Gaming's Annual DICE Summit Prepares for Change Under New Leadership

“I think the awards should be the highlight of the summit."

Don’t expect any major changes in this year’s DICE Summit or Awards, but they’re coming says Meggan Scavio, the new president of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.

“I see the DICE Summit as one of the things that the academy produces,” Scavio says. “There are two DICE summits, the awards and we run a foundation. There are a lot of changes I want to make on an academy level, but for the DICE Summit I wanted to turn the focus back on being game focused and game creation, the craft and art of making games. Not necessarily bringing in so many people from outside the industry.”

Previous DICE Summit’s frequently included keynotes or talks from Hollywood, including appearances by JJ Abrams and Gore Verbinkski.

Scavio says she also wants the Summit talks to be more concise, down to maybe 20 minutes, and for there to be a greater focus on roundtable break-out sessions, where a group of game industry folk can sit down and discuss more intimately topics surrounding game creation. This year’s summit will already be heading in that direction a bit, with the Summit talk limited to one day instead of two and more roundtables, Scavio said. And more roundtables, including at least one dedicated to the media. The 2018 Summit, which runs from February 20th through February 22nd, will focus on the theme “Made Better.” Speakers will, according to the site, examine the full spectrum of what drives the creative development process within the interactive entertainment community. What are the measures of success, and how does the industry we design towards them? How does the industry evolve and balance innovation risk? How does the industry inspire individuals and teams to drive change?

Scavio’s biggest push for the academy, though, seems tied to why she decided to leave her leadership role at the Game Developers Conference.

“I wanted to come to the academy because the industry is missing that unifying voice,” she says. “Something that contributes and represents the industry as a whole. I’d like to turn it into a resource for the industry, give back through grants and scholarship programs. I think the [Entertainment Software Association’s] role right now serve the purpose of government lobbyist and E3 host and charitable foundation.

“But I don’t think our organizations have been incredibly collaborative. I want to talk to the ESA and [International Game Developers Association] about who we are serving and why.”

And Scavio also has major plans for changes for the annual awards.

“I think the awards should be the highlight of the summit,” she says. “It should be an annual celebration of the hard work everyone has put into their games, their art form. Maybe not this year, but eventually, I want to focus on the craft category. I want to make sure we have peer panels that judge those craft categories. We’ll see what the future brings. Maybe more exposure for the award ceremony. Maybe change how we stream or changing venues.

“I want to review all of the categories. I want to review the location. I want to review everything.”

While much may change in the coming years for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and its summits and award show, the driving intent will remain the same, Scavio says: It is meant to be a finite executive function, an executive summit, a space where people can network with decision makers.

“I will definitely maintain that,” she says. “I think it has a place and it serves a purpose. Having spoken to a lot of people who have attended for years, you go for the networking. Though, it could be a little more robust. I might try to invite more creators to the event. I really want to diversify .”