Presented by Xbox Game Studios
In a period that has seen a lot of change when it comes to how game development teams are being managed, how game publishing partnerships are created, and how studio cultures are shaped, Xbox Game Studios is returning to the Game Developers Conference in person with fresh perspective and newfound insights to share.
In particular, the game publishing world has evolved over the last few years, often requiring greater resources to support teams who might be working with a major publisher for the first time. Xbox Game Studios Publishing leaders Peter Wyse, general manager, and Crystin Cox, director of business strategy, will present their session “Leading With Empathy: The Journey to Become the Best Publisher in the Industry.” Attendees will hear how Xbox Game Studios Publishing helps developers put their games in players’ hands with the goal of creating long-lasting impact. Peter and Crystin will discuss how they take a custom, inclusive and empathetic approach to game development partnerships.
Wyse offers, “At Xbox Game Studios Publishing, we partner with developers from first pitch, to going live with their game, to running the game for years. We support the team plan to create an experience that keeps players playing and engages their fans.”
Cox adds, “Publishing isn't a one size fits all solution; modern publishers can approach each game as a unique collaboration built on trust and understanding. Our session encourages others to examine how empathy and inclusion show up in their own process either as a publisher or as a developer working with a publisher.”
Game development teams working with any publisher may find the need to reconsider their studio culture when dealing with the vagaries of game technology and production constraints, commitment to building more diverse development teams and working under tight delivery deadlines. At Xbox Game Studios, there’s a belief that managers are key to unlocking success for teams and, ultimately, for growing and improving culture through management techniques.
To expand on this idea, Nicholas Fang, engineering director at Xbox Player Experiences and Platforms, will moderate the Xbox Game Studios panel titled “Growing a Healthy Culture through Management Excellence at Xbox.” Nicholas will be joined by panelists Soren Hannibal Nielsen, technical director and Lindsey McQueeney, chief of staff at The Initiative, Luis Angel Mex, principal software engineering manager of Turn 10 Studios, and Mike Yurka, strategy and operations manager for Xbox Studios Quality, to explore the Xbox Game Studios journey of developing management excellence, and using this expertise to continually put learning, growth and understanding into action to support and impact game development teams.
Fang suggests, “A strong culture is a primary differentiator in attracting and landing great, diverse, innovative talent and simultaneously a path to keeping our Xbox teams running well in times of stress. Regardless of how any company is managing in this environment, it’s important to recognize how intentional and explicit attention on team culture is key in this environment.”
When armed with the right resources, training and attitude, game producers can be powerful advocates for critical-path change in development teams. The GDC session, “Game Production as Craft: How Producers Drive Development at Xbox Game Studios,” will give attendees a peek into the world of game production, where each team has a tailored approach to making games.
This multi-studio panel of producers will be moderated by Mikey Soden, lead producer at Turn 10 Studios, joined by Alex Le Boulicaut, producer at 343 Industries, Venessa Nyarko, senior producer at The Coalition, and Erika Olsen, senior producer, and Matt Turnbull, executive producer at Xbox Game Studios Publishing, to share how they are empowered to influence Xbox tech, ecosystem, and culture, while developing world-class game titles.
Soden says, “At Xbox Game Studios, each team, each creator, is given the space to do what they need to deliver the best experience possible to our players. There is no single, monolithic approach that works for all teams or studios, and this is well understood here. Whether you are at Playground Games, Turn 10 Studios, a part of Xbox Game Studios Publishing, or one of our other studios, your production practices are unique to your product – which is empowering and exciting.”
To learn more about these three sessions and all other GDC sessions featuring speakers from Xbox Games Studios, visit their website for more details: Xbox Game Studios @ GDC 2023