GamesBeat Summit 2024: How to foster community and grow your network

The video game industry is a tough place to be in right now. But that just makes it more important than ever to connect with people and find a sense of community.

Influential voices from the gaming community came together for a discussion at GamesBeat Summit 2024 to talk about different ways for people to do that. Moderator and journalist Sarah Parvini asked the panelists what’d be the best way to provide meaningful help. Amir Satvat, director of business development at Tencent Games, said that it all starts with time and empathy. You can spend time during the week to help people, or listen to colleagues who are going through a rough time and stepping up for them when needed.

For former Naughty Dog recruiter Christina-Marie Drake (a leading voice on LinkedIn with nearly 60,000 followers) that took the form of starting a new group called Moms in Gaming. She has two young children, and when she lost her job, she also lost access to her network in the company’s child resource group.

Left to right: Sarah Parvini, Alex Combs, Christie, and Amir Satvat.
Left to right: Sarah Parvini, Alex Combs, Christie, and Amir Satvat.

“And that’s really what led me to create Moms in Gaming,” said Drake. “So I have a network of 187 women from various aspects of the gaming industry, and they’re all creating subgroups within that community to really connect about something we all care about because it didn’t exist previously.”

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Joining or creating groups is also a good way to grow and diversify your network. The panelists agreed this is something you should always be doing, and having a reliable network is vital for today’s hyper-competitive job market. And if you don’t know where to start, Satvat has you covered: He’s gained a huge following on LinkedIn thanks to his website Amir Satvat’s Games Community, which contains a comprehensive suite of resources for video game job seekers — and it’s all free.

He started putting together job listings for his laid-off peers in 2022, and since then, it’s helped over 1,900 people find new roles in the industry.

Amir Satvat puts in two hours to 10 hours a week into his game job and LinkedIn work.
Amir Satvat helped cushion game layoffs with his own employment resources.

“With all the data that we’ve now collected for over two years in our community, I can see how much of a difference it makes to have any relationship to somebody on the recruiting team, hiring manager or recruiter,” said Satvat. “And my estimate is that you’re 10 to 20 times-plus more likely to get an opportunity [if you’re already connected].”

Parvini asked the group how people can remain relevant in the industry, even if they’re not currently employed. Drake suggested that you should dedicate some time every day to building your network on LinkedIn, connecting with her and other people in the gaming community, engaging with people’s posts, or even create some content of your own.

Recruiter Alex Gombos, who’s also a Top Voice on LinkedIn with 140,000 followers, stays relevant by giving back to the community. She is using her years of recruiting and talent acquisition knowledge to dispense helpful job search advice through posts and other materials like her interview preparation kit (which is also available on Satvat’s website).

Amir Satvat is director of business development at Tencent.
Amir Satvat is director of business development at Tencent.

“Take that passion that you have, what you love about games and your job in games, and try to think about how you can give back to that community,” said Gombos. “So again, meeting new people, whether it’s virtually or whether it’s in person, whether it’s starting a Discord, whether it’s starting a conversation. And don’t wait. If you’re like, ‘Oh, but I don’t have the platform or the following that you do,’ I didn’t either [at first] — at one point, I had 14 connections. But I started creating content that was relevant to people at the time.”

Satvat said no matter what, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a gamer, even if you don’t work in the industry or got laid off from it. He didn’t get his first job in games until he was in his mid-30s, partly because he was hoping to work remotely from the Northeast where his family lives.

“It took me 15 years to break into games. Every single day, every moment when I woke up, every night when I went to bed, I told myself, ‘Tomorrow is the day that you’re going to find a remote job that someone’s going to give you in games,’” said Satvat. “And I spent every day, every week, every month, every year having a game plan of what I would do to stay current — games that I would play, industry things that I would read, people I would try to meet.”

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