Zsuzsa James is the Trade Commissioner for the Consulate General of Finland in LA, and is responsible for the coordination, planning, implementation, future watch, innovation policy and reporting of Team Finland activities in LA in the domains of video games, esports & technology covering 13 Western states of the US.
She will be joining us at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #2, the second outing of our hugely popular Connects events to take place entirely online and fed directly to your computer screen.
Ahead of the event, we caught up with James to discuss the many routes into the games industry, and how it's changed since she joined.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a bit about the Consulate General of Finland.
The Consulate General of Finland in LA is the West Coast arm of the Foreign Ministry of Finland.
What does your role entail?
My role is to support Finnish games & esports companies in their internationalization efforts in the US.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
Because I've been a gamer all my life and I love this medium as well as the people in it. I wanted to be a part of creating lasting and meaningful experiences.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?
There are more roles in the games industry that you'd imagine! Find groups and communities online and in person, join your local IGDA chapter, and talk to as many people as you can about their jobs in the industry. LEARN. About yourself, about the industry, about the skills you need to build. Whatever it is you are good at, there will be a need for it somewhere.
Then using the myriad of free tools online, start making the things you like in your own time, and build up a portfolio of work. Then put it online, build a following, go to events to meet your future employers, and build relationships.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
This industry has always been very dynamic, but recently it has reached some level of maturity in Finland.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
Covid-19 changed a lot of things, but more specifically I expect a continued trend toward building a cross platform metaverse and an increased demand for low cost high value business models (F2P, all you can play subscriptions).
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
I got into the games industry in Finland around 2006, so since then it went from a niche hobby to a behemoth with $2.2B in revenue and growing from 300 to 3200 people working in games in Finland. It was a huge transformation!
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
Meeting with key US publishers and investors, and gaining insight from the market to identify potential business opportunities for Finland.