The games industry plays host to an excellent cast of colourful and diverse individuals, from artists and coders to narrative designers and studio heads.
The skills to pull off these roles, however, are complex and differing. With each position requiring mastery in its field.
As such, seeing a game come together is a beautiful thing akin to a puzzle as an overall picture becomes whole. Of course, seeing that puzzle come together also takes a steady and guiding hand from senior members of companies.
To highlight some of the brilliant work that goes on behind the screen, and help others who may be keen to dive in, PocketGamer.biz has decided to reach out to the individuals who make up the games industry with our Jobs in Games series.
This time we spoke with Gameloft global special ops manager Hugues Ossart.
PocketGamer.Biz: Can you tell us about your current role and what it entails?
Hugues Ossart: My name is Hugues Ossart and I’m the global special ops manager at Gameloft, which translates to being in charge of innovative partnerships. I focus on developing our esports, exclusive events, new challenges, contests and even stories.
My job requires understanding our community at an expert level. I listen to what players think of their favourite game and work hard identifying the right partners at the right moment to create new and exclusive experiences.
How did you first get into games and how did you progress into the role?
I’ve been into games for nearly all my life. I can clearly remember already being a big fan of games at five years old, and for someone my age, that’s a really long time. I’ve always played games on every platform I could, testing out the differences from one console or computer - or now mobile device - to the next.
Esports are now a key part of our marketing strategy and our Asphalt and Modern Combat games regularly host events with the esports league, with no signs of slowing down in sight.Hugues Ossart
My professional experience with games started when I joined Gameloft 12 years ago. I was a marketing assistant for the French market and worked on campaigns for the online shop. All this was before smartphones, so the market and games were completely different from what it is now.
I’ve held a variety of roles for a lot of different projects but over the years I became really interested in the power of gaming as a media platform for brands and players alike. That led to me joining the global marketing team as the special ops manager, where I could really focus on that power and the intersection of players and brands.
Esports quickly rose as a major marketing priority as players and partners around the world started to see the potential behind competitive gaming. In 2018, we actually hosted the most mobile esports events for brands than any other company in the industry.
Esports is now a key part of our marketing strategy and our Asphalt and Modern Combat games regularly host events with the esports league, with no signs of slowing down in sight. In fact, Asphalt 9: Legends was recently selected for the ESL Mobile Open - the first official esports competition dedicated to mobile games.
Is it something you ever imagined yourself doing?
I’ve always been passionate about video games. It’s something I’ve seen as more than a hobby even before it became my career, but I never really imagined that I would be able to work in the industry.
Every day I start working on new game experiences and organising international events with our amazing community and partners. It’s a dream come true!
I’m incredibly lucky to work in an industry I love, while everyone I work with is incredibly talented too. We are always excited to see the amazing things our games allow players to do.
What did you study (if anything) to get your role? What courses would you advice for aspiring professionals in the area?
I have a degree in marketing and communications and that has helped me out quite a bit. However, my love of video games and art is something that I’ve constantly worked on throughout my life. It’s a personal passion and I'm always looking to enrich my life with new games and great art.
To be honest, I think video games sit at the crossroads between entertainment and art. I’m really a defender of the idea that video games should be recognised as art.
What part of your role do you find most fulfilling?
The best part of my job is meeting the talented players who play our games - especially at our esports events. They’re all fans of that intense emotion that ignites when you combine gaming and competition.
The most important thing in esports is keeping the player at the heart of the experience. Without players, without champions, there is no show.Hugues Ossart
Is esports now part of the conversation for every new game released by Gameloft?
Everyone at Gameloft likes to play games and the mix of people who work here provide lots of different perspectives on games. What’s most important for us though is that we offer a game experience for all types of players.
For esports that means admitting that not all games are adapted to competitive play. Most importantly, we also have to leave the conversation open because at the end of the day it’s the players and community who decide if they want their favourite game to include esports.
As an example, after our successful Asphalt 9: Legends esports events, we’re working on improving the entire experience and to push the boundaries even further by listening to the positive feedback from our community.
Do you think there are any misconceptions, public or professional, surrounding your area of expertise?
There’s been a spike in interest for esports these last few years. There are a lot of big numbers thrown around that generates a lot of interest from sponsors and the press, but sometimes to the detriment of the player experience.
The most important thing in esports is keeping the player at the heart of the experience. Without players, without champions, there is no show.
How will esports in the mobile landscape change over the next five years?
There are already huge mobile esports events and tournaments around the world in Asphalt 9: Legends and other great games. I mentioned the ESL Mobile Open, that’s a great example of how mobile esports are evolving into a solid part of the larger esports landscape.
There are also some pretty big inherent benefits to mobile games that can take esports to the next level. It’s flexible, accessible and has a large audience of eager players ready to jump in.
Plus, with mobile games, everyone can play wherever they are in the world, however they want.
As a company, and aligned with our pioneering spirit, we want to be at the forefront of the evolution of mobile esports.
What other advice do you have for someone looking for a job in this profession?
I would tell anyone looking to get a job in the industry to never underestimate the power of passion. Be curious about everything that’s possible with games and be creative in how you think about applying ideas from games to the world of art or marketing.
Let your love of games inspire you to do great things. Most important of all though, never stop gaming!