It's the first of our new weekly blog, where we meet a member of Team Ukie to find out all about their hopes, their fears, and what their pets look like.
What do you do at Ukie?
I help tell Ukie and the games industry’s story. This means coming up with public positions on key issues with the help of industry, managing relations with the press, keep our content channels turning over and run big jazzy campaigns that catch the eye.
A lot of that work is done behind the scenes. Coming up with what the UK industry thinks on a matter, for example, takes more meetings and phone calls than many people could imagine possible. And keeping journalists informed of what we’re up to means many WhatsApp chats, emails, calls and, god forbid, lunches (a tough life, I know).
But there are moments where I do, briefly, get to do something the wider world is able to see. As well as doing my bit to publicly support and disseminate information on behalf of Ukie’s core activities, I’ve also helped run some of our big activities like Games for Carers and the mental health focused Play&Talk weekend, as well as helping kick start Kickstart for games (ha!)
In short, I’m a busy beaver. But to be doing this on behalf of an industry I genuinely love is an absolute privilege and I will always do my damnedest to help show off games in a great light.
What made you want to work in the games industry?
Honestly, I didn’t really think I could when I came out of university. I started out at a market research company (note: absolute disaster, never make me commute for four hours a day again) before doing some tech journalism and ending up in a Cambridge mobile advertising company.
But when I was at that company, we started working with games businesses to promote their games. And once I realised that a) this was a thing that could be done and b) that there were plenty of people in the UK who I could strong arm/dupe into paying me to doing it, I never turned back.
Games were a big part of my life growing up, both in my interactions with friends and family and in terms of what brought me entertainment. So as soon as I was able to nudge the door open into games and start freelancing as a writer/event organiser/content marketer/literally whatever vaguely paid the bills, I knew I had to go for it.
What are you playing at the moment?
I’ve been playing a lot of Overboard, the whodunnit where you’ve dunnit. I’ve managed to successfully pin my in game husband’s death on his mistress and frame it as a suicide, but I’ve yet to complete my 100% kill run so that’s something to work on.
I’ve also, unwisely, started managing Sunderland in Football Manager as part of The Athletic’s community challenge. I’m about to kick on with the first half of Season 1 because I’m a Johnny Come Lately, but I’m expecting pain because that seems to come with the territory.
Overboard! -- The detective murder mystery with a twist. Download here.
What do you do in your spare time, aside from games?
I play guitar to a level described as ‘passable’ by a friend. I collect football history books because I like to bore people at parties. And I run a lot, especially because I’m in the middle of a charity challenge for Special Effect that you really should donate to here.
If you had a pet, what pet would you have?
A grumpy cat. I respect how cats fundamentally won’t respect you unless you put the hard yards in and I’m a people pleaser, so a slightly narked one would be ideal.
If you had one piece of advice for someone looking to get into games, what would it be?
Aside from saying “totally do it, it’s great”, my main piece of advice is to take a bit of time to understand how the industry works.
Lots of people love games, which is fantastic of course, but understanding how the skills you have could help a business solve a problem they’re having will help you stand out.
So take time to read books about the industry (Jason Schreier’s are great) and flip through the trade press regularly. The knowledge you’ll pick up will serve you well long term.
Follow George on Twitter @ukie_george.