Features// 2013 Industry Insights with Gina Jackson

Posted 11 Feb 2013 16:11 by
Gina began working in games in 1992 producing many titles for developers and publishers, including Ocean Software, before running a publishing studio for Infogrames. A move into business development, first with Nokia in 2000 at the start of the mobile games industry and then to Kuju to sign console deals with Nintendo and Konami, saw Gina build on her production expertise.

As head of business development, new media she successfully took Eidos? catalogue online through mobile, set-top boxes and digital distribution for both console and PC including the award winning Tomb Raider and Championship Manager mobile games.

Gina now runs her own games consultancy business, Blushing Blue, with clients including Sony, Powersnooker and Chromativity as well as being Chief Executive of Women in Games Jobs (WIGJ).

WIGJ has been Gina's main focus for the past six months. Formed in 2009, it's a not-for profit group actively and positively promoting women within the interactive entertainment industry, increasing recruitment, retention and progression in all fields and in all types of organisations to the benefit of the whole industry.

According to creative skillsets figures the number of women working in games dropped from 16% in 2000 to just 6% in 2009. That why she took on the role - if things aren?t changing organically then, she concluded, we need to do something about it.

WIGJ is wanting to understand why women are leaving the industry, how the visibility of those women already in games can be increased, and provide role models and support for those who would like to make a career from games.

The lack of women is a complex and emotive subject. WIGJ wants to create a debate and encourage discussion around the issue.

Games Gina is most proud to have been a part of include: Super Turrican II, True Pinball, Championship Manager mobile and Tomb Raider mobile. The biggest impact she has had is in business development, signing up many of the early mobile developers in 2000 to create WAP games for Nokia, signing a development deal for Kuju with Nintendo and taking Eidos? catalogue online with the creation of new IP such as Solarola.

Industry Figure: Gina Jackson
Company: WIGJ
Role: Chief Executive of Women in Games Jobs
Best Known For: Tomb Raider and Championship Manager mobile games.

Considering the critical acclaim of titles such as The Walking Dead and Journey in 2012, is digital now the real viable means of getting games in gamers' homes?

Of course, I find the thought that it?s not surprising. 2013 is the year when revenues from console will only make up 50% of total games revenues. This doesn?t mean consoles are irrelevant though.

A huge 26% of UK gamers play on all four screens, those being the entertainment screen (console), the computer screen, the personal screen (mobile) and the floating screen (tablets and handheld consoles). This data is from newzoo.

This shows the rise of other platforms alongside traditional platform. We also have a new audience. We?ll need to be careful who we consider to be gamers - women could well be the majority of gamers in 2013.

What are the biggest and most exciting challenges you're looking forward to in the next year?

Company stability: It?s going to be a tough year for some publishers and developers. Consoles and publishers have been a cornerstone of the games ecosystem and the loss of work for hire deals has had a profound effect on the development community.

Self-publishing has been a much desired alternative which has allowed some developers to thrive, but mobile doesn?t provide predictable returns in a very crowded market. We need to hold on to the talent we have and it?s going to be tough. That said the opportunities have never been so big.

Business models: Freemium: is this a red herring or a sustainable model? Are we creating an audience who expect content for free? The rising questions over ethics of some freemium models and gamers feeling cheated and manipulated by a business model are an issue. We need to continue to innovate over business models, keep experimenting and learning.

Elitism: Consoles don?t always give better game experiences than other platforms, a good game is a good game. To thrive we need to embrace all gamers and platforms whilst continuing to grow our audience and innovate with content. I?d like to see us drop AAA as a term for console only. Other platforms can produce high quality games and experiences.

Perception: Lots of fantastic work is being done around the school curriculum, reaching out to young people and linking them with the industry. Check out the great work being done by National Skills Academy in Video Games. However, we need to change the way the mass-market see us.

We are still associated with violence and anti-social behaviour. Everybody can play games, together or individually. They always teach you something, inspire us, connect people, can entertain and make us smile. Being a gamer should be a positive, we need to make it inclusive and acceptable. If you play Angry Birds you are a gamer.

What are the benefits to you and to gamers of the new console generation after Xbox 360 and PS3?

The benefits are new content and new experiences. I am less excited about the tech than I have been in the past. Bigger and better doesn?t guarantee better games - just bigger budgets. I am excited about the crossover we?ll see between games and other industries such as TV, film and music.

The creation of TV channels within games and gaming communities is only the start. The new generation of games consoles can connect things together for us, I already watch TV and films through my console, but how will I be able to connect my other gaming experiences together on my four screens? How do I connect with others in a safe environment? How can I experience new content? I can?t wait.

Thanks to Gina for her time - and we'll have a regular set of articles from Gina coming up. While you wait, check out SPOnG's recent industry insights below.

New Year 2013 Insights:
2013 Industry Insights with Stewart Gilray, Just Add Water
01/02/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Dominic Matthews, Ninja Theory
01/02/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Dominic Matthews, Ninja Theory
31/01/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Dan Webb, X360A
29/01/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx
23/01/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Andy Payne, O.B.E.
22/01/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Gordon Midwood, Different Tuna
21/01/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Andrew Smith, Spilt Milk Studios
17/01/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Theo Sanders, Ubisoft Singapore
16/01/13: 2013 Industry Insights with Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution Studios

Christmas 2012 Insights:
26/12/2012: Games Industry Insights with Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx
27/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution Studios
28/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Ted Price, CEO Insomniac
29/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Theo Sanders, Ubisoft Singapore
30/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Steve Lycett, SUMO Digital
31/12/12: Games Industry Insights with Martyn Brown, InsightforHire
01/01/13: Games Industry Insights with Jon Lander of CCP
02/01/13: Games Industry Insights with David Jaffe
03/01/13: Games Industry Insights with Andy Payne O.B.E.
04/01/13: Games Industry Insights with Peter Molydeux, Genius

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