THE BILLION DOLLAR GAMING INDUSTRY

By Samantha Yardley

Game development veteran Jim McQuillan shares his expert insight into just what makes the high-octane world of gaming a billion-dollar industry.

Gaming has transcended to a way of life for many fans. The wholly immersive experience has become so much more than a novel way to wind down after work, and the ensuing following has had an explosive effect on the entertainment industry. Gaming geek Jim McQuillan lives and breathes creating captivating gaming experiences and provides a backstage pass to the genius behind just what makes it such an omnipotent presence in society today.

“I’ve been in game development with some wonderful companies for the last 17 years,” begins Jim, animated with his flagrant passion for the industry that’s propelled him to the status of world-renowned gaming expert. “For me, I’ve always been a story- teller. I fell in love with the concept of bringing stories to life and it brought me a lot of joy and a lot of fun.”

“I had this unique and fortunate opportunity to work on Halo 3, having met game developer, Bungie while I was producing and directing a documentary for the Discovery Channel”


Jim’s magnetic enthusiasm for all things gaming is contagious as he modestly recounts the opportunity that allowed him to transition from making documentaries to contributing to some of the globe’s most influential gaming franchises. “I had this unique and fortunate opportunity to work on Halo 3 as a production lead, having met game developer, Bungie while I was producing and directing a documentary for the Discovery Channel. I pitched them a Peter Jackson style behind-the-scenes idea for Halo 2 that would get shipped with the game, as a limited collector’s edition. And I got a chance to spend time with the team making a game, watching the trials and tribulations that go along with that experience.

Subsequently, Jim went on to work on the team for MMO action sensation, Destiny. A role which he relished for nine years.

“It was never the subject matter, but the experience of creating a game that became fascinating. Gaming is a really immersive experience, and there is such diversity in the type and genre of games. You can play mobile, handheld, PC, console, an RTS
(Real-Time Strategy), RPG, role-playing, MMO, massively multiplayer, FPS, first-person, puzzles, sports, action, horror. Each of them has an audience that they bring, and they can and will overlap. Some people come in for short periods of time. Some stay with the experience for longer. But it becomes part of that hobby, that enjoyment.

“I think from an investment standpoint, you will continue to see more and more in games because it has such a large worldwide audience to connect to”


“For gamers, it’s the embodiment of a get-together with friends online, having the ability to tackle a challenge or just the immersion into the world. That’s the level of engagement that feels like you’re accomplishing something. It becomes part of that thing you get to do with your friends on a Wednesday night. ‘At 8, I’ll meet you in the lobby and we’ll go tackle this thing.’ In the meantime, you’re catching up on a whole bunch of other things while you’re shooting, saving, surviving, or whatever the challenge might be. That engagement is what makes games powerful and emotional. It’s a fabric of our social consciousness that we continue to rely on that provides a connection to others and vivid memories.

“Gaming has become that fabric that connects people, that transports us and turns a screen into your adventure”

The potency of Jim’s appetite for creating engaging platforms for gaming fans didn’t just result in a legit cultural phenomenon however, it also created some stratospheric levels of revenue. Jim recounts: “Halo 3 grossed $170 million in its first day of release, and $300 million its first week. That’s more than any big Holly- wood movie opening at that time. A million people played Halo 3 in the first twenty hours. It really kicked off that blockbuster game world. Right behind that came Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty in the years to follow.

Over the next 13 years, you began to see games making hundreds of billions of dollars. Bringing in millions of players and keeping them engaged is part of that experience. I think from an investment standpoint, you will continue to see more and more in games because it has such a large worldwide audience to connect to.”

As gaming continues to diversify and expand its reach, gaming hysteria shows no signs of slowing down. “Just like any other form of entertainment, coming up with that next gem, that next thing that creates a passion in the studio is part of the experience. Every filmmaker, television producer, every one of us that’s trying to create, is looking for ways of expanding and engaging that audience with new stories.

“For gamers, it’s the embodiment of a get-together with friends online, having the ability to tackle a challenge, or just the immersion into the world”

“Gaming has become that fabric that connects people, that transports us and turns a screen into your adventure. It’s a part of why so many platforms are incorporating games as a part of their experience, to allow people to play and connect
because that human connection is what we all strive for.

“Creating that level of fun is what games have always done, and putting that into our everyday life, that’s extraordinary.”

For gaming aficionados, the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER IN ESPORT HISTORY! is a must-read!
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