Jane McGonigal, World-Renowned Alternate Reality Games Designer, to Keynote PlayCon

by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association

Jane McGonigal, world-renowned alternate reality game designer and a leading expert on how game design can be applied to the real world, will lead a keynote session at the new PlayCon, The Toy Association’s International Conference of Play Professionals when the conference returns May 8 to 9 in San Francisco, CA.

“We are super-excited to have Jane McGonigal share her insight into how games can unlock a person’s creativity and drive,” said Marian Bossard, The Toy Association’s executive vice president of global market events. “As we refresh the now biennial event, we want PlayCon to be synonymous with the most relevant, cutting-edge information out there that can help toy professionals propel their businesses forward. As a major influencer in the gaming space, Jane’s forward-thinking ideas make her a perfect candidate to lead a keynote speech at PlayCon.”

PlayCon’s speaker roster includes more than two dozen thought-leaders, industry analysts, toy influencers, consumer product executives, and other motivational speakers who will lead short “TED Talk”-like sessions during the conference’s new format. Confirmed speakers include: Facebook’s Eva Press; Google’s Victoria Fang; Dale Dougherty, “father” of the Maker Movement; Activision Blizzard’s Tim Kilpin; Jefferies’ Stephanie Wissink; Trend Hunter’s Armida Ascano and Courtney Scharf; Ted Curtin of ProdigyWorks; and many more. McGonigal will speak during the first day of the event.

Through game design, McGonigal looks to improve lives and solve real-world problems through gaming, using the “same strengths we display playing games to overcome business and individual challenges,” she said.

Her best-known game SuperBetter, which has more than 400,000 players, helps individuals tackle personal health challenges, such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and stress, with support from their “allies” — real-life friends and family. McGonigal has invented other games looking to solve global problems including hunger, poverty, climate change, and global peace.

McGonigal is currently an advisor and affiliate researcher for the Institute for the Future (IFTF) in Palo Alto, CA, and its former director of game research and development. She has been named by Success Magazine as one of the “25 successful people who will change your life in 2018.”

When she isn’t creating games, McGonigal is busy writing. She is the author of two bestsellers, Reality Is Broken: How Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, and her new book, SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient. Visit ToyAssociation.org/PlayCon  to register and for a list of up-to-date speakers, hotel information, and other news about the industry’s conference for play professionals.