Career Profile: Jamison Selby, vice-president of games, b Spot

Career Profile: Jamison Selby, vice-president of games, b Spot

Thursday, February 19, 2015 Totally Gaming

Jamison Selby, vice-president of games at US real-money game network b Spot, tells about his career so far, his future aspirations and his advice for others in the industry.


Name: Jamison Selby
Current role: Vice-president of games, b Spot
Previous roles: Director, vice-president of sales, senior producer         
Education: Rutgers University (MFA), University of California (BFA)

INSIGHT: How did you become interested in gaming and then become involved in it as a career?

Jamison Selby: "I was working in television production on quiz shows like The Weakest Link. That led to an opportunity as head writer on a series of trivia game titles such as Trivial Pursuit Featuring The Simpsons. Then I was offered the chance to work on redesigning the hit TV show Deal or No Deal as a pay-to-play stage show in Las Vegas, where the entire audience got to play the game.

"Suddenly I was working at the nexus of a fantastic mix of game, TV and casino people. It was a great challenge and when I had to make the choice between returning to TV or diving full time into games – I jumped." What have been the key steps in your career to date?

JS: "The basis for my current career was certainly the jump from TV into video games, and the subsequent curve into real money gaming. Beyond that it’s being able to recognize and respond to opportunity, whether driven by necessity or good fortune. I see you have been involved in projects that help young people, such as at the New York Film Academy. What would be the key things you hope that they learnt from you?

JS: "I think it’s key to my own continued growth. Working with students focuses your mind on the core basics. What is a good game? What is game design? Why do people play? Can you create fun? What are game mechanics?

"I hope they learn to think creatively and analytically at the same time. Game design is a collision of math and madness. A game designer is a bit of a mad scientist after all.

"Ultimately I hope they learn that to become a game designer, they must design games. Over and over again - board games, dice games, pen and paper – games of all shapes and sizes. The building blocks are universal and the only way to learn the language is to use it." A colleague on your Linkedin profile says you are “the greatest, most prolific generator of fantastic ideas I’ve ever worked with”. What is the greatest of all the great ideas you have had?

JS: "In the business world, I’ll always hope my greatest idea is the next one we’re about to launch – so keep your eyes open. But turning an idea into reality is hard. It most often fails.

"You need a core team, big or small, to beat and bang on that idea, grow it or snuff it, meld it, hone it into something the team can buy into completely and push with all their efforts." How do you view the future of the gaming industry?

JS: "The industry is electric right now. Technological, creative, business and regulatory innovation is shaking things up and opening up new opportunities worldwide. It’s crazy, it’s demanding, it’s rewarding – why would anyone leave?"

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