Speaker Spotlight: Dirtybit's Anette Staloy on company culture and working conditions

Pocket Gamer Connects London 2019 takes place on January 21st to 22nd

Speaker Spotlight: Dirtybit's Anette Staloy on company culture and working conditions

Pocket Gamer Connects London 2019 will take place on January 21st to 22nd. To give you a taste of what to expect, we'll regularly be publishing interviews with the speakers at the show.

For more details on PGC London and to book a ticket, head to the website here.

In today's Speaker Spotlight we're talking to Dirtybit VP of business and marketing Anette Staloy, who will be taking part in our “How To Make Great Games Without Crunch / Mental Health Problems In The Games Industry” panel. 

Staloy played a crucial role in growing the studio from eight employees when she joined in 2015 to a team of 18 today. She is also actively involved in initiatives to make the Norwegian game industry grow.

Before joining Dirtybit and the games industry, her experience spans working with both larger corporations and smaller companies and startups, in roles ranging from project management, recruiting, sales, marketing and business development.

Staloy also acts as a board member in the ODA network, a non-profit network that facilitates events, networking and mentoring with the overall goal to increase gender diversity in tech.

PocketGamer.Biz: Could you tell us a bit about the company? 

Anette Staloy: Dirtybit was founded in 2011, at a time when most multiplayer games on the market for mobile were turn-based.

The founders had fond memories of playing social and competitive games like Mario Kart in their childhood and wanted to make a game for mobile that would let people create memorable moments together.

They released the real-time multiplayer game “Fun Run” in 2012. The game started spreading organically, first at schools in the US, then all over the world, and it reached the top position in the US app store, overall category.

Today our three titles in the Fun Run series, all F2P, have more than 120 million downloads worldwide. Our team consists of 18 employees, all of us based on the west coast of Norway, in Bergen and we both develop and publish our titles.

What does your role entail?

Working in a small company like ours, my role covers several areas, both in management, live-ops, biz dev and marketing.

In the management team, I get to work on strategy and planning, recruitment, employer brand and company culture.

I handle our partnerships and business relations, work with sponsorships, and I represent the company at events and in media. 

I’m also responsible for our ad operations, and I follow up our live-ops teams.

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

I have been playing games since I was five or six when I got hold of an old hand me down Commodore 16 and the game Zodiac.

Later, I spent all my savings on the NES, and my best friend and I used to get up in the middle of the night to play Mario Bros before school. I have been playing games ever since - but I never imagined that I would work with games.

I wasn’t looking for a new job either, when I discovered the job posting from Dirtybit, randomly scrolling through my LinkedIn newsfeed.

But when I saw that there was a game studio in my hometown looking for someone to fill an exciting role, and reading about the incredible success story of the team at Dirtybit, I knew that I had found my dream job - and industry.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?

Start building your network, attend games jams and industry events. Reach out to people and ask for advice and introductions. 

If you are building a new team, make sure you bring in people that can cover all aspects of game dev, including management and business development. 

As a recruiter, my advice if you are applying for a job, is to make sure your CV, portfolio and application letter all are polished, have the necessary info, and make it clear that you really want the job!

What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?

The global games industry kept on growing with impressive numbers in 2018. 

The market is highly competitive, with its challenges to secure visibility in the stores, acquire the right users and so on. 

There has been some quite interesting (and surprising) mergers and acquisitions, and in general, I feel that everyone has been talking about hypercasual, programmatic header bidding, streaming, esports, GDPR, loot boxes and Fortnite.

What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?

I think we’ll see more mergers and acquisitions, and it will be interesting to see new stores going live. The discussions about working conditions will continue, and the industry will keep pushing for changes. 

I’m grateful for being part of this industry, and I’m confident that there’s a lot of surprises waiting to happen in 2019.

How has the games industry changed since you first started?

More awareness and discussions about diversity, about company culture and working conditions. 

In Norway, where the games industry still is small in comparison with the other Nordic countries, we have the last couple of years seen a very positive trend where the industry is gaining more interest and recognition from governments, press and other industries.

Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?

At PGC events one of the highlights is the time in between the meetings and talks to grab a coffee and chat with industry friends. 

This time I am also very excited to take part in a panel to discuss a crucial topic, and I look forward to meeting the other panellists. 

I hope that by discussing and sharing our experiences in the panel, we can spark further discussions, so we can all learn from, and challenge, each other.