After a month in my position here at Snowed In Studios (and in the gaming industry), I have been reflecting on my experience so far. Being a casual gamer who tends to play mostly mobile titles, before starting I had a basic understanding of consumer-facing side of the industry but was somewhat unfamiliar with the business-facing side. Regardless, it seemed I had some things right and some things wrong for both. In light of this, I thought I would share some of these thoughts with you for the purpose of a) enlightening those who are unfamiliar with the inner workings of the industry as I was, or b) giving someone who is in the industry an idea of how a twenty-some year old business student thinks it operates. Either way, here goes:
Things I Had Right
An Exciting Industry – First off, I definitely had it right that the video game industry was not only an evolutionary, but a revolutionary industry that is definitely exciting. After attending the Ottawa Game Conference (OGC) two weeks ago, I was amazed by the scope of the industry and the things that developers and studios are now capable of.
It’s Hard to Keep Up! – Speaking of the nature of the industry, before I started I did some research in order to become more familiar with it. This research seemed to lead me in circles as there was so much to learn! After starting at Snowed In Studios I quickly realized it wasn’t just me; it was the essence of the industry. There are so many types and sizes of genres, developers, and games to keep up with!
Things I Had Wrong
The Size of the Industry (in Ottawa, no less!) – Speaking of the OGC, I never would have imagined that Ottawa could hold a game conference with close to 400 people attending. There are a surprising number of companies in the area, including Fuel, Magmic, Playbrains, RocketOwl, etc. Best of all: it’s is only growing.
The People – Before visiting the studio, it’s easy to hold a cliché-type idea of gamers: quiet, socially-awkward people who prefer to stare at a screen than the real world. This is definitely not the case. The people I work with and have met through industry events are amazing, outgoing, creative, active, and energetic personalities who make working in the industry fun.
Things I Had To Get Used To
The Atmosphere – It is really difficult to pay attention to spreadsheets when artists are busy creating things I could never imagine myself just two feet away. The casual environment at the studio is unique, and when paired with easygoing but determined people it seems the studio has mastered the ability to balance creativity and productivity. It is very encouraging to see that this difficult balance can be found!
Who’s a Gamer – As I mentioned I tend to play casual games and mostly mobile titles, and didn’t really consider myself a gamer. Nontheless, after working in the industry I realize the massive opportunity that mobile and social games represent; it is no longer only the AAA titles that get played (and make money!) in today’s gaming world.
Overall Impression of the Gaming Industry
Overall, my experience so far has been great here at the studio. It has been an exciting month trying to take in everything about the video game industry, and there is definitely still more for me to learn, but I am looking forward to it.