It was an unusual start but a wonderful journey! I was contacted out of the blue about a role that didn’t match my skillset. It just happened I was looking for a new challenge, and after getting to know each other, a role opening up and I joined the studio in May 23.
What does your role entail?
Live service is all about the players and my job is to drive commercial success while keeping the team’s focus on what players are doing.
In pre-production this means teaching best practices for always-on games and preparing for successfully operating a game 24/7. In production, making sure we have the features, tools and content in place to support players. Finally – which is actually just the start for my team – launch. We monitor the game day-to-day and share how players are responding, tweaking and creating content to keep players engaged and having fun.
What do you find most exciting about your work here?
I’m really excited to see how console gamers are both similar and different to PC and mobile gamers. There’s no reason that live service games have to work the same way. What excites me is understanding what works for our players and continuously fine-tuning to help our team deliver the best evolving experience. It’s especially exciting to join the studio at this time because the whole team are trying something new and I love the enthusiasm and attitude.
What has your career path looked like over the years?
It’s been a bit convoluted! I was a research scientist for 15 years until I burned out. While looking for a career change, I started helping on a MMO I was playing and was asked to become a Games Master. I then joined Codemasters Online, where I worked on the MMOs Lord of the Rings Online (LoTRO), DDO, Archlord and RF Online. I did everything from managing payment fraud and security to business analytics and managing the EU LoTRO game storefront. I then changed roles and shortly after went freelance, specialising in monetization and business analytics. I sort of fell into successfully moving games from subscription business models to a Free-to-Play, as a consequence of being in the right place at the right time, with the right knowledge. I left contracting in 2016 and moved into a more strategic role as a director.
I’ve been lucky to work on some excellent MMO titles – some of which are still running – LoTRO, RIFT, Eve Online – and several that sadly shuttered – I’m looking at you Wildstar. Who knew that when I started playing MUDs and MUSHs back in the early 90s, it would lead me to the dream career?!
Do you have any career advice or top tips for people that would love to work in your role?
Never give up on your dreams – I joined the industry in my late 30s and it surprised me how transferable my skills were. Take chances, work hard and smart!
If you could describe London Studio in a few words, what would they be?