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The Professional History of Simon Davis
Transcript of The Professional History of Simon Davis
Senior Design Manager/Creative Producer with 10 years' experience and over 50 titles shipped on console, PC and mobile platforms.
Featured in Develop Magazine's 2012 "30 under 30" list for my work as Producer and Monetisation Lead for DarkOrbit (then Bigpoint's biggest grossing title).
I have also been a speaker on User Experience at GDC Europe and regularly guest lecture at Singapore Polytechnic.
Achievement - Develop: "30 Under 30"
Then I grew up (well... sort of)
2004 - 2007
Quality Assurance Lead
Delivery Lead - Xbox and Nike
The University of Sussex
My first "real job"... Videogame tester!
Oversaw testing on over 40 games across all major platforms (including mobile).
Clients included: EA, Sony, Warner Brothers, SEGA, Capcom and Nokia.
BA (Hons) in Professional Musicianship
Featured in Develop Magazine's 2012 "30 Under 30" list for young talent in the games industry.
Sadly, I am no longer young enough to qualify...
The Professional History of
Design, Monetisation, Product Ownership, Strategy, UX, Multi-Platform Development
First Class Degree
My first time leading a development team.
At 23, I was now responsible for the direction of multiple products, as well as managing the day-to-day work of a team of developers some of which had 10 years' more experience than me.
The Academy of Contemporary Music
National Diploma in Contemporary Music Performance
Determined to fulfil my destiny as a rockstar (I even had the hair and the makeup for it!), I spent a year at the Academy of Contemporary Music.
At Babel, I worked on 48 different games across every platform you've ever heard of and some you haven't (unless you bought a Gizmondo...) These ranged from Care Bears: Care Quest to Call of Duty 3.
Despite the long hours, living on takeaways and poor pay, I persevered and got myself noticed. I became the head of multiple testing teams and this experience led to me becoming a Producer.
Continuing along my path to inevitable music fame and glory (in between working full-time hours at Babel), I spent three years studying at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (University of Sussex).
Within a few months of joining, Laughing Jackal took the decision to relocate their office from the outskirts of London to the charmingly named town of Braintree (85 KM away). Faced with 3+ hours of daily commuting, I reluctantly left for a new opportunity.
Led internal and external development on a number of games, as well as managing relationships with brand owners (Ford and Land Rover).
As the only member of staff who could hold a guitar the right way round, I was also made product lead for Empire's sideline in music software.
I was originally hired to help the Xbox team and provide games industry insight within a AAA digital agency.
As Nike's interest in apps and gaming grew, I spent more time immersing myself in the world of fitness and working with the Nike teams on a number of projects.
Working at Empire wasn't without its difficulties.
Due to Empire's cash flow challenges, I had to learn how to work with development teams who were in a state of mutiny because they hadn't been paid, creatively allocate resources, and generally do a lot with very little.
Recruited off the back of my work at AKQA, I moved to Germany to head up Design, Monetisation and Development on an online "Free-to-Play" title,
During this period, the team turned DarkOrbit into Bigpoint's biggest grossing title with over 60 million registered users and strong revenues.
Nike Kinect Training
(Nike and Xbox collaboration)
Nike Football "Master your game"
My time at AKQA was an eye-opening experience. I got my first taste of agency life, budget ownership and having to deliver consistently high quality work against demanding timelines.
AKQA's mantra is "OK ≠ OK". That attitude and attention to detail has stayed with me since.
In November 2011 the DarkOrbit team sparked outrage (and some grudging admiration) by releasing a virtual item which could be bought for €1,000.
We introduced these as an experiment and ended up selling over 2,000 "drones" in the first four days on sale.
2012 - 2013
Global Technical Operations Manager
Brought in to design, implement and oversee processes that would enable the studio to operate a “games as a service” model for Ghost Recon Online/Ghost Recon Phantoms (this was new to Ubisoft at that time).
I oversaw worldwide live Operations teams from our base in Singapore during the period leading up to the Open Beta launch and the year after.
Achievement - Lectured at GDC Europe
Chosen to give one of the main lectures at GDC Europe 2012.
My talk was about two subjects close to my heart: Music and UX. I explored how we can apply principles from music composition to UX design.
Coming to terms with the "unique challenges" we faced getting Ghost Recon live.
Design and Monetization Manager
I was responsible for directing the creative output, monetisation, content strategy, and feature delivery for Ghost Recon Phantoms.
This included game systems and monetsation design, UX, game environments, audio, and ensuring the content program delivered against business and consumer needs.
2013 - Present
From its launch in April 2014 and throughout my tenure, Ghost Recon Phantoms was consistently among the top 3-5 most played "Free-to-Play" games on Steam.
We also received positive coverage from major gaming websites such as IGN, Gamespot and Polygon, as well as appearing in a feature in Singapore's TODAY newspaper.
Producer - Nonstop Games (a King Studio)
Today, I am responsible for managing development, launch, and (eventually) growth for a very exciting upcoming game.
I own the Product Vision (from initial conception to launch and beyond), and lead a team of developers, artists. and designers working on the next market-leading F2P game.
I also mentor Designers and other Producers within the studio.