May 11th, 2015
Student Work Experience Program 
Posted in Codename News.

What is it like to work in a video game company?

When I was a kid, I couldn't imagine what that would be like. I really had no idea.

Codename Entertainment and the other game studios in Victoria have come together to offer high school students the Video Game Work Experience Program. This program provides students with the chance to spend four days inside a video game studio.

Students at Codename get a chance to try their hand at several different roles in the company, including creating art, community management, and level design. Also, students get a chance to see how the studio functions, plus try out new game content and provide their feedback.

Did you know that by the time the average student graduates from high school in North America, they have spent over 10,000 hours playing video games? Based on the research around expertise, we know that after 10,000 hours, you become an expert. This means that high school students are experts at playing video games. So when we bring a high school student into our studio, we are bringing in an expert at playing games. Of course, there are more skills required to work at a game studio than just being an expert at playing games. However, when getting feedback and suggestions on our games, high school students bring a wealth of experience.

I am sure that there are some people may wonder how realistic it is to get a job in the video game industry. Is pursuing your dream of working in video games similar to pursuing dreams of being an actor? Sadly, there seems to be a lot more people who want to be actors, than jobs for professional actors. This is not the case for the video game industry. Video games are a larger industry than Hollywood (sheesh, the revenue from just mobile games is larger than Hollywood's revenues, let alone revenues from consoles, handhelds and PC games). In British Columbia there are over 5,000 people working in the video game industry.

Further, if you love video games and would like to work in the video game industry, you don't need to move to another country to work in the industry. In Canada, the games industry employs a lot of people in good paying jobs.

Did you know that two of the top six video game franchises of all time (measured by total revenue) are made in B.C. (Need for Speed and FIFA)? From EA's studio in Burnaby, B.C. to Ubisoft's studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada has long been a leader in video game development.

Why is Codename so active in this program? The simplest reason is because it makes us happy. We would have loved the opportunity to do something like this as a kid and I know that there are lots of kids just like us. Students can see what the industry is like and then use that information as they make decisions about what they want to do after graduation.

And sometimes we get the occasional student who surprises us with a thank-you gift.

April 8th, 2015
Student Day at GottaCon 
Posted in Codename News.

From the desk of the CEO:

One of the things that I enjoy the most about my job is chatting with people who are passionate about video games. As a father of three, I particularly enjoy chatting with students.

This year at GottaCon (a local gaming convention in Victoria), I had the chance to participate in a panel discussion on working in the video game industry. This is the second year that we have organized this panel and both times it has been a fabulous experience. We work with local schools and their career coordinators to identify and bus in about 400 students. Last year the room was packed and this year we had over 150 students on the waiting list.

The moderator had some pre-made questions to ask the panelists, in case the students proved to be shy. However, this couldn't have been further from the truth. The students were brimming with questions:
  • "What is our favorite video game?"
  • "How do you get into the video game industry?"
  • "I have a great idea for a video game. What should I do?"
  • "What should I study in university to help me work in the industry?"
  • "Do I need to go to university?"
  • "What post-secondary schools would we suggest?"

For an hour, the students peppered us with questions. Afterwards, the students had a chance to visit the booths of the various video game companies and learn more abut what we do.

It was a great experience and I look forward to participating again next year.

Thanks to GottaCon for the use of their pictures for this blog! :)
January 17th, 2015
Video Games are F*ing Awesome 
Posted in Codename News.

At the most recent TEDxVictoria, I (Eric) had a chance to share why I love video games. My talk was formed from a random collection of ideas that had been rattling around in my head from some time. While I found it quite a process to distill these ideas into a talk, I found the results to be quite rewarding. Ultimately, this is the talk that I wish I could have heard when I was 12 years old.

October 24th, 2014
Victoria's First Video Game Startup Boot Camp! 

From the Desk of Codename Entertainment's CEO, Eric Jordan:

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to facilitate the first Video Game Start-Up Boot Camp in Victoria and I am thrilled to say that it was a rousing success!

The goal of the event was to provide a "free weekend workshop, delivered by Accelerate Tectoria and video game industry experts, to help teams and individuals put together a business plan from which to build a video game development company." Over the course of the weekend, local industry experts led numerous presentations and fireside chats for the attendees who were formed into teams for the duration of the Boot Camp to work through practical exercises aimed at putting their learnings into a potential actionable plan. Actively focusing topics on the subject of the business of video games as compared to the business of business allowed the information to be pointedly relevant to the attendees. As a result, it was hoped that participants would be able to make more significant progress of understanding their own business.

Initially planned for 20-25 participants, we received so much interest that we quickly doubled our numbers. We spent an intensive 47 hours working over the course of 2.5 days (including a few short breaks to sleep!) but we achieved the weekend's objective far beyond expectation!

Our initial theory had been that a voracious appetite for this kind of event existed and I was personally extremely pleased to see this theory confirmed. Based on the feedback we received, we more than fulfilled our core commitment to the participants: at the end of the weekend they felt confident that they knew dramatically more about the realities of the video game business than at the start of the weekend. Upon reflection, my two personal surprises from this weekend were that around 50% of the attendees were originally drawn to attend the event because they're interested in starting their own company, and that the quality of the group presentations by the end of the event was much higher than I had initially expected.

I'd like to take a quick moment to thank those who provided their support: VIATeC and Accelerate Tectoria were extremely helpful in pulling this off. Chris from IGDA was also a big help in putting together the event in terms of reaching the appropriate participants and Dan Jacobsen (Gas Lamp, Vancouver).

Alex helped us in the planning and adding Jason Delle Rocca (Execution Labs, Montreal) to our speaker list, creating great new connections in our community. We our fantastic panel of speakers also included Bren Gershkovitch (Silicon Sisters, Vancouver) and Jon Kimmich (ex-MSFT, Seattle). 

Finally, I would like to extended a big thanks to everyone who came together to make this event such a success!