Business development in the video gaming industry

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN VIDEO GAMING - A WOMEN'S PERSPECTIVE

I lead business development for TruSim, which is part of Blitz Games Studios, one of the world’s leading independent games development studios. TruSim takes the same technologies and techniques that create our entertainment games and uses them to make training applications that look and feel like the best games.

I also manage two grants, one from the UK Technology Strategy Board and one from the EU, ensuring that work planned is carried out and that the money is properly allocated. Another part of my role is to co-ordinate the development of the whole studio’s business plan and, in particular, looking for cross media opportunities.

Using video games as a way of learning

My main job is to plan the future of TruSim and make sure the business grows. I look for opportunities for making new training games and to talk to potential customers, funders, trainers and even Government Ministers about the impact that a game can have compared to traditional learning methods. We’ve found that even people who haven’t played games before really enjoy the experience, they say they feel as if they’re “˜really there’ and they want to continue to use games to learn – how often do you hear that about school or training courses?

A new way of using video gaming

How best to use games for serious purposes like training or visualisation is still being explored and there’s a constant intellectual challenge to both contribute to research and discussion and absorb what others are doing and saying. This area covers web games, virtual worlds and social networks as well as videogames designed for a purpose other than entertainment, so I’m always looking at where technology and user trends are heading and that’s stimulating.

Joining things up

I act as the bridge between the client and the games development team and although I don’t physically make the games, my ideas on what it should look like, how it should be structured and how the learning is embedded in the game are taken as seriously as everyone else’s.

Skills

Since this is my first job in the games industry, this is immensely satisfying and exciting and I’ve learned a lot about games technology and development in the last couple of years. This understanding is important because I have to be able to describe the possibilities to potential clients and also make sure that what they want is actually possible!

I joined Blitz Games after a career that has included broadcast journalism, (I used to report for Sky News, Channel 4 News, BBC Radio etc), business, PR and public policy. I’d say that what all these roles have in common is communication, team-working and people management – being able to juggle lots of different demands and prioritise them has also been important.

When I started working in broadcasting it was quite a male dominated environment and you could probably say the same about the games industry today. I’ve sometimes found that I have had to work harder than male colleagues to be accepted – but in general once people can see that you’re committed and doing a good job, that soon fades away.

Having a good sense of humour and limitless curiosity really helps - if you’re interested in what people are doing they’re often happy to share it. In the games industry, you’re surrounded by very clever, creative people who are passionate about what they do, they are usually more than happy to share and I’m delighted to continue learning.

Mary Matthews
Business Development Director, Blitz Games Studios

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