Gina Jackson, MD of Next Gen Skill Academy, recalls her work at the forefront of the games industry’s many transformations
Tell us about your career in games. How did you get started?
My career has been very varied and I started by working in development on console and handheld titles, before moving into business development.
I have been lucky enough to have worked at the forefront of many games industry transformations, including mobile when it was WAP games with black and white Nokia screens in 2000, online digital distribution through streaming and download service with Eidos in 2004 and now with games education development with the Next Gen Skills Academy.
It has always been about connecting the best and most appropriate talent to the new opportunities and learning what works and what doesn’t.
What has been the achievement you’re most proud of?
Signing Kuju’s London Studio to Nintendo for what became Battalion Wars. Hearing from the Nintendo team about Miyamoto’s feedback on the game and learning directly from them about the challenges they faced with the Mario Kart control mechanism and how we, Kuju, could learn from that.
Becoming a visiting professor in games industry and Business at Norwich University of the Arts is the part of my career that makes my mum proudest.
What makes games an exciting industry to work in?
Games and the surrounding industry is always changing – there are always new opportunities and passion from the people involved.
Having worked outside the industry for a couple of years, I had to come back because I missed it too much.
To work with people who love what they do and have an enthusiasm for it every day is a privilege. It’s great to do a job you love.
What are your long-term goals and ambitions in games?
To return the UK to being in the Top Three of games developing countries in the world. We have so much raw talent in the UK, it’s about supporting it in the right way. I believe everyone is a gamer in some way.