Into Games Futures workshop in Abertay University

One of our workshopping tables deep in flow.

One of our workshopping tables deep in flow.

Abertay is arguably the most prestigious university for game development in the whole of the UK and at the end of January, they kindly hosted our Into Games Futures workshop.

We bought together students, industry leaders and teachers to discuss some of our key drivers and questions we have around some of the key the programme work we’re running in 2019.

Here are some of our groups high level thoughts on the five primary areas we looked at;

How to improve access to the industry for those from low-income families?

  • Access to hardware and equipment - potentially ex-equipment from studios

  • Financial incentives for universities to take on young people from low income families

  • Code/Game Club to act as a feeder into apprenticeship programme

  • Work with Youth Clubs

  • Better industry outreach to schools

  • Partnering support groups with games industry

  • Better understanding of game dev is by parents in poorer communities

  • More apprenticeships

  • Better/easier access to technology and software tools  

  • Government funding for games studios to make time

  • Local access in rural areas

  • Games taken directly to children through roadshow

What could excellent youth mentorship in the games industry look like?

  • Inspiring and visible role models

  • Identifying youth that are genuinely interested in development

  • Needs to be long term, not just an hour or two

  • Practical projects with clear outcomes

  • Wide range of potential roles featured during mentorship  

  • Well structured meetings

  • Awareness of available resources and programmes available

  • Match-making between mentors and mentees

  • Structured outreach with coding and games clubs

  • Extra curricular activities online

  • Small competitions endorsed and funded by big industry players  

What could careers look like in 2030?

  • More remote working - online collaboration

  • ‘Games’ becoming a more diluted term eg. Interactive stories, gamification, user interfaces, Simulation

  • VR and AR mainstream

  • Increased automation and AI

  • Games recognised as being culturally significant

  • More games for good

  • Increased outsourcing - specific companies that deal with specific aspects of the process,

  • More roles available

  • Smaller studios

  • Talent will move more frequently

  • Closer to Hollywood model for AAA games

  • Increased availability and power of tools means we can get on with being more creative

  • Could be some form of unionisation  

Is University the only way into the industry?

  • Lack of funded apprenticeship routes

  • Personal projects and MODs looked at as ways

  • Shorter vocational courses

  • Need to showcase more professional stories

  • University presents an easy talent pool for HR teams to pick from

  • People can get started through online courses

  • There isn’t a large number of first roles in the games industry

  • Need more routes than just QA in

  • Indie games and mobile games

How can we make it easier for industry to volunteer their time?

  • Use Discord or Slack for opportunities

  • Buy in from studios to create time

  • Ensure there is feedback from students

  • Clarity of commitment required

  • Roll out tiered osmosis (mailout for studio heads)

  • Short training programmes

  • Recognition through badges

  • Subsidise travel/expenses

  • Adding volunteering time as an option for some contracts

  • Studio led activities

  • Emphasis the professional development of staff

  • Students taught to mentor

The next step for us is to start taking this information and apply it to our current programmes in the pipeline. If you’d like to see what we’re working on, head over to our projects page for more info and the chance to get involved.  

We plan on running Into Games Futures events in Cardiff, Bristol, Guildford and Lemington Spa. If you’re a studio lead, educator or student please get in touch to see how

Declan Cassidy