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Career Advice

The Finance Corner of the BVG Equation

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Our series of Viking Profiles aims to shed some light on the some of the lesser-known roles in the gaming industry. Today we’re talking with Viking Lydia to learn more about what it’s like to be a Senior Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis at Big Viking Games.

Q: What is your role at Big Viking Games, and how long have you been with the company?

Lydia: I have worked at Big Viking Games (BVG) for almost 2 years in the role of Senior Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A).

Q: What does a Senior Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis do at a games company?

Lydia: My role has multiple components. I lead the annual budgeting process, the monthly forecasting process, and I am responsible for monthly and weekly management reporting and analysis. In addition, I am the finance lead to support the business departments and it is my focus to gather and analyze data which would provide important insights to the company. These insights then give us a picture of our current and future financial health as well as to continuously maintain the budget and forecasting models. I also support the accounting month-end close process and work on any specially requested projects or ad-hoc analysis.

“The better and more accurately we can forecast, the more robust we will become as a business.”

 

Q: What does an average day look like for you?

Lydia: My days vary. During month end there are specific activities towards generating reports, adding commentary, and preparing them to distribute to stakeholders. After Accounting closes the books, I am responsible for summarizing the financial position for the last month, the current quarter, and the year to date.

Other times when managers or groups need information, I gather the financials of their special request or I may do a slide deck with analysis to support their project. I’m hoping in the future, I’ll be able to spend more time doing scenario modelling which means that instead of looking only at the current picture of one business case, we consider some sensitivities and see how that affects a financial model. This way, if one or two variables change, we will foresee how our broader financial picture will change as well. The advantage is that each business will understand how they’re contributing to the company as a whole, and BVG will know which mix of variables will optimize financial performance. The better and more accurately we can forecast, the more robust we will become as a business.

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Life as a Product Marketing Manager at Big Viking Games

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Our series of Viking Profiles aims to shed some light on the some of the lesser-known roles in the gaming industry. Today we’re talking with Viking James to learn more about what it’s like to be a Product Marketing Manager at Big Viking Games.

What is your role at Big Viking Games, and how long have you been with the company?

James: I’ve been with Big Viking Games for over two years as a Product Marketing Manager for two of our titles YoWorld and Fish World.

What does a Product Marketing Manager do at a games company?

James: I work with the rest of the team to promote new features, events, and content that gets released into the game. We also work on the monetization aspects of our games, how to get new and lapsed players playing, and we analyze the team’s decisions to see what worked and what could be improved next time. It’s not all business though. We also do loads of fun things like put together email newsletters for our players, make trailers for exciting new features, produce fun social media content on Facebook, and conduct player feedback surveys which help us determine what our players like as well as what they want to see next.

What does an average day look like for you as a Product Marketing Manager?

James: The first thing I do is look at revenues from the previous day. I look at what went well and what could be improved. The rest of my day is dedicated to a variety of things such as planning for future releases and marketing campaigns, implementing these plans, or doing analysis on past marketing efforts.

“As soon as we started adding incentives like free items for returning, the click-through rates on the ads doubled.”

How did you become a Product Marketing Manager?

James: I went to university for business specializing in marketing. After completing the program, I started out my career as a Product Marketing Analyst at another games company called Magmic. There, I worked on mobile games like New York Times Crossword, Rubik’s Cube, Scattergories, and Apples to Apples. After a year or so I owned the marketing strategy for all of Magmic’s Mattel branded mobile games as their Product Marketing Manager.

How has your career progressed at Big Viking Games?

James: I started at Big Viking Games as a (lonely) team of one. Over time and as responsibilities increased, I was able to grow the team and we have since added six fantastic members across the Marketing and Content Marketing Teams.

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What it Means to be a Producer in Video Games

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Our series of Viking Profiles aims to shed some light on the some of the lesser-known roles in the gaming industry. Today we’re talking with Viking Robyn to learn more about the process behind game production and what, exactly, is produced by a Producer.

What does a Producer do

What is your role at Big Viking Games, and how long have you been with the company?

Robyn: I was hired to be an Associate Producer (on both YoWorld Mobile and Tiny Tappers for Kongregate), and when one of those games wrapped I was transferred to the other full time. After shipping both, I was promoted to Producer.

What does a Producer do at a game company?

Robyn: One the favourite jokes of my developer friends is “a Producer doesn’t actually produce anything!”, which is hilarious to devs, but less funny to Producers. Producers are responsible for making the hard decisions to keep everything on track and make sure a game ships.

The role varies from company to company. I’ve had it be a catch all, where I, as the Producer, did everything except code or draw, including marketing material, community outreach, and social media. I have even been responsible for video editing!

Thankfully at BVG it is a very defined role: managing the team and working with the Product Manager to deliver a game. The Product Manager handles the creative decisions of what goes into the game, and the Producer decides how we execute on that vision, which involves a lot of planning and scheduling of sprints.

So, though a Producer might not produce anything, they do make sure that everyone else is producing on schedule!

“Producers are responsible for making the hard decisions to keep everything on track and make sure a game ships.”

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Want to work in Canada? We want to help!

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Move to Canada work at Big Viking Games

The Big Viking HR team has been receiving a lot of questions from talented professionals located outside of Canada who are interested in joining the horde. Big Viking Games is a proudly Canadian-based company, and a big part of that identity is being welcoming to talent from all over the world. In the hope of answering any questions you might have about immigrating, or what it’s like to live and work in Canada, we’ve put together the following site: Work in Canada

With more than a dozen positions currently open, and plans to hire for many more, we’re eager to hear from you!

The Life of a Game Designer

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There is a fierce demand for game designers in the gaming industry, but most people are unsure of what, exactly, a game design job entails. To help us better understand this essential role, we sat down with our very talented game designer, Stojan. In this Viking Profile, Stojan shares how he got into game design, what makes a well-designed game, and how aspiring game designers can break into the field.

Game Designer at Big Viking Games Stojan

Q: What is your role at Big Viking Games, and how long have you been with the company?

Stojan: I was hired by BVG as a game designer in February of 2013, so I’ve been with the company for nearly four years now.

“Game Designer” can tend to be a misunderstood role. What does a game designer do?

Stojan: The short answer? A game designer is somebody that creates an experience that succeeds in maintaining the interest of a player for as long as possible, using various game design conventions.

The longer answer is that a Game Designer is the one who is responsible for a game’s core loop and builds out detailed specifications for features in the game. Depending on the type of game, this specification could include an overview of what the effect of certain features will be (short and long term), the proper math, the proper economy balance and impact, and the necessary high-level user experience flows.

The designer also has to verify any features before they are rolled out by ensuring that any new features are consistent with the game’s existing design. And, of course, a successful game designer needs to stay on top of the current trends in game design, particularly Free to Play trends. Read More