Gaming company CEO Jason Kingsley’s tips on building a business.
The gaming industry in the UK is worth £7.16bn and that figure continues to increase. UK gamers spent more in 2021 than they did during the height of lockdown, according to trade body UKIE. On my Transition Guy podcast I spoke to co – founder and CEO of the Rebellion Group, Jason Kingsley. When Jason and his brother set up Rebellion, gaming was a new industry. Jason was the creative arm and designed the games while his brother was the technical mastermind. Between the two of them they started designing and producing video games and Atari was their first client. He shares some of his tips to creating a successful business.
If you have an idea, do it. Lots of people have good ideas and do nothing about it. The biggest failure of business isn’t actually when businesses start and fail, the biggest failure of business is people not starting the business in the first place. You might fail. Failure can drive growth and development. Keep learning. We only ever hear of the successes but many of those success stories come from previous failures.
Rebellion was asked to design games for the new Atari gaming platform called the Atari Jaguar. Once they agreed, Atari then halved the budget the week before we started. We learnt a very useful early lesson, negotiating from a position of weakness is always harder than negotiating from a position of strength.
Building a team:
When it comes to building a team I work with people I like and get on with. I believe in emergent strategies, talking to the team around me and respecting their opinion. It is an ongoing challenge for most businesses to choose good people to work with. It is a challenge for most CEO’s to maintain the positive aspects of the company that caused it to grow in the first place. Onboarding people is about keeping the ethos and spirit of the company. It is about helping them understand what makes the company great and getting them to share in that exciting journey as well, because in an ideal world, everybody that works for you should be enjoying the process of creating something cool.
What type of CEO are you?
When you are building a team and hiring staff it is important to work out if you are an outcome or process driven CEO. I am outcome driven and prefer to deal with options and solutions. A process driven CEO wants to see the start of the story, the middle and the end. I do not sail a corporate ship. I am not interested in powerpoint presentations, just the necessary level of information exchange, whatever that is for the project at hand.
Growing your business:
Most entrepreneurs look to scale up and grow their businesses. Growth can be fast at the beginning. Hiring your first member of staff usually catapults a business forward quickly, doubling capacity. However, Rebellion really started growing when we decided to design our own games and partner up with Sony, Microsoft, Steam, and Epic. We went from pitching their services to other people to making games for people to buy.
Dealing with challenges:
As a leader you cannot anticipate all the challenges your business will face. You can often limit your liability. Prepare within reasonable parameters, but be aware that things can come up, that will utterly knock your predictions for six. Start to think outside the box. It is how you deal with those situations which will determine your future growth. Surviving a difficult economic landscape as a company can kick you into a different place almost against your will and can be a major catalyst for growth and change.
To listen to Jason Kingsley talking about his journey to becoming a gaming industry leader, listen to my Transition Guy podcast From Hobby to Business. If you are scaling up your company and trying to grow it please contact me.
Remember that failing to learn is learning to fail.