- Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty was a Storytime speaker at PAX West over the weekend hosted by Britney Brombacher of What’s Good Games.
- During the panel, Matt talked about his time in the games industry, how others can get started, and shared ideas about where games are headed.
- You can watch the full archived version of the conversation here.
Since joining Microsoft in 2010 to lead internal game development teams, Matt Booty has overseen some of the most important Xbox gaming moments of the past decade, including playing a key role in the acquisition mine craft in 2014. Last weekend, Matt was Storytime’s main speaker at PAX West 2022, where he shared details of his 30-year career in the gaming industry, from pinball and arcade games to Xbox. During the 50 minute session, Matt shared some wisdom on how to break into the industry, shared some thoughts on where the game is headed, and weighed in on who would win in the battle between Master Chief and Mortal Kombat Scorpion.
Whole session archived herebut for your convenience, we will share a few selected clips below:
On the issue of culture change in the industry: “We want the people who make games to be the same as those who play them”
On the growing complexity of games and the expectations associated with them: “You used to release a game, a small disc came out, and it was all over. Now more content is expected… and it is expected to continue to grow. But someone has to do it.”
Why are so many games delayed?: “Some of the processes we have in place are not keeping up with how quickly we can create content. One of them is testing… Every time something new comes into a big game, the whole game needs to be tested from start to finish, side to side.”
Editor’s note: After the keynote, I met with Matt, who clarified his comments about the use of AI in QC testing: “Digital tools have always been at the heart of the evolution of video games. Our goal is to give our teams more time to be creative and iterate quickly. AI testing does not replace testing and quality teams, but allows them to focus their skills on the complex nuances associated with design, while automation handles testing tasks at scale. Our QA and QA teams are an important part of the development process, and much of the AI experimentation is done by our test teams themselves to free others from wasting time on repetitive tasks like combing through large open-world games looking for texture seams. or looking for gaps in collision boundaries.”
HOURThe current specialization of game roles has opened up more opportunities for people to join the industry.: “There are so many ways to get into games that weren’t there in the days of Space Invader.”
How we make games is changing: “Our Perfect Dark team in Santa Monica, The Initiative, just entered into a major partnership with Crystal Dynamics, and I read online that ‘that must mean there’s a problem’ – quite the opposite. You have this experienced team at Crystal Dynamics, a big AAA team with over 100 people coming available – of course we want to work with them.”
Passing the baton to the next generation of game creators: “Games have reached a point where we’re almost obligated to use the environment properly…we have the ability to tell life-changing stories.”
Thanks again to Britney for such a thoughtful conversation with Matt last weekend at PAX West. You can watch in full stream recording here.