Guest Lecture: Paul Hollins from University of Bolton

The final guest lecture as part of the Business of Computer Games module, this time from a man named Paul Hollins who works at the University of Bolton, but had work experience with a company known as Midas Interactive back in the 1990s when he first joined them.

The Midas company was involved with the “grey market” – importing games into Europe and making a profit by reselling them. However Midas eventually became a development company after purchasing Interactive Entertainment. When this happened Paul was given the job of creating external licensing for their games with people such as Gianluca Vialli (Chelsea Football Manager), Andre Agassi (Tennis) and the Rugby Football League.

However the one that made the most money was a equestrian simulation game known as Mary Kings Riding Star which he aquired for next to nothing from an Australian Developer, which targetted young girls, a market which nobody really made games for.

Paul led on to tell us the good and bad parts of working in the games industry. First of all for him, no two days were ever the same and he was able to mix with celebrities whilst negociating licensing deals (this also mean’t he could get free tickets to sporting events).

The bad part was the poor working conditions, as well as little job security since “you were only as good as your last game” (the company had lost alot of money on his last game when at the company). As well as being under constant pressure to meet hard milestones. Whether the industry is still like this today probably depends on what developer you are with.

He told us how if you are a developer, getting a publisher behind you can be hard and sometimes impossible if you haven’t had any games published commercially before, and how publishers set high expectations that if you didn’t reach you wouldn’t get paid.

The talk came to an end with him telling us that if we want to get into the games industry, we better eat, drink, sleep and breathe games.