Sr. Games Producer
Sony Pictures Television
We were fortunate to visit with Kristin Rozum, Sr. Games Producer, Sony Pictures Television (Movie Studio Division) while she was attending the GDC 2008 (Game Developers Conference) a big game industry conference held in San Francisco.
Kristin grew up in Richmond, Virginia and, during her teenage years, spent the summers in North Carolina’s outer banks.
She attended James Madison University (JMU), VA., majoring in English. Her education did not prepare her to enter the gaming field but rather as a child and college student, Kristin enjoyed playing games. At her previous employer, Atom Entertainment, a distributor of short films, videos and casual games, she was a website producer and was exposed to testing games. This experience led her to video games, which is ” …the fastest growing sector of entertainment, with sales in the US rising 34% last year to $8.64 billion, according to NPD Group Inc.”1
Kristin produces video games for mobile phones. Because she works for Sony, the games she produces tend to be licensed properties of Sony Entertainment. For example, if there is a James Bond movie coming out, Sony might create a James Bond video game. Her job involves coming up with a game treatment or concept for a game that will sell. After determining the demographics for the product, she has to sell the project to management. Once she gets a green light from management, Kristin shops around and hires a developer, musician(s) and artists (graphic and/or animation) to work within the projects budget. She then manages the project until it is completed and tests the games. Kristin says that these projects are usually completed within 6 months. She works on several projects at a time. For instance, she is working on two projects now, both games based on the TV shows “Rock & Roll JEOPARDY®” and “Wheel of Fortune® Road Trip”. Kristin’s next project will be working on a game called “Angels and Demons” based on Dan Brown’s book which Sony is turning into a movie next year.
The biggest work related challenge is being a female in the video game industry, which is a male dominated industry. For example, if a male-oriented property such as “God of War” is being considered, it is likely to go to a man. If a Wedding themed game is desired, it would likely go to her. If she had a choice, she would prefer doing a property like “God of War” rather than a wedding game. The second issue she faces is the idea that games are historically a “male” pastime, even though there are more women purchasing the games. Therefore, there are always more male-oriented projects coming down the pipeline.
Kristin would love to make a mobile game that’s a MMO (massive multiplayer online) game set in Jane Austen’s England during the Napoleonic wars. She gets a sense of accomplishment knowing that she is providing entertainment and/or fun for the end user. She says the key to success in her field is staying current, In other words, knowing pop culture, movies, and what entertainment products are being consumed by the public. Plus understanding the balance of creative and sales, and having technical knowledge can also be very helpful.
New developments in this field are the numbers of people playing the online games and social networking, which is community building on mobile phones, computers and consoles. In addition there are two technologies that will affect game development: Nintendo’s Wii motion detection technology and the iPhone. It is not known to what extent the iPhone will have on the industry yet, but they are changing the nature of mobile phones into more high end and powerful PDA’s. In addition they are not focusing on games as much as other aspects of mobile entertainment, such as video.
What are casual games?
“Casual games typically involve very simple rules or play techniques, a lower degree of strategy, no long-term time commitment or special skills to play…” wikipedia Casual games also include things like adventure, word, trivia, casino, puzzle and arcade games, etc.