Every month an industry leader wraps up MCV/DEVELOP with their unique insight. This month we talk to Roberta Lucca, Co-founder of Bossa Studios
How has Bossa changed since you founded it?
Ten years in the video games industry feels like decades of evolution. It’s been the most exciting and challenging years of my life and career. Bossa started in a room annexed to a circus school in East London. We often had freaky clown encounters when we were burning the midnight oil making Monstermind, our first game. That got us a BAFTA, so that was worth it. Bossa has since evolved from a four-person team saying “let’s make a game we love” to a creative machine fueled by nearly 90 incredibly talented people.
You’ve worked in a wide array of tech and marketing-focused roles, what did you learn from those experiences?
I believe we can all live multiple lives in our lifetime. My journey has led me from computer scientist with an MBA and marketing degrees to becoming a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, content creator and public speaker. I never lost any of the skills I acquired in my multiple lives but added them to my toolbox of life.
I never had things come easily to me. I had to go and find my opportunities, build my network, fight for a promotion, learn by doing and carve my space and voice in the room usually full of white men. I worked in innovation and marketing for ten years before starting Bossa – that ranged from creating the first ‘interactive’ text message-based products for Big Brother Brazil, to apps that connected to a concierge service when I was at Vertu (a luxury subsidiary of Nokia).
While my work at Bossa nowadays is all about leading an organization, I still exercise my creativity with the podcast I’m launching in July (called Hyper Curious), the videos I produce on my YouTube channel, and the talks or keynotes I deliver.
What are the biggest challenges today in the games industry?
Attention is the biggest challenge! All studios and platforms are fighting for players’ attention in times where we’re overwhelmed with good and bad content, real and fake news, articles, tweets, posts, likes, music, games, series. As consumers, we’ve got a wide array of entertainment options and a gradually shorter attention span. Cutting through the noise, creating an emotional engagement and monetising an audience has never been so challenging.
The good news (for Bossa at least) is that companies who are highly creative and authentic, with the ability to adapt and iterate content, can swing their sails to catch the winds of trends in the attention economy and really succeed!
How can the industry succeed in getting more women into senior roles?
We need to train all our leaders to identify nuances of communication between men and women. According to research, women typically underplay their achievements (often attributing success to others or luck). And we do the opposite when it comes to failures – we take it personally and blame ourselves for when things don’t go to plan.
Men, on the other hand, usually attribute success to themselves and failures to others. As leaders in organisations, we must learn this and encourage women to speak up, put themselves forward for promotions, do that talk at an event, and tell them when success is due to their contribution, not fortune. There are barriers to success for women in the industry and I think all the women who are working to overcome and remove these, should be showing everyone it’s possible – being a role model for your children, the younger generations, and even your partner is hugely important!