Every month an industry leader wraps up MCV/DEVELOP with their unique insight. This month we talk to Samantha Ebelthite, country manager UK&I at EA.
With time at Unilever, Birds Eye and GSK, you have broad experience of consumer tastes, how are you finding the games business in comparison?
Really different and I love it. I was always a gamer in my teens – my family loves playing games and my Dad and Brother would network up the house so we could play together. It’s amazing to work in the company that made the games I loved when I was younger.
With the greatest respect to your current role, what is/was your dream job?
When I was very young, I wanted to run a shop. My brother would be an inventor and I would sell his creations in my shop. As I grew up, I wanted to work on brands, something people could relate to. I also wanted to go to work with a briefcase just like my Dad. I haven’t got the briefcase yet, which is probably for the best!
There’s been increased scrutiny of the industry by the government of late, how best should the industry respond?
Listening to the players and making decisions guided by what’s right for them is incredibly important. Our games are created to give joy to those that play, and we want that to continue.
What has been the greatest single moment of your career to date?
Getting the job at EA was a complete career highlight. I haven’t been in the industry that long, but the culture is great and the opportunity to lead the world’s greatest game company for my home country is a complete honour. That, and meeting Jack Whitehall at the FIFA 19 launch event.
Can the games industry possibly change as much over the next few years as it has over the last few?
Absolutely yes! That’s what I love about this industry. It relishes change. New technology will play a huge role here and that’s what is so exciting. There are so many opportunities upon and ahead of us and in adapting to that brings even more opportunity.
There’s a new wave of gaming platforms coming, both in the home and in the cloud, do you think they will generate growth in the medium term?
Next gen and cloud bring with them huge opportunities for growth in the industry. EA is incredibly forward thinking and has already talked at length about the significant strides it’s taking toward cloud in particular.
Do you feel that the games industry is currently headed in the right direction?
I do. I think those in the industry are incredibly passionate about ensuring that the industry moves in a positive direction. I am continually impressed with the people I meet and the companies I work with. With cloud gaming is on everyone’s minds, it will be exciting to see who gives the players the best experience here.
Who has most impressed you in the industry to date?
The industry as a whole has impressed me. It’s such a welcoming, informal and fun business. It embraces change and stewardship. Everyone you meet, loves and is really proud to do what they do.