Indie Prize is a scholarship program for up-and-coming indie developers that unites developers all around the globe to discover the brightest and most talented indie games. The finalists are always announced one month before the upcoming showcase and announced at www.indeprize.org. Developers from more than 60 countries all over the world apply with more than 1,000 applications received during the year.
Some of social gaming’s major players will be on hand at Casual Connect Asia this May to discuss success, failure, and the industry at large. Executives from PlayStudios Asia, KamaGames, Huuuge Games, Murka, and more will speak on topics ranging from social casino content to skill-based tournaments.
At a glance
The Social Gaming track takes place on Day 2 of the conference and will kick off with a fireside chat with KamaGames. Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer of KamaGames Daniel Kashti will discuss the social casino industry at large and KamaGames’ strategy within that – as well as discuss the influence of genres such as MMOs and RPGs on the social casino ecosystem and the introduction of meta-games designed to attract the mainstream gamer.
Speakers such as Murka VP of Strategy Mark Beck and Huuuge Games Chairman Wibe Wagemans will discuss innovation and user acquisition in social casino while GameDesire VP Maciej Mroz will talk about different approaches to revenue for free-to-play (F2P) games. PlayStudios Asia Managing Director John Lin will discuss the APAC social games market and whether it is worth diving into for companies.
Katherine de León is Executive Producer at GSN Digital, the online, mobile and social games division of GSN (Game Show Network). Prior to joining GSN, de León was co-founder and CEO of Cull TV, a music video site start-up. de León also served as PlayStation ® Network’s senior producer, responsible for leading the free gaming platform Sony PlayStation ® Home product strategy and development. She has overseen the production of more than 300 interactive games, and offers some tips and advice for students planning to enter the game industry.
The game industry is a dynamic space with a wide range of genres and platforms, often making it difficult for college students to understand the right path to a successful games career. As a former senior producer at Sony Computer Entertainment America now serving as Executive Producer at GSN Digital, I realize the challenges of embarking on a career in games. With a new school year in full swing, I’d like to offer my top five career tips to students aspiring for success in the game industry:
Look for Financial Aid
Before you start your job search, you need a college degree, and that can be a pretty expensive pursuit. Many companies offer scholarships to students looking to pursue a career in games, and these aren’t always exclusive to engineers and designers. In fact, GSN Digital just launched its inaugural Game Innovators Scholarship, and I’m thrilled to work at a company that is investing in future game industry leaders. The scholarship will award $2,500 to a current, U.S. college student who best demonstrates their passion and ability to drive innovation in the games industry. The scholarship is open to students across all majors, so future engineers, designers, artists, product managers and marketers – any student interested in pursuing a career in the games industry – should apply before the November 1 deadline. To learn more about other scholarships that can help pay for your education, check with your financial aid office or visit a scholarship aggregator site, like FastWeb.
Intern Early and Often
Internships are your first real step toward making your game industry dreams a reality. Review your resume and career goals with your school’s career counselor to submit polished applications for game industry internships. Take just about any industry-related internship that you can; don’t be disappointed if it’s not with a AAA studio (see my next point), since internships are a great way to build up your resume for wherever you want to go next. Internships can often lead to full-time jobs, so it’s key to get involved in the industry as early as you can.
Congratulations! You received your diploma, and now you’re ready to take your game development career to the next level. For your first job, I recommend starting at a small game company so you can wear a variety of hats and determine which area of the industry you are most interested in and best suited for. Many of my industry colleagues thought they wanted to be game designers, and then realized it wasn’t a good fit after working in the industry for just a few months or years. If you’re exposed to a wide range of roles and responsibilities within a game company, you’ll gain a clear vision of which job is right for you.
Location, Location, Location
The U.S. game industry is concentrated in four major hubs: Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, Austin, and Los Angeles. If you don’t already live in one of these areas, now is a good time to determine if you’re willing to relocate. Your physical location will be very important for my final point…
Networking is honestly one of my least favorite parts of professional life, but it has helped me more than anything else in my career. Get to know as many people in your industry as you can. Help them, and let them help you. Learn from them and let them learn from you. To do this, you have to meet those other people first, whether at meet-ups, conferences, or through social media sites like LinkedIn. Thus, network!
Getting started in any industry can be intimidating, but with these simple tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to a challenging, yet rewarding career. If you’re a student or a game industry professional with additional advice, I’d love to hear your comments below.