Q: Tell us about you and your role/career to date?
I am CEO/COO and Co-Founder of GameBake. Gaming and business has always been a passion of mine, so bringing them both together was just the natural progression for me as time went on.
My role at GameBake is to lead the company towards its ultimate goal of becoming the platform to easily and efficiently distribute content around the world and making games easily accessible to everyone, no matter the market, the device or the platform you wish to play your games on as a consumer. I build our strategy, I jump into the day to day operations and help the team to grow so we can all succeed as we build and move forwards.
I have always loved games, from playing on the N64 or Mega Drive when I was younger with my mum and brothers, to all night sessions playing Gears of War with my mates on the Xbox 360 (when we probably should have been sleeping before school the next day, sorry mum :D), games are something I have always enjoyed and have always been fascinated by.
I started my career in the industry back in the glory days of Flash browser gaming when i was 13 and back then, mobile gaming barely existed (it was before the iPhone launch if anybody can remember them days) and flash games were the way to get your gaming fix and waste some time before booting up the console, Runescape or starting a usually extremely long game on AoE2. It was here that I taught myself how to make games (using cracked versions of flash my Uncle would get for me. Don’t try this at home 😉 ) and where I eventually licensed my first games to websites. It was when I made my first $200 on a game I made that I decided that I can build something here.
My career to date has been varied with some successes, many failures but all of it helping myself get to where I am right now. Failure is a natural part of life and of course, everybody wants to succeed but without failure you can never learn how to properly succeed and for me, it is why I look back on what I have achieved over the years and what I have missed out on and although some things are “annoying” I wouldn’t regret anything, because just a slight change with something I did do in the past may have meant another event didn’t happen and I wouldn’t be here with an amazing team building an amazing product.
Q: What led you into the games distribution industry?
Distribution has always been a problem within the industry, be that because of the technology, the many different devices that are out there or just the lack on knowledge of different opportunities that exist, most have always focused on the core platforms of the day but missed out on the huge opportunities found if you just look outside of the box.
I and the team have worked together for many years now and have developed games and published games from small arcade hits to big free-to-play titles and have always struggled with finding a solution that would enable us to distribute our games to as many platforms and into as many markets as possible to provide us with the best chance to succeed.
We built many various pieces of tech over the years but when the time came to kill off a previous venture we had, distribution was the one problem that we all felt had the opportunity to change the industry, if done properly and that is where we focused our energy and we haven’t looked back since.
Q: What role does marketing play within GameBake’s platform?
Like all platforms, marketing is the key to scaling. GameBake understands this and it is what we see as the biggest failure in distribution to date.
Apple and Google have spent years building an ecosystem to surround their stores and this is what has allowed huge businesses to scale. As I mentioned, most tend to focus on the core platforms of the day and because Apple and Google have had this Duopoly for a while now it has allowed them to become the dominating figures heads in the market.
This is what GameBake is working to change. We are building the technologies and the platform that is fast becoming the ecosystem that developers, publishers, and the market in general, needs to be able to scale effectively across platforms globally, from Huawei to Xiaomi, from Facebook to WeChat, from Mobile Web to Desktop Web, our technologies will enable developers and publishers to easily distribute to these platforms and then run market campaigns that will allow them to acquire and build the user base they need to scale.
In short, marketing is a massive part of what we are building right now.
Q: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I’m a pretty optimistic person and I look on the bright side of even the worst situations as I believe it is this that helps you tackle and solve problems head on instead of letting them take over and ruin your day, or week.
For me, being able to enjoy the company of my family and friends and being able to work within a truly amazing industry doing what I love is what gets me out of bed and honestly, sometimes stops me going to bed in the first place!
Q: Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?
Many founders and CEO’s shout about the 5 or more daily habits they have that helped them build their success and to be honest, I believe a lot of that is just BS.
For me, every day is different in its own unique way therefore being open and flexible allows you to tackle problems head on and take advantage of new opportunities when they arise.
That being said, little things help me to zone out such as playing my guitar, learning new skills or information on topics I find interesting, such as Space, Science, Technology etc… I wouldn’t call these habits though as I can go a week or more playing no guitar and if that is the case then so be it as I just enjoy these things more when I finally get back to them.
Everybody is different and has something that works for them. If that is a morning routine that helps you get started for the day then amazing, but I think the most important thing is to understand what works for you as a person and doing that, not trying to force yourself into the mindset of somebody else, that is always going to end in failure.
Q: What’s been your greatest career highlight so far?
There have been many ups and downs but I can honestly say that right now, with GameBake, this is what I feel is becoming the highlight of my career so far and I’m extremely happy that is the case.
If you would like something notable, I turned down a licensing partnership with King to become their first entry into the mobile gaming space. A highlight maybe not, but it is something I look back on now that makes me smile and looking at where we are as a team and company now and where I am now, maybe that was the right decision all those years ago. Could I have been the Candy Crush for King before Candy Crush was a thing, maybe, I guess I will never know.
Q: What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?
The best ‘investments’ I have made and still do make are learning new skills. There isn’t a part of GameBake that I don’t understand to some extent.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sit down and develop our distribution technology any time soon, that is not where my expertise are, but I can happily sit down with our CTO and the entire team and provide insightful feedback, opinions and suggestions that help to further the development of our technology and I can only do this by spending the time to listen to others and learn.
Everyone has their own specific skill sets and that is where you will excel, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about everything else and as CEO, I feel this is even more important as how can you build the best team if you don’t know what it is you are building?
Understand it all. Master the few. Excel at just one.
Q: Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?
There is no single person or “thing” that has influenced me, it’s more a whole host of people and stuff that has helped me grow to where I am today.
My Mum encouraged me to do what I enjoyed by playing ‘them games with me all them years ago’. My Nan, although not around for that long in my life, helped to pass onto me the entrepreneurial traits that have got me to where I am now. My late Grandad who helped fund my crazy ideas and showed that although I failed many times, that he believed in what I was doing and trying and failing is better than doing nothing at all. My old boss at the chip shop I worked at for nearly 10 years, you may think the skills aren’t transferable but trust me, anything you learn no matter what the business is a lesson worth learning.
Of course there are so many more people and other things that I couldn’t list everything here but everything together has helped influence my decisions to date and hopefully that will continue into the future and I can help others in the same way.
Q: What’s one thing you wish people knew about your industry
Like most things, being successful takes a lot and I mean a lot of hard work and dedication.
I believe most people think the games and wider tech industry is all fun and games, ping pong tables, chilling with your laptop and answering emails and don’t get me wrong, and there is some of that involved! But when playing a game, or using an app, website etc…, you are only seeing the end product of which a team of people have spent, in most cases, a significant portion of their lives developing.
It is to criticise something when you are the end user experiencing a bug in a game for example and say “I could do better than this!”, but actually throwing your hat into the ring and stepping up to “do better” is something that takes dedication, hardwork and real percervance if you are to build something successful and that goes for anything, not just build games or tech.
Michael Hudson is CEO/COO and Co-Founder of GameBake