Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella last week joined an Xbox Academy workshop designed to support and inspire an audience of aspiring game developers from all across the UK.
In partnership with Into Games and Catch 22, Microsoft’s Xbox Academy hosted a free two-hour workshop in London where a panel of games industry specialists shared their expert knowledge and advice with young people, many of whom come from hard-to-reach or under-represented backgrounds.
Sixty percent of UK adults play games.
“It’s fantastic to see an event like this, and a group like this coming together,” Satya told attendees during his fireside chat with Xbox On host, Charleyy Hodson. “To build a great game, you need to start by saying let’s attract a whole diverse group of people to get into this industry and be part of the teams that are creating these games.
Satya underscored the importance of gaming to Microsoft, and Microsoft’s commitment to the industry, saying “It’s core to our DNA … what motivates us is how we bring more of the joy of gaming to the 3 billion people who play.”
Speaking about the range of skills required to create games, Satya added “We, as an industry, have to continue to really make it more inviting. It’s not just about hardcore coding – it’s that spectrum of skills that are required to create games.
“I think that the case for diversity in gaming is actually probably the easiest to see, because of the very nature of what games are,” Satya added. “We are definitely very committed to doing our part, in terms of whether it’s Xbox Academy or anything else that will help more gamers or more people across all backgrounds get into [the games industry].”
Satya was joined by Rare Studio Head Craig Duncan and Executive Producer Louise O’Connor, who each reflected upon their own careers and echoed Xbox’s commitment to fostering talent in great studios that, in turn, make great games wherever, whenever, and however players want to play.
Into Games’ Chief Executive Declan Cassidy and Cassia Curran, founder of Curran Games Agency, also offered practical advice and guidance on establishing a career in the UK games industry.
Attendees were able to direct questions to all speakers and find out more about establishing a games industry career in their particular area of interest.
As for Satya ‘s personal advice to those looking to kick off a games industry career?
“I always say, don’t wait for your next job to do your best work,” Satya advised. “I never felt that the first job I was doing was less important than the job I’m doing today, quite honestly.
“We all have a high ambition, we want to get somewhere – and that’s all fantastic. But what’s going to get you there is the passion and the excellence with which you deliver what you’re doing today.”
“These kinds of events are amazing for me,” said attendee, Ben, afterwards. “My passion is accessibility and I’m particularly interested in user experience. I think a big thing for me is trying to find a company which has the same kinds of values as me, so I want to have a word with Rare in a bit!”
Kyle, who came through the Catch 22 programme, was particularly interested in Cassia Curran’s advice about the differences between game development and game publishing, whilst Max – who had travelled from Manchester to take part in the workshop following a C++ bootcamp hosted by Into Games – was looking for “good advice from people about what they have learned along the way making games”.