynga, and others.

The distinguished panel of judges includes prominent industry leaders:

  • Anna Sweet, Chief Executive Officer of Bad Robot Games
  • Ben Feder, Managing Partner of Tirta Ventures
  • Bonnie Rosen, General Manager of Disney Accelerator
  • Danny Lange, Vice President of BI & AI at Google
  • Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer of GamesBeat
  • Holly Liu, Co-Founder of Kabam
  • John Hanke, Chief Executive Officer of Niantic
  • John W. Thompson, Fr. Chairman of Microsoft
  • Ken Wee, Chief Strategy Officer of Activision Blizzard
  • Kylan Gibbs, Chief Product Officer of Inworld AI
  • Leo Olebe, Global Head of Gaming at YouTube
  • Manuel Bronstein, Chief Product Officer of Roblox
  • Maria Park, Vice President of Corporate Development at Krafton
  • Michael Chow, Chief Executive Officer of The Believer Company
  • Moritz Baier-Lentz, Partner & Head of Gaming at Lightspeed
  • Ryan Wyatt, Fr. President of Polygon Labs
  • V Pappas, Fr. Chief Operating Officer of TikTok

About Lightspeed Gaming:

Lightspeed Venture Partners is a global venture capital firm with over $29 billion in capital under management and more than 500 investments across the U.S., Europe, and Asia—including Epic Games, Stability AI, and Snap. Over the past two decades, the firm has backed hundreds of exceptional entrepreneurs and helped build and scale companies to achieve 190 IPOs and acquisitions. To date, Lightspeed has invested over $350 million into the gaming industry—including with many founders who have led the creation of games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Wild Rift, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Valorant, StarCraft II, and Warcraft III. For more information, visit

About GamesBeat:

GamesBeat, a subsidiary of VentureBeat, is a leading source of news and analysis in the gaming industry. With a strong focus on technology and innovation, GamesBeat provides valuable insights to industry professionals, developers, and gaming enthusiasts, making it a driving force behind the gaming ecosystem’s growth.

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