Podcast #3 Games for change, Kickstarter and the industry's gender imbalance
Paulina Bozek, Mark Sorrell and Will Luton join Dan Pearson for the third GamesIndustry podcast
This month's podcast is a real treat.
Not only is it recorded in the professional recording booth at Side Studios in London, meaning no more chair scraping, seagulls or concrete bathroom ambience, we have three articulate, hugely experienced and industry-spanning guests discussing three of the key topics at the heart of today's industry.
In the hot seats this month are Paulina Bozek, CEO and co-founder of Inensu and creator of Singstar, Will Luton, SEGA veteran and creative director of Mobile Pie, and respected industry voice and new member of production outfit Somethin' Else, Mark Sorrell.
We're not skirting the big issues here, but this month we've taken a bit of a detour from what might be considered core topics for the traditional industry. Firstly we're discussing the idea of games for change: can a game educate, inform and raise awareness effectively? Can titles like Bozek's own Closet Swap genuinely make society a better place?
Paulina obviously thinks so, but where do you draw the line? Do we risk undermining serious, complex issues by using games to illustrate them? Do games intrinsically trivialise?
Next up is a discussion of the Kickstarter crowd-sourcing phenomenon, brought most prominently to recent attention by Double Fine's incredible success, raising over $1 million dollars in one day and topping out at over $2 million.
A grand success, but Schafer isn't your everyday industry figure. Is it reasonable for studios to expect to be able to even approach the levels of good will necessary to emulate Double Fine? Is Kickstarter, and crowd-sourcing in general, a sustainable approach to funding for the industry? What would happen if Activision were to start a Kickstarter fund for the next Call of Duty?
Finally, and perhaps most contentiously, we move on to the subject of the games industry's undeniable gender imbalance. This is not a subject you could cover comprehensively in a week's worth of solid discussion, let alone a 15 minute slot on a podcast, but it's something which elicits a tremendously passionate response from our panel.
Three very different opinions are voiced here, but there's one common theme. Things must change. Gender imbalance and sexism, in the workforce, the community and in games themselves, is a shame which must be addressed. How to do so is not quite so easily agreed upon.
We hope you enjoy it. Jump into the discussion in the comments below, and if there's anything you'd like to raise in future shows, or indeed if you'd like to appear, then drop me a line at Dan.Pearson@Gamesindustry.biz.