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  • Richard M. Williams

ConnectThe2 Podcast: Season 6 Ep 2 - Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat

Dean Takahashi is a renowned gaming journalist and author of two books, “Opening the Xbox” and “The Xbox 360 Uncloaked.” He is the lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat, and prior to that he wrote for the San Jose Mercury News, the Red Herring, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the Dallas Times-Herald. Dean joins the ConnectThe2 podcast to discuss the gaming industry, journalism and what makes a good pitch.

Here are the biggest takeaways from our conversation. If you like what you’re reading, be sure to listen to the whole episode, linked at the bottom of this page.

How it all started…

At the beginning of Dean’s college career, he tried to resist the journalism route and opt for a more “practical” occupation in engineering or the sciences. Fortunately for us, he couldn’t keep the pen down and his passion for writing kept coming back. He decided to major in English at UC Berkeley, which lead him to a summer internship for minority journalism students. The university would train the students over the summer and place them into jobs. The internship allowed Dean to meet other journalists from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Ever since then, Dean was “hooked on journalism.”

Pulitzer prize-winning coverage…

In 1992, Dean was a young tech reporter for the Los Angeles Times (LA Times) in the Orange County edition. He shared with us that his proudest accomplishment was when he wrote an editorial criticizing his own newsroom for their coverage, or lack thereof, of minority communities. This was in the aftermath of the Rodney King riots. The piece ran in the Editor and Publisher publication, which was a trade journal for the news industry. Dean was criticized for his actions by a few of the staffers at the LA Times, but he also received overwhelming support from organizations like the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.

“It sparked a lot of conversation and change. We created a diversity committee and hired more minority writers at the LA Times. Some of them are still working there today. I am proud of that moment. I stood up for what I believed in. But I am also sad that we had a repeat of the riots this summer, and I still see a lot of turmoil at the Times regarding the way it has covered minority communities over 30 years later.”

Video games are the seams between industries…

Dean covers games, chips, hardware, and other technology for VentureBeat, and he noted that the technology he writes about seems to always come back to games.

“I like video games because they are at the intersection of a lot of technologies. It’s an art form, and it takes all of these different kinds of skills like cinematics, graphics, storylines, music and audio effects. It is a combination of all of those technologies that make you feel immersed, almost like you’re in another world. Games help new technologies get off the ground. For example, the graphics chips in the PlayStation 2 were regulated because they were so powerful that they were considered weapon systems by the National Security Agency. Video games drive new technology forward and that’s what I enjoy about games.”

The future of gaming…

We also discuss what the future holds for the gaming industry. Dean believes that one of the reasons why games are so successful is because they find their way onto any new platform that is created.

“Facebook was created for dating basically, but the thing that helped Facebook take off were games like Zynga Poker and Farmville. Even though the platform never gets created for games, it takes the platform over. So, I think that what we are going to see is that any new platform that is created, games will be a big part of them.”

Into the Metaverse…

Dean is also the organizer for the annual GamesBeat Summit conferences. He is looking forward to their upcoming digital events called, “Driving Game Growth” and “Into the Metaverse” held on January 26-28, 2021. The first day of the conference is focused on mobile gaming and how to grow it, and the second day is centered on the Metaverse. The Metaverse is about the intersection of science fiction, games and technology.

We also look down the road to the 2021 GamesBeat Summit, which will be held on April 28-29. This event will cover the broader gaming industry with an emphasis on diversity and how to keep the gaming growth momentum going.

Hear more...

If you've enjoyed these takeaways be sure to listen to our full interview, linked below. Also, be sure to list to, rate and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, iHeartRadio or Soundcloud.

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