Every month an industry leader wraps up MCV/DEVELOP with their unique insight. This month, we talk to Mike Gamble, head of strategy at Talenthouse Media Foundry.
How would you characterise the thread that runs through your career?
I think the common theme is that most of my career has been straddling the line between business and technology, almost as a translator between the two camps, helping each area understand the other a little better.
Would you say Talenthouse Media Foundry is a culmination in terms of bringing together your skills and experience – how so?
Yes definitely! It’s allowing me to draw on every facet of my career to date without the need to be partisan regarding technology or company. This allows me to be able to keep the needs of Indie devs at the core of every decision.
Why is what you’re doing now needed more than ever?
The ubiquity and cheap – or indeed, free – nature of professional development tools means that it has never been easier to start creating a game. However, that just moves the bottleneck further along the process. Distribution, marketing, QA/localisation, funding, self-publishing or finding a publisher all remain significant challenges, not to mention discoverability and scaling teams.
Media Foundry gathering those skills and resources under one roof will help solve those challenges for devs.
What has been the biggest change you’ve experienced in the industry during your time?
I think the obvious change is graphical fidelity, from 8 bit pixel art to ray-traced 3D images. But in lots of ways it’s how the industry has gone full circle from being ‘indie’ dev/publisher led, through monolithic publisher and 1st party dominated, and then back to being ‘Indie’ driven.
What was the greatest [or most ludicrous, funniest, worst…] single moment of your career to date?
Ahhhh tricky, perhaps the most frightening was demoing G Police (Psygnosis title) to Bill Gates in the early days of DirectX and wittering on about the traffic (in game) whilst casually committing mass slaughter.
With the greatest respect to your current role, what is/was your dream job?
Owning/running an equestrian show jumping business.
What are the biggest challenges today in the games industry?
With all eyes being the games industry with respect to the Metaverse etc, I think one of the biggest challenges is retaining our souls. Not selling out to corporate machines, basically.
Who continues to impress you in the industry?
Really tricky, but I think it’s the teams forging new ways of working and engaging: Sloclap with Kepler Interactive, Thunderful, Robot Teddy all seem to be holding the torch for Indies.
Can the games industry possibly change as much over the next five years as it has over the last five?
No question about it, blockchain/crypto becoming regulated and mainstream will have a huge effect. The dreaded Metaverse (can we please call it Web 3.0?) will be a black hole that pulls the industry towards it for good or ill. The great thing about the industry is that it is constantly evolving and will take all the changes in its stride.