Happy International Women’s Day! We have had such a wonderful response to our daily interviews celebrating the women of Tag Games. Today we are talking to Nina Cliff, Head of Business Development.
How did you get into games?
I had quite a serendipitous entry into the games industry. I was working for an economic development agency that supported the digital industry in the North East of England. It turned out that the games industry was a big part of the regional economy, and I remember being amazed that console games were being made in Newcastle.
In 2004 we established GameHorizon, a business network that was dedicated to games. We hosted events that attracted games companies from all over the UK, and eventually from all over the world with the GameHorizon Conference. We had so many fantastic and inspirational people visit the North East thanks to GameHorizon. This was an excellent foundation for building a network that I’ve continued to nurture throughout my career.
What did you study at uni and how did that impact your career?
I studied Marketing at University. Marketing jobs were rare as rocking horse droppings back then so I always ended up in sales/marketing roles. I think this combination has always served me well. It really helps to understand how sales and marketing are connected.
Why do you think people should want to work in this industry, what makes it great?
I’ve worked in other industries and I know that the games industry is the place for me. I’ve always found the games industry to be very welcoming. I’ve met so many wonderful people and made a lot of great friends.
The games industry is very unique. It is often compared to the film industry, but games are newer to entertainment than Hollywood, and maybe that’s what makes it different. As a medium games are always evolving and there is so much innovation. The boundaries are constantly being pushed, from the biggest, blockbuster console title to the smaller, critically acclaimed indie game. It takes such a wide variety of disciplines to achieve this, which is one of the reasons why I find the industry so appealing and inspiring.
What has been the highlight of your career/what are you most proud of?
So far, I think GameHorizon is the highlight of my career. I have so many incredible memories from that time. Our vision was to make a TED like experience for games with thought-leading speakers and inspirational talks. It was something to do with the location too, people loved coming to the Quayside. I am biased, but Newcastle and Gateshead were the ideal setting for the conference - and also the after parties!
I think it also had a lot to do with timing and where the industry was then. This was ten years ago, so much happens in a decade. When I think back of the speakers we had, what they were doing and where they are now - it’s pretty incredible. People look back really fondly at that time, we had some real fans who got what we were trying to do. It’s not often you get the chance to create something like that.
What’s the biggest challenge of working in this industry?
I think the challenges of working in this industry very much depend on the individual and what area of the industry you work in. I am focused on business and sales and from that point of view I think the challenge is staying on top of trends and being relevant. This is not just high level, industry trends but sales patterns and subtleties that you can only get first hand. The industry can be tough if you don't evolve and adapt quickly, responding to changes and taking advantage of opportunities.