Episodes

September 15, 2021

The Mindset of Personal Success in the Game Industry, with Tommy Tallarico

Tommy Tallarico is a veritable video game industry icon. As one of the most successful video game composers in history, he has helped revolutionize the gaming world, creating unique audio landscapes that enhance the video gaming experience. Now CEO of Intellivision, Tommy has worked as a designer, product manager, producer, writer, hardware executive, games tester, and heads of both music and video departments over the span of his 32-year long career in the gaming industry. Listen in to this inspiring rollercoaster of an episode as we discuss: - Tommy’s incredible journey from homelessness to launching a brand new gaming console - How Tommy approached the music in Prince of Persia. - How to get to climb any “mountain” you want in your career. - Tommy’s strategy to return to the golden age of co-op gaming with the Intellivision Amico - How Intellivision is helping small developers succeed. - The pitfalls of distributed game production Are you a developer with a fun, family-friendly game that’s easy to pick up and play? Intellivision wants to hear from you! Email developers@intellivision.com. For more resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

September 08, 2021

How to Create Breakthrough Worldwide Hits, with Amy Jo Kim

Named by Fortune as one of the “Top 10 Influential Women in Games”, Amy Jo Kim is a game designer, community architect, and innovation coach. Her design credits include Rock Band, The Sims, eBay, Netflix, nytimes.com, Ultima Online, Covet Fashion, & Happify. Amy Jo helps entrepreneurs & innovators bring their ideas to life at gamethinking.io. She pioneered the practice of applying game design to digital services and is well-known for her books “Community Building on the Web” (2000) and “Game Thinking” (2018). Open up your notes app and get ready to use it as we discuss topics like: - “Super Fans” and why they are critical to getting a “beachhead” in the market - Why the “Fast Follow” method limits growth potential - How to find your Super Fans quickly - How to create innovative projects that scale in a BIG way - How to join Amy Jo’s free Superfan Challenge For more resources head to https://www.playmakerspodcast.com/

August 25, 2021

Shots On Goal, with Jon Radoff

Jon Radoff is the founder of Beamable, the creator-centric platform for building live games in Unity. Before founding Beamable, Jon built one of the first commercial games on the Internet, took a web content management company public, grew a game advertising network, and launched mobile games played by millions of people including Game of Thrones Ascent and Star Trek Timelines. He fights for the game makers of the world by helping make it possible for creative people to make the games they envision without the technological hurdles that normally stand in their way. Listen in to gain some incredibly valuable insight spanning topics like: - How his company evolved into what Beamable is today - Tips and techniques for getting your game off the ground - How to balance time iterating a game and the time and budget to move on to a new project - Why it’s important to get user feedback before you even have a playable version of your game - How to know when it’s time to throw in the towel on a project - The future of the metaverse For more resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

August 17, 2021

How to Win as a Mobile Game Entrepreneur, With Joakim Achrén

Joakim Achrén is a gaming entrepreneur, with fifteen years of experience from two venture-backed gaming startups, including Next Games, which IPOed in 2107. Joakim is now running Elite Game Developers, a company that helps entrepreneurs start their first game company. He's also an angel investor in Skunkworks Games, Lightheart Entertainment, Savage Game Studios, and more. Joakim recently took on the role of Venture Partner at Play Ventures and hosts his own podcast, Elite Game Developers Podcast. Join us in this fascinating discussion with topics like: - How Joakim caught “the bug” for helping other founders - What comes between the early validation phase and obtaining data from user behavior within a playable version of your game - The most common trap mobile developers fall into - The biggest takeaways you should be gaining from your metrics - The key to building mobile games that make players want to come back - The balance between “stealing like an artist” and innovating - What the gaming industry can learn from Pixar’s creative process For more resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

August 11, 2021

What Games Truly Are, with Tadhg Kelly

Tadhg Kelly is a highly experienced consultant in augmented reality, virtual reality, and video games. He has a deep background in game design and production, as well as partner and developer relationship management. Since the early 90s, Tadhg has worked on all sorts of game projects, from board games and live-action roleplaying games to multi-million dollar PC projects. He has served as lead designer, senior producer, and a number of other roles at several companies including BSkyB, Lionhead, and Climax. We get deep on this episode with topics spanning: -The transition from game designer to consultant and the lessons he learned along the way -What is the “Sexy / Worthy Trap” and how do you use it to your advantage? -Balancing speed-to-market against adding more features -The benefit of the games industry opening up to more diverse skillsets -Simple mistakes made at the beginning of a project that can cost you in the long run -The value of letting your game developer do their job For more info and resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

August 03, 2021

How to Start a Mobile Studio, with Travis Boatman

Travis is CEO and co-founder of Carbonated, an LA-based mobile games studio. A 25-year veteran of the game industry (with over 20 years in mobile), Travis has also served as SVP Mobile at both Zynga and Electronic Arts, where he led global studios and mobile game strategy. Travis quickly rose in the ranks from producer to Senior VP, and now runs his own studio. We’re sitting down to chat about the keys to his success with topics like: - The three pillars of the game industry - Following the customers’ lead toward success - How the game industry is similar to standup comedy - The importance of continuing to embrace new technologies - What sets apart a truly successful live ops game For more resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

July 27, 2021

Truly Innovative Game Design, with Nick Fortugno

Nick Fortugno is an entrepreneur, interactive narrative designer, and game designer based in New York City. He is a founder and principal of Playmatics, a game development company that has created a variety of digital and real-world experiences for organizations including Pro Publica, Red Bull, AMC (such as the CableFAX award-winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation), Disney, American Museum of Natural History, the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent. Nick has taught game design and interactive narrative design for 15 years at institutions such as Columbia University and the Parsons School of Design and has participated in the construction of game design and immersive storytelling curriculum. You’ll likely want to listen to this episode more than once with topics spanning: - Nick’s professional journey from intern to Founder & CCO - The top two lessons Nick learned while keeping his company afloat when other competitors failed - The game-changing principles of game design he’s picked up over the course of his career - Failing up in game design: making and breaking - MDA as an approach to game design and how he utilizes this technique - What Nick looks for when hiring game designers and producers: what’s taught in school vs. what needs to be cultivated - AI in the gaming technology forecast For more resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

July 20, 2021

The Web3 Gaming Revolution, with Emma-Jane MacKinnon-Lee

Emma-Jane is a space engineering dropout liberating gaming and fashion in web3 through mod culture. She is the Founder & CEO of DIGITALAX, the pioneer Digital Fashion NFT protocol and marketplace for gaming and esports. In short, she’s a dynamic innovator living at the intersection of gaming and emerging internet technologies. In this mind-bending episode, we deep dive into the metaverse and discuss how the game industry stands to be disrupted during the rise of ”web3” technologies that enable digital scarcity, decentralization, and interoperability. -NFT’s and cryptocurrency as they relate to gaming -The intersection of the gaming industry and web3 -Who are the new digital natives? -Digital fashion, and the challenge of interoperability -How web3 presents an opportunity for more stability in the game industry rat race -Advice for game devs looking to break into the NFT space

July 13, 2021

Going Full-Time, with Colm Larkin

Colm is a programmer, game designer, and board game enthusiast. He jumped into game development by founding Gambrinous in 2014 and has released two titles so far: Guild of Dungeoneering and Cardpocalypse. He is also involved with the Irish game development community, including spending four years on the board of Imirt, the association for Irish game makers. This highly insightful episode packs a punch with topics like: -How Colm transitioned from a part-time to a full-time game developer -The importance of conquering perfectionism -What helped Colm the most in getting his first game off the ground -How to know when it’s time to start expanding your team as an indie developer -To animate or not to animate? The impacts of art on your creation process -How to set yourself up for success when it comes to seeking out a publisher For more resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

July 06, 2021

Season 2 Trailer of Playmakers: The Game Industry Podcast!

Playmakers is back with a brand new season by and for game industry professionals. We're bringing you actionable insights you can use to grow in your career, make better games, and improve your game industry business. The pandemic has been called "The Great Accelerator" and it's important to stay on top of where the industry is going. That's why we're bringing you an amazing variation of game industry leaders and legends to light the way. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast wherever you love to listen and head to www.playmakerspodcast.com to check out even more resources and episodes. We're really proud and excited to show you what we've been cooking up. Game on.

June 29, 2021

The Art of Transmedia Storytelling, With Chris Ferriter

Master of cross-medium storytelling, Chris Ferriter, joins us on the podcast today. Chris is an award-winning Producer and Designer whose career has spanned the motion picture and video game industries beginning in 1994 before transitioning to the game industry in 1998, where he went on to produce over 50 games for several of the game industry’s top publishers including THQ, Midway, and Ubisoft, and EA Sports. Chris is currently CEO and Executive Producer of Halon Entertainment, a visualization, virtual production, and game cinematics studio comprised of seasoned Visualization Supervisors, Artists, and Creatives committed to the advancement of storytelling and real-time virtual production. Listen in as we discuss how game engine technology is revolutionizing motion picture production with topics like: -Chris’ start in the industry -Getting a degree vs. getting your foot in the door -Telling the best possible story -The importance of previs -Behind the scenes of building a game -The COVID-accelerated normalization of virtual production workflows For full show notes and resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

June 22, 2021

How to Succeed in the Indie Games Business, With Jay Powell

In this value-packed episode, we’re joined by Jay Powell, founder of The Powell Group, a video game consulting firm focused on business development, publishing support, and licensing with clients like Other Ocean, Spill Games, and Deep Silver. Jay has also spearheaded the Indie Game Business Initiative which produces both a weekly podcast and hosts multiple virtual business conferences each year in order to help game creators develop a solid understanding of the business and marketing aspects of the game industry. Join us as we dive into important topics for indie devs and small devs trying to get their foot in the door such as: -How to strategize your approach to publishers as an indie developer -How to avoid the biggest business mistakes that small studios make -The hottest opportunities in the market for developers right now -How the pandemic has affected the publishing landscape for indies and small dev teams -And how new platforms like Microsoft Game Pass are impacting the rest of the distribution landscape For full show notes and resources head to www.playmakerspodcast.com

November 11, 2020

Rapid Prototyping Secrets for Better Games with Bernard François

Bernard François runs Preview Labs, a company dedicated to helping studios create prototypes. They have created prototypes for Amazon, Wargaming, Unity, Google R&D, Disney Imagineering, and many more. In this highly actionable interview, we cover how to make prototypes that are efficient and effective. What kinds of problems prototyping can solve, the difference between internal prototypes and prototypes for a pitch, common prototyping mistakes, key variables to include in prototypes, and much much more.

September 15, 2020

Inside the Mind of a Game God, with Steve Meretzky

I mean, it's Steve Meretzky, one of the greatest game writers and puzzle designers of all time. He's also served as VP of Games at King, VP of Creative at GSN, and VP of Game Design at Playdom/Disney. Steve is a hilarious creative force for good, and in this interview he shares stories and insights from his wide ranging and impactful career making games. Interested in contacting or working with Steve? You can find his LinkedIn profile in the show notes.

September 07, 2020

From Table Tops to Live Ops, with Bruce Harlick

Bruce Harlick is a prolific game designer and a beloved member of the bay area design community. He's worked at Monolith, LucasArts, Zynga, TinyCo, Hanger 13, and more on everything from MMOs to Facebook games. In our talk, we dive into live operations, content calendars, and managing KPI from a designers perspective.

August 31, 2020

Product Management & Monetization 101 & 201, with Gordon Rowe

Gordon Rowe was a product manager on Mafia Wars, and then served as Zynga's only product manager on the 3rd party publishing team working with external studios to help them improve the performance of their games. He also worked on PC f2p as the Director of Product at Daybreak games. He's currently working at Facebook as an in-house consultant. Gordon has worked with dozens of external studios and has problem solved their products, and evaluated their chances of success. These are superpowers you can develop by listening to this episode... We dive deep into product management frameworks, rule-of-thumb KPI, common free to play errors, the evolution of monetization beyond pay-to-win, how to implement an analytics stack, and much much more. If you work in, or have interest in, free-to-play games, this interview is absolutely unmissable.

August 25, 2020

How to Become (or work with) a AAA Game Composer, with Michael Bross

AAA audio composer and sound designer Michael Bross has composed on games like Ratchet and Clank, Counter Strike, Odd World, X-com 2, Simpsons Tapped out, World of Tanks, Arena of Valor, and many more. In this interview, you'll learn: * How Michael broke into the industry * What he looks for when hiring young composers and sound designers * When is the right time to bring an audio team into the game development process * How producers and developers can get the most from their audio teams * And much more! Lots to learn in this episode of Playmakers!

August 03, 2017

Managing Your Game Industry Career, with Marc Mencher

Marc’s first gaming job was at Sphere, which was later renamed to Spectrum Holobyte. He worked as a software engineer on the games Vet and Falcon 1. When Spectrum Holobyte merged with Microprose in 1993, Mencher was asked to staff the entity and hired over 200 people. He later joined The 3DO Company, a game console manufacturer, as Staffing Manager, and helped to build The 3DO Studio (The 3DO Company’s Game Development Studio) from scratch, hiring over 300 people.