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February 28, 2021
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  Games for Change Unveils Festival Lineup to Address Today’s Most Urgent Global Issues – COVID-19, Racial Injustice, Accessibility, Mental Health and More​
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[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource Games Press.]

New Keynotes Dr. Courtney Cogburn to Discuss How Virtual Reality Can Foster Anti-Racism, Plus Colleen Macklin to Unveil a Collection of the Best Games Rooted in Diversity/Inclusivity   

More than 150 Speakers Hail from Cedars-Sinai Health System, Niantic, AbleGamers, Microsoft, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, Roblox, the Entertainment Software Association, Girl Scouts, Verizon, LEGO Ventures, Gay Gaming Professionals, plus a Myriad of Top Universities

NEW YORK (June 18, 2020) – Games for Change, the leading global advocate for the power of games as drivers of social impact, today unveiled the Festival program, which will address today’s most urgent global issues – COVID-19, racial injustice, accessibility, inclusivity, mental health and more. The now-virtual and free, three-day Games for Change Festival, July 14 – 16, will feature more than 150 industry experts including new keynotes Dr. Courtney Cogburn, who will discuss how virtual reality can foster anti-racism, and Colleen Macklin, who will unveil the top games rooted in diversity and inclusivity that every player should play, but not likely familiar with. The Festival will comprise more than 100 sessions across four programming tracks – Games for Learning, Civics and Social Issues, Health and Wellness and XR for Change.

“Now in its 17th year, the Games for Change Festival has become a center point for striving to solve today’s most urgent problems – bringing together technologists, advocates, academics and government officials,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “As the world grapples with a pandemic, justice, mental health and inclusivity – the Festival will explore how games and immersive media drive accessibility for all, offer alternatives to pharmaceutical medicine, tackle social injustice and create caring online communities.”

Festival speakers come from every discipline, including Dan Ayoub (Microsoft), Daniel Kelley (Anti-Defamation League), Gordon Bellamy (Gay Gaming Professionals/USC), Dr. Brennan Spiegel (Cedars-Sinai Health System), Jaron Lanier (Microsoft), Mia Tramz (TIME Magazine), Mimi Ito (Connected Learning Lab), Chris Milk (Within), Yennie Solheim (Niantic), Katie Salen (UC Irvine),  Laura Higgins (Roblox), Jesse Schell (Schell Games), Oliver Palmieri and Anthony Kozak (Ubisoft), Rob Lowe (LEGO Ventures), and the youngest speaker and VR superstar, 17-year-old Winston Matthews.

Following is a sampling of sessions that support the Festival’s themes of resilience, connectedness, and well-being.

Health & Wellness


  • Winning Against Pandemics
  • Games to Train Healthcare Force
  • Gamifying Social Distancing
  • A New Era of Experimental Medicine
  • Designing One-Button Games for Accessibility
Games for Learning
  • Democratizing Games Creation With Dreams
  • What Teens Tell us About the Role of Games During COVID-19
  • Exploring Indigenous History in When Rivers Were Trails
  • Making Video Games for Autistic People
  • Rapid Adaptation: Lessons from 100 Years of Gamified Learning
Civics & Social Issues
  • Building Bridges to Fight Hate in Games
  • Resilient Cities, Play and the Return to Public Space
  • You Are Here: Using Game Design to Empower Underserved Youth
  • Accelerating Acceptance through Transgender Representation
  • Creating Caring and Care-full Online Play Communities
XR for Change
  • Exploring Digital Rights: Data Sovereignty in XR
  • Access for The Future of XR
  • Holograms in the Age of Social Distancing
  • VR Brain Training for Mental Fitness
  • Changing Narratives with Immersive Storytelling


This year’s Festival will also welcome two new delegations from South Korea and Malta as well as the launch of an Asia-Pacific Games for Change chapter. Additionally, participants from the long-time Latin America and European chapters will be in attendance and together, will lend a global perspective.

Participants can register to attend the free Festival here.

 About Games for Change

Since 2004, Games for Change (G4C) has been empowering game creators and innovators to drive real-world change, using games and immersive media that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. G4C partners with technology and gaming companies as well as nonprofits, foundations and government agencies, to run world class events, public arcades, design challenges and youth programs. G4C supports a global community of game developers working to use games to tackle real-world challenges, from humanitarian conflicts to climate change and education.

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