Game Careers recently had the chance to speak with Susan Gold, professor of game design at Full Sail University and president of the Global Game Jam. Susan joined the faculty of Full Sail University’s Graduate in 2009, after founding the annual Global Game Jam, an experiment in creativity and innovation in game development. With more than 16,000 game developers participating in 2013, Susan is the developer of the world’s largest collaborative interactive video game development event. Susan’s frequent conference talks and consistent outreach efforts has extended the Global Game Jam to over 58 countries, effectively changing the course of game development around the world.
Susan served as the chairperson of the IGDA Education SIG from 2006-2010, and continues to develop tools and resources for educator professional development. Susan orchestrated the Education Summit at GDC from 2006-2010, the Anigames Expo in Bogota, Colombia from 2010-2012, the Federal Games Working Group Summit at Games for Change in 2012, and is helping to organize the 2013 DigiWorld Conference in France. Susan has been consulting with the U.S. Office of Science &Technology Policy with projects like Apps for Healthy Kids, the STEM education initiative and now, the Federal Working Group in Games. Susan got her start and organizational skills as a community activist in Chicago.
In Susan’s exclusive interview with David Smith of Game Careers, she talks about how game developers can benefit from the innovative collaboration at the Global Games Jam: “Being part of your community is so important. Knowing the people that you want to work with in the future, or just having an opportunity to learn from those people. You have a bigger mentorship happening at that time, at the game jam. But more importantly, it’s the relationships you make, the network you create for yourself, as well as the ability to take that game and show other people what you have done. Without a game, you can’t get a job.” Watch the full interview with Susan that follows:
We’re happily announcing that our newly created Facebook Group page for Women in Games Jobs has over 600 Facebookers!
The aim of the Group is to broaden out the message of WIGJ, bringing in new interest for the site as well as raising awareness of the opportunities for women out there.
We hope that the Group will enable those previously unawares of our message and aims to be welcomed into the fray and to get to know us, making connections and networking with established professionals as well as others with similar interests. We’d also like to encourage conversations and discussions on the topics and issues posted and linked to the Group.
So please join us, support the group to continue raising the interest for Women in Games Jobs! Spread the news; we look forward to seeing you on there!
Join THE professional network for women in online and video gaming! If you are a women in the games industry and member of LinkedIn, you can now get together with over 4000 others who share the same interests. We think this now could be the largest grouping of women in games in Europe. Don’t miss out on the inside track!
A remarkable event took place at the offices of BAFTA in Piccadilly last Wednesday. A Director of the games trade body TIGA sat next to the Chief Executive of games trade body UKIE. A director of the sector skills council e-skills UK sat 2 places away from a Partnership Manager from sector skills council Creative Skillset. School masters sat down with university lecturers who sat down with games development leaders from studios like Bossa, EA Criterion, Sony Computer Entertainment, TT-Fusion, Lady Shotgun, Swallowtail and 22 Cans. All in all, 35 leaders from the games, creative and technology sectors came together with a common desire to take action to bring more young women to consider a career in the games industry.
BAFTA’s Career Pathways Survey of 2077 young people aged 16-24 published in November 2012 had identified 3 areas of concern that spread across all the creative industries. More was needed to improve the outreach to schools (primary and secondary), colleges, universities and careers advisers. There needed to be an online aggregation of careers advice and guidance. This included skills requirements, qualifications and training, work placements and initiatives. And there needed to be changes to creative industry recruitment practices, including work experience and internships. Lead by BAFTA’s Learning and Events Committee, chaired by Anne Morrison, 3 working groups have started to tackles these 3 issues.
The survey also highlighted a further, single issue that affected only a single industry. The industry was the games industry and the single issue was “girls into games: how to enable more young women to consider a career in the games industry”. The survey showed clearly that gender is a factor in choosing a career in games. While 38% of 16-24 year old males have, at some time, wanted to enter the games industry, just 9% of females have ever considered it. Similarly, just 4% of female respondents are currently doing a course, work experience or job related to games, compared to 18% of males. Females are more likely to be discouraged than males in career decisions. Compared to 14% of males, 21% of females who had previously considered a career in film, television or games were discouraged by parents, family of friends. Over a quarter of females (28%) felt that they would not fit in to the industry, compared to just one in five males (20%).
The meeting last week was chaired by Siobhan Reddy, Studio Director at Media Molecule and member of BAFTA’s Games Committee and Johnny Minkley, Vice President at SpecialEffect and member of both BAFTA’s Learning and Events Committee and BAFTA’s Games Committee. Other organisations attending included the BCS Academy of Computing, IGDA, Next Gen Skills Academy, Lady Geek, Women in Film & TV and Women in Games Jobs. All parties present were asked to introduce themselves and their motivations for coming together to address this issue. Many spoke passionately about their personal experience in working in the games sector or the need to make things better for family members or relations. There was no time to agree to set goals and objectives or start to define responsibilities but this will be agreed at future meetings. The journey has started.
Full credit goes to BAFTA for the inspiration in identifying and standing up to looking at a single issue in a single industry and bringing together the leaders that are committed to bringing more women into the games industry. This is not the beginning of the end of the gender imbalance that permeates across the games workforce in the UK but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.
Samantha Youssef is a former Walt Disney Animation feature film animator, and has worked with other reputable companies such as Filmax, Ubisoft, and Universal. Studios such as BioWare, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and many others employ her to train their artists, and she has conducted Masterclasses for animation studios and colleges around the world. Samantha has been featured in the media for several national and international publications, including Chatelaine magazine, Musique Plus, and Wired magazine. She is interviewed here by IMGMR after her speech to the MIGS conference in Montreal on her speech to delegates ”Drawing Inspiration: Bringing Characters and Worlds to Life” . You can see more of Samantha’s work at www.facebook.com/studiotechnique
The European Women in Games Conference took place on 26th September 2012 and over 150 people attended from more than 9 different countries. Delegates heard excellent presentations from key note speakers Ella Romanos, CEO for Remode Studios speaking on ”HTML5 Fad or Future “and Martha Henson, Multimedia Producer for the Wellcome Trust, speaking on “Drugs, bugs and neuroscience: a formula for successful learning games?”.
2 breakout panel sessions followed on “Diversity – what can I do?” with Gina Jackson, Chief Executive at Women in Games Jobs, Anna Marsh, Game Design Director at Lady Shotgun, Ginger Maseda, Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader at Electronic Arts, Jo Twist, Chief Executive at UKIE and Charlie Wheeler-Quinell at Stonewall
Or alternatively “How to get into the games industry” with Lizi Attwood, Senior Programmer at Blast Furnace, Ali-Bergstrom-Allen, Head of Digital at The Picture Production Company, Geraldine Cross, Head of Human Resources at Blitz Games Studio, Marie-Claire Isaaman, Course Leader for BA(Hons) Games Art & Design at Norwich University College of the Arts and Anna Ljundberg, Programmer at Codemasters, all chaired by WIGJ Advisory Board member, Alison Cressey. Both sessions were very well attended and both could have gone for much longer.
Next came 13 round table sessions on a whole host of current games topics not yet covered by mainstream games conferences that were discussed at length. Joanne Lacey of GamesAnalytics, Marcia Deakin of Connect2media, Allison Archer of beJig, Ann Hurley of e4e, Jennifer Schneidereit of Nyamyam, Jackie Tetley & Carla Rylance of nDreams, Hannah Fordham of Indie City at Blitz Games, Roberta Lucca of Bossa Games, Tamsin Todd of Betfair, Charu Desodt of Sony, MoJen Jenkins of Playfish/EA and Charlie Wheeler-Quinell of Stonewall all lead animated discussions.
In all, 26 speakers did themselves and their industry proud with great feedback received on the day and confirmed via feedback forms after the event.
The last formal session of the day was the Award Ceremony for the European Women in Games Hall of Fame, sponsored by Electronic Arts. The 2 awards that had been voted on by members of WIGJ were presented by Ginger Maseda at EA to Ann Hurley, European Sales Manager at e4e and Monika Siejka, Director – International Institute of the Internet and Multimedia, Paris. Congratulations to both!
We are grateful to our CEO, Gina Jackson, for leading the organising of the event and to Domino Effect, the video production company that filmed the event. Check out the highlights from this amazing conference that follow:
European Women in Games Conference organisers Women in Games Jobs (WIGJ) today unveiled Electronic Arts as the sponsor for the Hall of Fame awards taking place on Wednesday 26th September 2012 at the Kensington Hilton hotel in London. Last year’s winners were Frederique Doumic, CEO of OUAT Entertainment and Louise Murray, Head of Fable Franchise at Lionhead Studios. This is the final call for nominations; the Hall of Fame recognises women for their contributions to the games industry and the inspiration they have given to others.
Newly confirmed roundtable hosts includes women from Betfair, Bossa Studios, Codemasters , Indie City and Sony’s Wonderbook Team taking the total number of women speakers to 23. Although this is a women in games conference both men and women as well as students and industry veterans are welcome.
“The European Women in Games conference is an ideal conference for us to attend” says Mark Inman, Producer and co-Founder of developer Honeyslug, creators of Frobisher Says! on PlayStation Vita, “as a small developer, our time is limited, but in one afternoon we can keep up to date with all the industry developments whilst getting to meet and speak to potential clients.”
“There’s a lot of noise about sexism in the game industry but very little heat. This event seeks to make a practical difference and I think it’s at least as important for men to see that there are so many smart and capable women working in the industry as it is for women.” says Mark Sorrell, Games Director at Somethin’ Else who will be attending the conference.
18 speakers announced, 4 weeks to go, 2 days to the end of the early bird price of just £25. This conference is open to everyone those working in the industry and those wanting to work in games as well as both men and women. Come to learn, network and debate with many experts in their fields from industry leaders such as EA, Microsoft, Activision, Blitz Games, UKIE, GamesAnalytics, Remode Studio, the Wellcome trust and many more.
European Women in Games Conference Sessions include:
HTML5 Fad or Future?
Ella Romanos, MD for Remode Studios.
Drugs, bugs and neuroscience: a formula for successful learning games?
Martha Henson, Multimedia Producer for the Wellcome Trust.
Diversity – what can I do?
Gina Jackson, Chief Executive at Women in Games Jobs
Anna Marsh, Game Design Director at Lady Shotgun
Ginger Maseda, Global Diversity and Inclusion Leader at Electronic Arts
Jo Twist, Chief Executive at UKIE
How to get into games
Lizi Attwood, Senior Programmer at Blast Furnace, an Activision studio
Ali-Bergstrom-Allen, Head of Digital at The Picture Production Company
Geraldine Cross, Head of Human Resources at Blitz Games Studio.
Marie-Claire Isaaman, Course Leader for BA(Hons) Games Art & Design at Norwich University College of the Arts
With hosted roundtable discussions featuring:
Allison Archer, Studio Manager at beJig.
Marcia Deakin, Licensing and Content Manager at Connect2Media.
Ann Hurley, European Sales Manager at e4e.
Joanne Lacey, Marketing Director at GamesAnalytics
Louise Ridgeway, Assistant Art Director, Rare (a Microsoft Studio)
Carla Rylance, Art Outsource Co-ordinator at nDreams
Gina Jackson, CEO of Women in Games Jobs, met David Smith from Game Careers during the Develop conference in Brighton. A 20 year veteran of the games industry with companies like Ocean Software, Eidos and Nokia, she tells Game Careers about why the games industry offers a great career for women. “I really hope that women will finally embrace the games industry as a great place to come and work. I hope that by being more visible in what we do and sharing what it is like to work in the games industry, it will become a top area where people want to work. If women are working in TV or film or in animation or programming in other areas, the games industry should be one of their top potential industries to work.” View the full interview here below: