As the gaming industry continues its meteoric rise (experts predict that the global gaming market should reach $256bn by 2025), it stands to reason that studios, both big and small, are looking for ways to differentiate their brand.
One key way to do this is to invest intelligently in your workplace.
Think about it: a workplace does so much for your business. Aesthetics, functionality, performance – all key for a successful gaming studio workspace.
A great workplace helps with talent acquisition, drives investor interest and builds customer affinity.
“The supply of top talent isn’t keeping pace with demand, an imbalance that is set to worsen as gaming studios lose developers to big technology firms.” – Andre James of Bain & Company
It stands to reason, then, that in order to be competitive, attract the best talent and build the value of your studio, you need to invest in an aesthetic, highly functional and fully tailored workspace, designed with your people and any future talent in mind.
The future is now and the explosive industry growth is showing no signs of slowing down. Fail to adapt and you’ll quickly fall behind rival studios – you must not let your workplace slow you down.
To help you become a leader in the industry, here are Rhino’s 7 expert tips to help you level up your gaming industry workplace.
First and foremost – consider what your workspace is.
Yes, it’s a place for experimentation, productivity, imagination, growth and creativity, but it’s so much more than just this.
The best gaming studios in the world create different experiences for their varied audiences. Consider the:
Experience for players – Whether you’re sharing development logs on social or showing select groups of players around, your studio should be as striking as your games. From characters to colours, your building should appear exactly as players expect; this helps to complete your brand – it will make sense to players that your building looks that good.
Experience for employees – Not only do top talent want to work somewhere beautiful, but they also need areas for both focus and collaboration. Their experience should be varied, as no two days are the same in game development, as you well know.
Experience for investors – When you bring a potential investor/buyer into your studio, what do you want them to experience? Your workspace should meet their expectations and provide an incredible first impression. They need to see a thriving workforce, equipped with everything they need to nail their roles, and a relevant aesthetic that’s on-brand and stunning to look at.
A vanilla workplace isn’t going to do your kerb appeal any favours. Your workplace is the physical embodiment of your brand, it must look and feel the part!
Gaming workplaces, from our experience, are places of extremes.
From intense focus time to raucous playtests, loud collaborative sessions to quiet deliberation and relaxation; your workspace needs to accommodate all types of working.
Couple this with the rapid development of VR, and it’s clear why having a flexible workspace is of the utmost importance. If you want to be at the cutting edge of VR development, then your workspace needs to have VR built into its DNA.
Some options include:
Mobile furniture that can be easily repositioned to suit your employees’ needs; agile studios need to be able to adapt to employee needs in the moment
Flexible desking areas that can be personalised to individual tastes (quiet, low light is perfect for this)
Comfortable meeting spaces (non-traditional sofas work great here, or go a little wild and grab some beanbags!)
Playtesting zones (for VR, this requires a significant amount of space to accommodate player and observers)
Multiplayer zones (areas where multiple employees can sit and enjoy a game or two to blow off steam, or to test a new in-development feature)
Light rich areas for employees who prefer to work soaked in daylight
If you don’t provide this level of flexibility to your people, another studio will. Don’t lose your talent to a better workplace – invest and demonstrate just how effective an incredible gaming workplace can be.
Individuals who are neurodivergent, encompassing conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyslexia and Tourette’s syndrome possess remarkable qualities that can significantly enrich your culture and output as a gaming studio. They bring diverse perspectives and valuable skills to your business.
It’s essential that you consider this when designing your new workplace. Many organisations fail to do so, which, in turn, makes working in your building less appealing to neurodivergent people.
Failing to consider the above can dramatically reduce the pool of top talent that will be willing to work with you.
As a result, it’s important to have spaces with varied light & noise levels. You should also reduce long-distance views (potential sight distractions), and build decompression zones, focus spaces, and social areas for rapport building.
Of course, every neurodivergent person has their own unique needs that should be catered for. We highly recommend conducting anonymous surveys, allowing your existing workforce the opportunity to safely voice their needs and how the workspace could better suit them.
People play video games to connect with others. Matt Schmidt, CEO of Alpha Esports Tech Inc considers the gaming industry to be “The new social media”, as millions of people across the world choose to connect with others via gaming over traditional social media platforms.
Your business can and should take advantage of this, and nailing your aesthetic is one of the most important steps you must take before doing so.
Players connect with the characters in your games. They can also grow familiar with your people through social events (in-game or otherwise), livestreams and more. Having an on-brand space to film helps bring your business to life.
You want to think about:
How are you going to tell the story of your studio?
What are your backgrounds, and how does the aesthetic convery this?
If you’re constantly using social media, what do you want your audience to see?
Conversely, is there anything you don’t want your audience to see?
Choose on-brand colours, feature murals or statues of your most prominent characters and create a little magic in your workspace. This can help connect players, employees and investors with your games, as you’re now manifesting them in the real world, even if it’s just in a small area of your greater workspace.
Comfort is king – gamers and game devs really know their chairs!
Many of your employees will have created a comfortable, ergonomic home studio during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you can’t create a similarly (or more) comfortable space for them to work, they’re simply not going to enjoy coming into the office.
Game development requires long periods of sustained focus. This focus is broken when uncomfortable. The more comfortable your people are, the more productive they’ll be. Ergonomics plays a significant role in productivity, as happier, healthier and more comfortable employees have higher energy levels and significantly better focus, leading naturally to enhanced productivity.
If you’re looking to grow, you need to ensure that your workplace accommodates this growth.
Perhaps you’ll acquire another, smaller studio in the near future – do you have the space required to house an expanding team?
Your design should carefully consider how your space will comfortably accommodate more people. You should consider noise and light levels, physical constraints and size of workstations – how are you going to keep existing employees comfortable while finding adequate space for new people?
A customisable space is incredibly important in the gaming industry.
As mentioned, your workplace needs to suit a wide variety of working styles. Individuals will need to be able to jump between extreme focus and raucous group work. When in the former, your employees should be able to adjust their space, including:
Localised lighting, customisable to suit
A comfortable, ergonomic chair
Monitors on rotor arms (especially important if using non-assigned desking)
Spaces at the desk for storage (especially useful for hiding sensitive IP material during a livestream!)
Hidden cables (both for aesthetics and safety)
Lockers for individual storage
The more comfortable being in work is, the harder you make the choice to work from home.
As the gaming growth surge continues, it’s essential that you consider what the next few years look like for your studio – are you going to lead the race to thrive, or are you going to become yet another ‘could have been’?
The industry is moving faster than most. It’s time to seize the opportunity to build an incredible workplace that your employees and potential investors will love.
Better optics, better productivity, better wellbeing. What’s not to like?
Get in touch with our workplace consultants today to discuss your upcoming project. We rely on data and research over guesswork. We’ll get to know your business, people and geography, ensuring that the workplace we build delivers tangible results and boosts employee performance.
It’s time to level up your workplace.
If you have a question, if you are looking for some bespoke advice, get in touch with our experts today, we’d love to hear about your project.
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