Insights

Women in gaming: Interview with Studio Operations Manager at Big Pixel Studio

Article written by Andy Turton, Director of X4 Technology.

As part of X4 Technology’s women in gaming series, I had the pleasure of chatting to Georgina Felce, Studio Operations Manager at Big Pixel Studios to hear about her career journey in the gaming industry. From how she landed her first job, to the challenges she’s faced since, and the active role she plays in building a more inclusive and diverse industry, Georgina shared some great insights that I’m sure many of you will find valuable.

Check out the full interview below.

Just 20% of the global gaming workforce are female. Coming from a dramatic arts background with lots of different avenues you could have gone down, what attracted you to the gaming industry?

Growing up I loved playing games, but I just never thought of gaming as a career choice. It’s something that I don’t feel is very targeted at women, there’s not that connect where you think that the games you play, you can then go on and make.

I started out as a costume designer but soon realised I didn’t like freelancing. At that time, my partner was working as a games designer at King, so I used to go along to their events and I realised that it was a really cool place that I hadn’t realised existed!

At that point, I knew I wanted to work in a creative industry, I just hadn’t realised that gaming was the type of creative industry I could have access to. I tried to find a way into the industry and I happened to get talking to the executive producer of a games studio when picking up a TV from Gum tree, who said they were looking for an office manager and I thought, “oh I can do that, that’s exactly what I want to do!” So, they interviewed me and that was my first job.

In your role at Big Pixel Studios, have you used a lot of skills from your creative background?

Working in gaming, you must be adaptable and be able to work in a fast-paced environment. Things change quickly so you need to be able to stay ahead or you’ll get left behind.

Make quick decisions and roll with the punches – that’s something I’ve learnt since joining Big Pixel Studio. Also, learning from my mistakes and thinking fast on my feet to be able to get the best out of people as quickly as I can.

As a female in gaming, what has been the most significant challenge, if any, in your career?

The biggest challenge for me was going from working in fashion & retail, a predominantly female industry, to a gaming studio where I was the only female. It was a bit of culture shock.

I’ve had a really good experience of Big Pixel and  I haven’t experienced any discrimination due to my gender.

Sometimes it can be hard to find your people though, it can be harder naturally when people are socialising. When teams are playing games and socialising, we make sure that groups are as approachable and inclusive as possible.

You were one of GameIndustry.biz’s 100 most influential women in UK Games and MCV/Develop’s 30 under 30 winners, committed to building a more inclusive and diverse industry. How important is inclusivity to you?

At Big Pixel we just started having those tricky conversations. People want to go to work and have fun, but ultimately if you’re not trying to challenge people’s perceptions then you’re not really going to go anywhere.

I started a women’s only group in the studio to create a kind of safe space as I was noticing that a lot of people that were socialising outside of work hours where the same sorts of people and they weren’t attracting woman.

The women’s only group meet monthly, have a private slack channel and also do a lot of educating for the whole studio as well, like on international women’s day we did a whole series on men being allies and promoting an equal ratio of men to women because we’re not going to get anywhere without allies.

You’re clearly taking an active role in promoting gender diversity, but have you seen many endeavours from the industry itself or figures in it?

There’s a UK games industry slack channel where diversity is bought up a lot and that’s not just gender, that’s BAME too. I do feel like it gets championed, I also feel like there’s a line between championing it and then overshadowing the cause. It’s about making sure that you’re not silencing someone’s else voice while you’re trying to champion.

I really liked the Ukie census that they did, it was the first of its kind and bought the whole industry sort of to account.

If you would like to share your career journey in the gaming industry or thoughts on how to tackle gender diversity, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at a.turton@x4technology.co.uk

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