Being a Product Manager in the Games Industry

We’ll learn how to get a Product Management job in the gaming industry, what the unique challenges are that gaming brings to Product Management and tips on how to effectively manage the business and the game studio in harmony:

Meet Tony Pagliocco

Tony Pagliocco has 17 years of experience in multiple areas of technical product management, digital media, web development, software engineering, and organizational leadership. He has successfully led teams to improve engineering processes, delivered quality digital products, managed a global product roadmap and developed a technical organizational strategy.

He spent almost 6 years as a Senior Digital Product Manager at Wizards of the Coast – the publisher of Magic: The Gathering® Trading Card Game and Dungeons & Dragons® Roleplaying Games.

tony Pagliocco

Digital Gaming + Product Management = ?

Being a Product Manager and a gamer can be a great marriage of talents. As a PM, when you have to get someone to sign off on a new feature, you can map it out in your head like a chess game. PMs often have to play games to influence people and get what they need for the success of their products.

Gaming has evolved. Now, we can play anywhere. This means that the gaming industry is huge ($900 million annual revenue). Up 38% from the previous year, this presents a very valuable opportunity for Product People. No one can claim that you’re not going to make money from gaming anymore!

How do you get your foot in the door? 

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The door is opening but first…the interview 

  • Talk about your achievements, not your high score 
  • Remember the basics
    • Problem – Action – Result
  • Let your knowledge show, not your passion
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Your foot is in the door, now what? 

  • Your new obsession is the customer now
  • You have now joined the dark side
  • Network, learn the lay of the land
  • You are a level 1 newbie with a ton of hit points 
    • Newbie credits 
    • Network 
    • Quick wins 
    • Visualize your future
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Unique challenges in gaming 

  • Your business partners may not know your world
  • Your developers may not know your world 
  • Not everyone is going to be a fan
  • You have a job – you have a mission – stay in your lane 
  • Are you a technology company or a gaming company learning technology?
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Being the peacekeeper 

  • Assume you are negotiating peace between two countries
  • Always embody the values of respect, openness, and commitment
  • Business cares about $ – development cares about experience/quality
  • Learn to negotiate, mediate, and build compromise
  • Get all voices to the table early, don’t just let one team drive scope 
  • If you’re using a process (scrum,etc.) – STICK TO IT – PUSH BACK
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Realities of the gaming industry 

  • Some companies are more fragile than others – decisions matter
  • Gaming is fun, but remember, you have a product to deliver
  • Avoid getting jaded and taking criticism personally. Reflect within
  • Customer, customer, customer!
  • Keep on top of trends – they change faster than you think
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Did you enjoy this talk? You’ll find plenty more like it on our YouTube channel!

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