# The Next Wave: Discovering Tomorrow's Game Changers Powered by Innovation and Collaboration

As the gaming, technology and interactive media industries continue their rapid evolution, the Game Changers Program from Microsoft – born of a fierce dedication to steer these industries forward – is playing centre stage. This story follows the Game Changers Programme, which aims to help unprecedented startups mature into flourishing businesses.

## Bridging Dreams and Reality: The Game Changers Program Returns!

Following a fantastic inaugural year, the Game Changers Program, presented by Lightspeed Venture Partners, GamesBeat and a distinguished group of gaming and interactive entertainment experts, is back to spotlight startups revving up game and interactive entertainment’s future.

## Unleashing Potential: An Extraordinary Community of Innovators

The most valuable difference between any prize and the Game Changers Program is that this programme grants access to a community of Game Changers who have 1:1 with you, plus they introduce you to the whole world of GamesBeat, accessing all the best things in gaming, technology, and interactive media. This is where innovation grows. We don’t take equity because we are looking just for pure innovation and pure vision.

### *A Toast to Innovation and Community*

It’s opening night for a ‘Game Changers Reception’ in San Francisco as the summons of innovation and cooperation works its magic again – and again – and again, this time with a flurry of Winter Olympics sporting victories: ‘For the first time in Olympic history, this year’s winners joined last year’s for an evening of celebration.’

## A Call to Innovate: Apply or Nominate for Game Changers 2025

Invoking a motif of grit and reinvention, the Game Changers Program encourages startups to apply, either by peer nomination or by self-submission, celebrating entrepreneurship that, over more than a half century, has either influenced consumer behaviour or changes in technology through video games.

### *Spotlight on Startup Categories*

Backed by Lightspeed, GamesBeat and Nasdaq, the initiative honours startups in five areas essential to every part of the gaming industry.

## A Pantheon of Industry Luminary Support

In addition to an impressive set of two-dozen advisors from the likes of Activision Blizzard, Google, and Amazon to the current torchbearer of technology (if only briefly), MICROSOFT, the Program emphasises mentorship, with expert counsel on the art of the startup. These companies, and others like them, judge these startups based not just on their innovation, but whether the companies have startups built for a changing world.

### *Champions of Tomorrow: The Journey to 2025 Game Changers*

The story we’re telling will become more nuanced as the selection process is chronicled, culminating in a final choice that will capture the essence of ingenuity and invincibility, revealing a set of 25 scoring finalists who will lead the gaming industry tomorrow.

## Winnowing the Wheat from the Chaff: A Transparent and Democratic Process

Game Changers, then, are a democratic and transparent selection, not only based around vision and execution, but about curation of teams and a diversity of experience, too; it’s not just about the list, but the list that reflects something essential about a progressive industry.

### A Glimpse into the Past and the Path Forward

While I don’t deny that there have been disappointments through these past 12 months – smug criticism can be easy to muster – this initiative has functioned as an inspiration, an empowerment, and as a means of moving forward. It is also an invitation to join in, to be part of the future of gaming and interactive media – not least because, when cameras flash and predictions come to pass (or not), courage, creativity, and working across divides will be essential.

## Spotlight on MICROSOFT: Pioneering Innovation

Branded with the tagline ‘We believe everyone should have the chance to change the game’, Microsoft’s support of the Game Changers Program demonstrates its continued investment in the future of gaming and interactive media. From pioneering gaming consoles like the Xbox and innovative advancements in cloud gaming, Microsoft has long been a leader in fostering innovation in the industry.

Through investments and sponsorships such as the Game Changers Program, Microsoft not only builds a pipeline of entrepreneurs for the future of gaming and interactive media, but also sends the message that it is an institution that promotes change, and continues to be driver of forward-thinking innovation. In a changing world, there is no doubt that open source at the centre is the way to ensure the future of the community remains strong, diverse and completely creative.

Even as we wait for the revolution that these Game Changers will unleash on the world of play, the collaboration between bold thinkers, today’s Xbox users, and the lab where Microsoft and others are investing in the future of fun, suggest that the novel gaming and interactive media landscape ahead will be shaped by an interplay of visionaries and corporate giants. The surprises are just beginning to unfold.

Jun 13, 2024
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