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Video games are fun! But video gaming is also a serious business - with serious money being made. The numbers are huge and growing at nearly 20% a year. Last year – the video game industry raked in $12.5 billion in just the USA alone – far surpassing revenues from DVD sales, movie box office receipts and even CD music sales. And if you think Video Games are for kids – think again: The average game buyer is 40 years old, the average game player is 33 years old, and 24% of gamers were over the age of 50. Gaming is an industry booming with growth and innovation – from mobile games to hugely popular virtual worlds and multiplayer games – the opportunities seem limitless. So what does this mean for investors? And what exactly are the new growth opportunities, and where are they going to be found? Join an all-star panel to discuss the present and future of the video games industry, and discover the hottest opportunities and new ventures.
November 13, 2007
5:00PM -9:00PM
KPMG, Mountain View
5:00PM-6:00PM Poster Sessions/ Buffet Dinner/ Networking
6:00PM-7:00PM Startup Company Presentations / Q & A
7:00PM-7:30PM Poster Session/ Break
7:30PM-8:30PM Panel Discussion
Topic:"Video Gaming – beyond the box"
8:30PM-9:00PM Poster Session/ Networking

Moderator: Dean Takahashi, Tech Talk Columnist, San Jose Mercury News


Dean Takahashi

Dean Takahashi has been a journalist for 19 years, most of it covering technology business news. Currently, he is writing a Tech Talk column on technology issues and product reviews, and he is also blogging and podcasting on video games at Separately, his Tech Talk blog covers all things tech at He started his current stint at the Mercury News as a hardware writer in 2002. Previously, he was a senior writer at the Red Herring magazine from 2000 to 2002. Before that, he was a staff writer in the San Francisco office of the Wall Street Journal from 1996 to 2000. His first job at the Mercury News was as a chip industry reporter from 1994 to 1996. Before that, Los Angeles Times Orange County Edition, the Orange County Register, and the Dallas Times Herald. He has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University (1987) and a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Berkeley (1986). He is the author of two books, “The Xbox 360 Uncloaked” published in 2006 and “Opening the Xbox” published in 2002.
Panelist: Ed Fries, Former Vice President, Game Publishing, Microsoft


Ed Fries created his first video games for the Atari 800, back in the early 1980s. After a short diversion to get a BS in Computer Science, he joined Microsoft in 1986, and spent the next 10 years as one of the founding developers of both Excel and Word. He left the Office team to pursue his passion for interactive entertainment and created Microsoft Game Studios. Over the next 8 years he grew the team from 50 people to over 1200, published more than 100 games including more than a dozen million+ sellers, co-founded the Xbox project, and made Microsoft one of the leaders in the interactive entertainment business. In January of 2004, Ed left Microsoft and now enjoys spending more time with his wife and young sons, as well as serving as a director, advisor and consultant to a broad range of publishers and game developers around the world.
Panelist: Michael Pole, CEO, Trilogy Studios


Michael Pole

As CEO of Trilogy Studios, Michael Pole is setting a benchmark for Virtual World and Next Generation game development in terms of financing and business models that support the industry’s changing climate. Throughout his 20-year career in the entertainment industry, Pole has produced dozens of hit game titles including NASCAR Racing, Knockout Kings, Simpsons: Hit & Run, Simpsons: Road Rage, Chronicles of Riddick, The Hulk, AVP2 and No One Lives Forever. Prior to co-founding Trilogy Studios in 2005, Pole was Executive Vice President, Worldwide Product Development for Vivendi Universal Games where he spearheaded the deal that resulted in the successful sale of Fox Interactive to Vivendi Universal Games. Michael has held similar positions with two of the industry’s most successful companies, Activision and Electronic Arts, where he led production efforts for hit franchises and played a key role in studio negotiations with hardware manufacturers, developers, talent and content providers.Michael’s background also includes 10 years developing television and animation programming for CBS, NBC and ABC Entertainment.
Panelist: Colin Sebastian, Senior Research Analyst, Lazard Capital Markets

Colin Sebastian

Colin Sebastian joined Lazard Capital Markets in 2006 as a senior equity research analyst covering Internet and interactive entertainment. Prior to joining Lazard, Colin covered these sectors for Thomas Weisel Partners and was part of the Internet team that ranked #2 in an annual Greenwich survey. Prior to Thomas Weisel, Colin was an associate analyst at SoundView Technology Group.
Colin is widely quoted in industry and financial media and publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Financial Times, New York Times, CNBC and Bloomberg.
Panelist: John Welch, President and Chief Executive Officer, PlayFirst


John Welch is a co-founder, President and CEO of PlayFirst, the leading publisher of highly-original games made for casual gamers wherever they play. One of the most visible figures in the casual games industry today. Prior to forming PlayFirst, John spent five years at (now owned by Viacom) as the company's Vice President of Games and Product where he drove the product strategy and acquisitions for While at, John helped build the site into one of the Internet's top games portals and discovered some of the top independent game developers in the world. Prior to this, John worked at SEGA where he led the specification effort for the Sega Dreamcast Network. He has also served as a steering committee member of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), Online Games, and Casual Games groups. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics with Computer Science from MIT and a Master's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts.

Panelist: Mark Jacobstein, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Charles River Ventures


Most recently Mark was an Executive Vice President at loopt, a Sequoia and NEA-backed company that has developed the world's most successful "social mapping" service. Previously Mark was President of Publishing and a member of the founding team for Digital Chocolate, one of the world's largest publishers of mobile games. Mark is perhaps best known as the originator of fantasy sports on the internet. In 1994, Mark co-founded Small World Sports, the Internet's first fantasy sports Web site, where he served as CEO before selling the company to The Sporting News. Mark also co-founded Small World Software, an Internet technology consultancy, which he sold to iXL in 1998. Mark studied Computer Science at Harvard before starting his career as a software developer at Bloomberg L.P.

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