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Meet Tom Davies from Keywords Studios in Australia

Date Published: 21/09/2022

Staff Spotlight - We caught up with Tom Davies, Head of New Studios & Integration at Keywords in Australia, to discuss the continued growth of our Australian studios, his plans for the future as well as diversity in the video games industry.

Keywords in Australia has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Can you talk to us about the journey to this point and your ambitions for the future?

Keywords in Australia has gone from one studio with 45 people to five studios spanning almost 170 staff in just over 18 months. It’s been an incredible journey that has seen us acquire two more studios and open 2 new offices as well as take on over 35 new staff.

Our ambition is to be collectively the largest games company in Australia whilst retaining the individuality and unique culture of each studio. It’s a challenge to ensure that we continue to support each studio to reach its ambition whilst retaining what makes them special. For the moment we are just focusing on successfully integrating and supporting the studios to ensure they can staff and deliver on the projects we have now. As we continue to increase the quality and size of the projects we work on, we will continue to expand the teams where it makes sense.

What excites you about your day-to-day role specifically?

I love the excitement and energy that comes from our growth and new staff. Every new member brings with them experiences, skills and ideas that contribute to our growth and evolution. I also love working with people to help them realise their ideas for improvement. As an example, staff told us that climate action was the most important of the UN development goals for them. So, we engaged a small cross studio team and within 2 months we have made the decision that all 5 Keywords studios in Australia will be carbon neutral from July 1st 2022.  We are acting to deliver on that commitment with concrete actions, and carbon neutrality is just the start.

How has the industry evolved since you started?

I started in video games in 2008 when social gaming was just beginning, the iPhone had just launched and before the powerful next generation consoles we have today. Now the range, scale, power and quality of many individual games being produced across so many platforms is just incredible. Games are now immersive experiences and the audience for games has expanded massively. I am also excited to see VR & AR entertainment is starting to become a reality (please excuse the pun!).

The video games industry worldwide is placing increased value on diversity and inclusivity, how important is it for us to continue making progress in this area?

In Australia, we are pushing greater diversity and inclusion very strongly. We are driving hard to increase the number of women and other underrepresented genders employed in video games with a number of initiatives to help encourage them into the industry and support the promotion and development of women and non-binary people in games studios.

We are currently exploring concrete actions we can take to increase representation of women particularly in engineering and we recognise how important it is to have a plurality of voices and diversity of experiences particularly at senior levels. We are very committed to the goal of making our studios more inclusive but it’s a work in progress and we still have a long way to go.

What elements of the industry do you see evolving in the future?

I’d like to see the number of women in the industry continue to grow and I believe that it will as long as we continue to invest energy in doing so. We as an industry have done a terrible job historically and we need to do a much better job of creating a safe and welcoming environment for women and non-binary people. We will all be better for it and so will the games that we create.

And finally, what advice would you give to someone considering a career in the games industry?

Just do it. Start anywhere that you can and build up your experience and skills. As an industry, we are crying out for experienced people but we also need to invest in training and development to help people build the skills. Don’t be afraid to move until you find the right fit because nearly every studio is different. If you don’t find the right culture and team for you, there will be another studio that will be a better fit for you.

If you are interested in a role at Keywords in Australia, you can find open positions on our Careers page.