bianco studio

our predictions for the field over the next year

Author

Moose

category

channel audiences

our predictions for gaming organizations over the next year

  1. your biggest problem is finding good people. Especially if you plan on hiring creatives directly, to bring them in house. A lot of the really good ones are already settled in at firms that they love, that survived the pandemic effects on the firm, and they would like to limit the disruption they face that comes with a job change. Others decided to go out on their own and like it (I am an example of that) and they don't feel the tension of finding enough work. There is plenty of work.
  2. your next biggest problem is paying them what they want. Getting great candidates to answer a query is like trying to get a straight answer on Reddit, but paying them $75,000 right out of school — something unheard of 2 years ago — is starting to settle in. Experienced creatives are stil readily available; experienced software engineers are not.
  3. on the subject of pay, pay is starting to move geographic agnostic structure. In other words, all of the old salary surveys are wrong. Take Creative Directors as an example. Past surveys declared CD's were worth more because they live near and work for a firm in New York. Having said that, I do think that CD's are worth more when they work for a more prominent firm, which might be tied to a geographic location, but if principals are going to let them live wherever they want, they aren't going to adjust that persons salary based on a decision they have no input on. This only applies to firms that have a WFH or RW policy in place that allows it.
  4. there will be unintended consequences for gaming orgs that are spreading out. The orgs that have been long set up for WFH environments will be fine and are probably grinning at this point. Those sticking to their guns and philosophy around physical togetherness are being tested, both philosophically as well as their ability to attract talent in this all out talent war. Those who are embracing remote work as a result of the findings from the pandemic, are still learning how difficult the transition can be. Not in allowing people who usually work together to work apart, but in trying to build a community when someone has never worked together like that, with this specific team. Managing people in that environment is much different. We have a lot to learn here. For example: I don't think that people working remotely will get the same career opportunities that are present for people who work at HQ. Everything we’ve learned about this has been helpful, but unintended consequences from the folks who don’t know how to run WFH environments are still going to surface and will need careful attention.
  5. some orgs are going to get clever here and turn the tables. The gentleman and ladies that stick with their original plan of staying together are going to claim that it is a positioning advantage to work together, over remotely. They will cite productivity, creativity, collaboration and communication. They are probably right, but have no data to support it yet. No one has overtly done this, but you will start to see a lot of it.

so what do you do? how should you respond? here is what I would do if I were in your shoes:

  • prioritize projects before you agree to a permanent (and worsening) policy of paying what you can't afford, just so that you can flood the market with everything and everything you think your fans want. The supply side of the market is in charge, so act like it. Get focused and prioritize.
  • Think as seriously about marketing for people as seriously as you do about marketing your organization. The positioning for that effort is your culture, and the fans you get to work for. A great team member is harder to find than a great fan, and the impact on your life is greater, too.
  • You cannot maintain your own pay/net profitability and at the same time pay people more unless you start charging more. It’s hard to find high performing firms giving time away, no matter how much higher their hourly rate is. And it’s impossible to find ultra high performance firms that don’t couple their rate to time. You cannot paper this over like they did with the wall paper in your first rental—you must make more if you are going to pay more. (Unless you’re willing to make less.) That money you are saving from the former facility costs needs to be reserved to bring people back together at regular times every year.
  • But regardless of what you charge or where you focus, your enduring advantage is closely tied to how many of those great people want to work for you.

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