There is so much more to the games that entertain and absorb players around the world than people think. That multiplicity makes it a diverse, exciting, and wonderfully informal industry in which to host infrastructure.
I am a new business sales executive, meaning I spend my time getting to know new businesses, new customers, new games, and new service providers. Thankfully, because the world of gaming is always looking at the next new thing, there is plenty to keep me occupied.
But, unlike other companies, our role doesn’t stop there. We are also account managers. This hybrid role ensures that the conversations and connections I have with new customers right at the beginning of the relationship remain relevant throughout the lifetime of their partnership with us.
From day one meeting a customer, they know that the relationship they are building is with the person who will be their day-to-day contact and support moving forward. This is very different to most sales roles where the sales executive makes the contact and once signed on the dotted line the customer is passed on to an account manager.
After repeatedly snoozing the alarm, the first thing I do every morning is open Slack and the news channels to see what’s new in the world of gaming. Then I jump in the shower - there is a running joke in the family about the length of my morning showers. I was living with my fiancé’s parents for a time and her dad is adamant that his water bill has halved since we moved out.
After locating my car keys, which seem to go missing every single day, I jump in the car to work. With the aid of a large cup of coffee my brain kicks into gear and I’m raring to go by about 9.30am.
I look after a big pool of clients, so I tend to start my day with my account manager hat on, catching up on all reactive outstanding tasks that have come through from US customers overnight. This could be anything from answering questions about invoices through to fulfilling server orders for upcoming projects.
Then it's on with my new business hat, proactively speaking to new clients through whatever channel suits them - LinkedIn, Twitter, Discord, WhatsApp, Slack, Telegram, Signal, Skype, email, Facebook, Google Hangouts, Teams, Zoom - you name it, we use it. As a technology company, we embrace all technology and want to be as flexible as possible for our customers.
As a team, we attend at least one event a month, so we dedicate time each day to preparing for these events. That includes setting up meetings with new and existing contacts and working with our designers on our exhibition stands to best showcase what we’re all about.
I also work closely with Charlie, Gaming Sales Executive and Gaming SDR, Gavin on ensuring that we’re delivering on our strategy, that clients are happy and that as my team members, they have all the tools they need to succeed in their jobs and in this industry.
Lunchtimes are usually spent playing pool. I’m hugely competitive - both in gaming and sports in general - and thankfully we have a lot of good pool players in the office. I also love a game of FIFA to let off some steam and am confident enough to say that I will beat anyone in the office.
My earliest memories are of sitting down with my dad to play GoldenEye 007 on Nintendo 64. Playing against each other on split-screen, he would constantly tell me off for looking at his screen to find out where he was and track him down. This was my first experience of first-person shooter games and it’s a passion that has only grown over time. From 007 I graduated to Counter Strike: Condition Zero - my first online multi-player experience and I haven’t looked back since. My latest love is Call of Duty.
I have found a home for my passion for video games, and my interest and qualifications in business within the game hosting world.
There is so much that goes into creating just one game. Of course, you have the developers who create the game and the publishers who finance, market and distribute the game. But there are also the multiple different service providers that feed into and enable the player experience. Whether that’s in-game voice communication, matchmaking services, music composers or artists - they are all part of the ecosystem that supports the incredible, immersive worlds that they come together to create. And we get to work with them. Understanding the different challenges that each of them face and providing infrastructure that supports all aspects of game development and delivery.
The silicon chip shortage, which has been going on since 2020, is an ongoing issue around the world. Because of the nature of the gaming business, where player bases can be in the millions, gaming companies can need hundreds if not thousands of servers to support just one game and to allow players to connect to each other.
The shortage is something we have to be mindful of. We have been doing a lot of proactive work to ensure that we - and consequently our customers - are as unaffected by the shortage as possible.
Gaming is also a very seasonal business and therefore it requires its hosting partners to be flexible enough to react to those fluctuations in infrastructure needs. More traditional hosting companies struggled to scale for customers’ player bases, so a lot of work goes into ensuring we always have the resource available for our customers, when they need it.
Nothing really beats the feeling of seeing a new game launching on our infrastructure and becoming a success. It’s what anyone who works in gaming lives for. We are lucky enough to help launch over 50 games a year, so we get to witness and be part of that success time and time again.
Coming in a close second though has to be a trip to Paris back in 2019. I was strolling along the River Seine in Paris with a colleague and a contact at now long-term customer Gameye. Game Connection was taking place at the time, and we stumbled across one of its boat parties. Managing to sneak on board, we spent the evening meeting others in the industry, with the Eiffel Tower as our backdrop as we sailed up and down the river. It was very early on in our contact with Gameye and the shared moment was a sign of good things to come in our relationship.
Hosting infrastructure for a game is more than just a service. It’s a vital part of the game and the gaming experience. We fall into that category of something that goes unnoticed until it goes wrong (which, thankfully, it very rarely does). While our services may operate under the radar, I know how important it is and that gives me a real sense of fulfilment.
I also love that the industry celebrates different personas and personalities, geographies, backgrounds, and cultures. There isn’t one type of person who works in gaming and that makes it a very diverse and interesting place to work.
The ability to travel thanks to the number of events that we go to is also a big part of why I enjoy my job. I have visited incredible places and had unforgettable experiences. In March this year I got to travel to San Francisco for GDC then to Malmo, Sweden in May for Nordic Game.
We also attended Gamescom in Germany last month, which was a fantastic event. We had a Pac-Man arcade machine on our stand, with a bespoke prize up for grabs for the winner with the highest score. Baptiste Gueguen from Zumidian blew the competition out of the water and is now the proud owner of his prize - an Arctis Nova 7P wireless gaming headset – nice one Baptiste!
I also attended Reboot Develop Blue - a very informal, friendly event - last month to soak up the last of the sunshine and warmth in Dubrovnik, Croatia. And then rounding out the year with Game Connection in Paris and hopefully the opportunity to revisit the Eiffel Tower.
Everyone in the gaming industry is caring and relaxed. If you’ve got a weird and wacky trait about you, it’s celebrated. So have fun - the less formal you are the more likely you are to connect with people and build friendships. Ultimately, it’s all about what’s best for the game and its players.
When I get home, I settle down with Call of Duty, streaming live through my Twitch channel. I recently got paid for the first time as a content creator on Twitch so I guess I can now class myself as a Call of Duty pro now, right? Perhaps I shouldn’t give up the day job too soon.
If I’m not gaming, I’m on the golf course or watching a box set. We’ve just finished Ozark and Breaking Bad is a firm favorite but for ultimate comfort viewing the US Office never fails. I’ll happily entertain a conversation with anyone about it.
Jarrod Palmer is our gaming industry specialist. He knows the issues our customers face and how best
to help them. He's also a great Warzone player and is the UK office FIFA champion.