KEISHA HOWARD

FOUNDER, SUGAR GAMERS

" WHEN YOU’RE MET WITH A DIFFERING OR CHALLENGING PERCEPTION, IT PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN."

- KEISHA HOWARD, FOUNDER, SUGAR GAMERS

Pursuing your dreams
The gaming industry faces a stumbling block. Playing (and making) games isn’t the only goal of the industry. The gaming industry is Big Business with entrenched systems, processes, and structures. Today’s gaming space inspires and connects people in more ways than ever before and has the power to promote even greater levels of diversity and inclusivity. The bridge to this is innovation. An environment of innovation. The gaming industry lacks that; it needs to re-align itself.

This is undoubtedly one of the most competitive job markets and industries in the world. To get ahead means to innovate. Pursuing your dreams as an entrepreneur muscling into the gaming industry working for a large company means compromising your value system.

Independent thinking and autonomous decision-making are the foundations of innovation. In a traditional corporate environment (such as the large game developers and publishers), it simply isn’t possible to create unorthodox solutions. As a programmer or otherwise, you’re hired to fulfill a role, to be a cog in a machine. Deviating from that takes away from the company’s resources and efficiencies; it destroys its structure. What this does for the individual is it inhibits innovation and change to create a state of cognitive dissonance. For innovation to take place in the gaming industry, companies need to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurs buck the status quo.

The Power of Risk
Advancing the gaming industry requires risk and innovation. When more people question the status quo the system will adapt and change. Entrepreneurs are simply less risk-averse. Harnessing this spirit and unbridling creativity will lead to innovation. This won’t only make better games and technologies, but it will lead to greater inclusivity and create
greater sustainability within the industry.

Community Support
The gaming industry – and eSports in particular – needs to adopt a different approach to generate innovation. Therein lies the need for risk. The business of games is sales numbers. Gamers connect with emotions in a shared global experience and create a community. The gaming industry needs to foster its community. It means risking its structured position. To be vulnerable is human; it forms the building blocks of community.

These voices and messages from authoritative positions must be authentic. These have the power to unite, drive change, shape and influence communities. The fundamentals of any relationship are give and take: listening and learning; brainstorming and sharing.
Supporting the community will pay dividends when they do the same for you, be it your next podcast, live streaming session, game or launch.

Thought Diversity
Few people will share the exact perspective and opinion you do. When you’re met with a differing or challenging perception, it provides an opportunity to learn. Check yourself. Step back to discern from where those emotions stem, how people make their emotional connections. You’ll grow from the power of being supported by the people who disagree/ differ with you.

Subject Matter Expertise Versus Talent
One of the fundamental aspects of breeding innovation is prioritizing subject matter expertise over talent. It is, basically put, the difference between being a doctor and playing one on TV. What this means for the gaming industry is that experts in each realm of the gaming community possess more authority on a subject than a person with talent. It broadens the opportunities for innovation and learning. Gaming is fun, fluid, and subjective. Removing obstacles only enhances the experience and rewards all in the community.

SUGAR GAMERS

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