At Casual Connect USA 2018 Kimberly presented information about the differences of LiveOps on different platforms, and especially what it means to launch a game on console and/or PC. It is important to know how users interact with your system and how much ownership you have concerning that interaction. Kimberly offered some tools and strategies to finding the right setup, improving a running setup or doing a quality check on you current system. To learn more, watch the video of the complete session. By the end you should understand what to expect from LiveOps on any platform.
Kimberly Rodatos is the Founder and President of Digital Owl Inc., a consulting company focusing on online services. They assist companies of every size with projects that include setting up an online presence, launching platforms or supporting a complete games as a service infrastructure.
Connecting the Dots
Prior to creating Digital Owl, Kimberly worked as Lead Project Manager with Perfect World Europe, successfully launching nine of their games in the EU market. At Crytek she worked as Project Manager and Associated Producer on Warface and GFACE. In 2014, Kimberly chose to begin working as a freelancer with Crucial Path, a network of gaming professionals and experts. A year ago she decided the time was right to set up her own business, and Digital Owl was born.
Through her experience in the different aspects of the game industry, Kimberly has gained tremendous insight into the platform and games as a service structure as seen by developers and publishers, having been involved with everything that makes publishing an online game possible: business development, licensing, QA, customer support. As she says, “It allows me to connect the dots from high-level to actual task level.”
Games: An Industry with Great Potential
Kimberly was originally drawn toward working at Disney as a result of happy childhood memories at Disney World and a respect for Disney’s ability to create IPs that touch generations. This led to studying leisure management in the hope of becoming part of the Disney family. At the same time, she had always been a passionate gamer, playing in a local home network with her brothers. When the internet reached her neighborhood, Kimberly got into esports, managing a team and organizing events. She developed the same feeling for games IPs as Disney IPs, and began applying for jobs in the game industry. After finishing a degree in leisure management, Kimberly got a job in localization and from there moved into project management and production.
She remains excited about the game industry because it offers so much opportunity for innovation. As Kimberly describes, “There is still so much left to be discovered and great potential for immersive user experience.”
Space and Opportunities
The proudest moment of her career came with establishing Digital Owl, but it was also a frightening thing to do. It was an entirely different level compared to freelancing, but it opened up space and opportunities for something bigger. It wasn’t something Kimberly originally planned to do, but “now that it happened, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Digital Owl offers Kimberly the ability to work with many different projects and clients, from those in the gaming industry to small businesses offering software as a service. She finds it provides new perspectives and it is rewarding to apply the lessons learned in one industry to another.
Define a Common Goal
Kimberly points out that when working with developers, expectation management is key. Each of you have your areas of expertise. The first step Kimberly recommends is defining your common goal. Then both sides can work out what is needed from each other in order to meet that goal.
The most important thing Kimberly would like to do for the game industry is to educate. She explains, “The more knowledge we share, the more doors we open for new ideas and technologies, as people do not have to worry about the day-to-day anymore but really can focus on their special area. Hence, supporting people on setting up the right structures for online services and giving them guidance on how to maintain said structure, will enable them to spend more time on their passions and ideas.”
Opportunity in Augmented Reality
The next important trend in the game industry, according to Kimberly, will be augmented reality, since it is so accessible and mainstream, as demonstrated by the huge success of Pokemon Go. Augmented reality also means new hardware that must be supported and maintained. This is the area in which software as a service will be important in the future, and where Digital Owl will serve a role. Keeping up on trends, technical capabilities and limitations of hardware and live operations are all important to Kimberly in being ready for this future.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.