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Old 02-04-2019, 07:42 PM   #1
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2K Games opens Silicon Valley game studio led by industry veteran Michael Condrey


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Take-Two Interactive and 2K Name Industry Veteran Michael Condrey as President of New Game Development Studio in Silicon Valley

Take-Two Interactiv and its wholly-owned label, 2K, today announced that video game industry veteran Michael Condrey has joined the Company as President of the label’s new game development studio based in Silicon Valley. Best known for co-founding Sledgehammer Games and leading development for the renowned Call of Duty franchise, as well as his roles as Chief Operating Officer and Director at Visceral Games in establishing the popular Dead Space franchise, Condrey will build and lead a new development team to work on an unannounced project.

Condrey brings more than 20 years of creative, production and development leadership experience to 2K. His industry acumen played an integral role in bolstering one of interactive entertainment’s most distinguished franchises of all time – Call of Duty – including the development of the award-winning, first-person shooter titles Call of Duty: WWII (2017), Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (2014) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011). Condrey also led creation of the third-person, survival-horror shooter Dead Space (2008), which earned Action Game of the Year honors at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ Interactive Achievement Awards, as well as guided the James Bond 007 franchise to critical and commercial success.

“At 2K, we offer our collective audience a variety of engaging and captivating entertainment experiences. We continually seek opportunities to empower and invest in the right people and ideas,” said David Ismailer, President at 2K. “Michael’s unparalleled creative, production and leadership accolades are well-documented and deserved. We are greatly inspired not only by his passion but the potential for his new studio to complement our existing portfolio and development expertise. We welcome Michael to the 2K family and look forward to seeing our new Silicon Valley studio flourish in the months and years to come.”

“Great games come from the passion of a team driven by the pursuit of quality and the empowerment of an independent studio model. 2K’s studios have creative and technical autonomy, backed by a world-class infrastructure of support, and that offers the perfect recipe to build a new studio and craft experiences that will lead the next generation of gaming for fans everywhere,” said Condrey. “David and the dedicated people at 2K and Take-Two have an extensive history of rich and established brands, as well as a long tenure of executive leadership committed to supporting the ambitions of their independent studio teams.”

“Today’s announcement represents a rare and special opportunity for developers to help build and shape a new Silicon Valley studio from the ground up,” added Condrey. “I couldn’t be more excited, or thankful, to embark on this next step in my career.”

2K’s new Silicon Valley studio – with an official name to be announced – will join the Company’s family of wholly owned development teams, including Visual Concepts, Firaxis Games, Hangar 13 and Cat Daddy Games. Condrey and his future team will have the creative freedom to develop the studio’s vision and long-term projects while having access to a global network of proven industry leaders and resources across 2K’s studios. Those interested in pursuing career opportunities can visit the studio website or for more information.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:13 PM   #2
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Do they have more drug addicts than high school students like their neighbor San Francisco? And 70 smash and grab thefts per day? And shit on the street next to the needles?

Just...wondering.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:04 PM   #3
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It boggles the mind why anyone would bother to set up a studio in Silicon Valley. Or any other business for that matter. Hell, even expensive as shit LA, San Diego, or Carlsbad is better if you MUST stay in California for the high cost of living but nice weather and think those are what you need to attract talent. Go to fucking Irvine and slum with Blizzard and others for the love of god.

Otherwise look to Austin or Dallas for lower cost of living, decent weather, and good talent. If High cost of living and progressive political climate is top of the list Seattle has access to those things and all the talent you might want.

Why the fuck would you pick Silicon Valley except to be pretentious as fuck and price your workers into living 60 miles away?

The cost alone is insane and for gaming the salaries aren't even commensurate for people working at traditional companies like Google, Facebook, and so on. In general gaming salaries for the rank and file are 25% less than for the same position in a traditional tech company, and that is generous. There is a "tax" people pay for what I call the dubious honor of working in this industry.

In most DEVELOPMENT companies (NOT PUBLISHERS) and until you reach the director level you pay for the privilege of working in games instead of working on boring software. Even with a generous royalty program you suck shit in money and only the top end can make it ahead when the big royalty money comes rolling in. The rest of the folks generally come out even with what they would have made doing their job in a boring industry.

For example (and this is not universal, just in my experience), in *many established studios* a Project Manager, Lead Artist, or line Developer making $80k a year will have some mechanic to earn toward royalties as an incentive instead of a higher salary (like a fraction of royalty points per year or granted as performance bonuses or a profit "share" or something like that). But that same person might make $125,000/yr making boring financial or medical software.

But then, once every 5 or 6 years that PM ships a game and if it does well they get a windfall of $100 - $150k which seems like a lot but if you average it over the 5 or 6 years really only brings them to parity.

Now there is the chance there will be some residuals from that game that last over many years and not all studios have the same royalty plans (some have more consistent profit sharing) but you see how this works out. Other folks higher in the org or more critical to the company (like engine architects and tech directors) are on different scales or bonus programs usually and those are the ones buying new houses, new elite sports cars, and so on when the games hit it big.

On the other hand keep in mind this PM, Lead Artist, or Dev is probably way more overworked than their counterpart in most other software sectors, they certainly are putting in way more hours and have crunch way more often. They are less likely to be masters of their own destiny, they are more likely to have products living by a thin margin.

The downsides are legion. The dubious honor of working in Video Games.
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:24 AM   #4
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This studio will be closed in 5 years or less for all the points vallor just stated.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by vallor View Post
The downsides are legion. The dubious honor of working in Video Games.
This right here.
There comes a moment in time where you stop drinking the kool-aid and a moment of clarity between the milestones and crunches where you lean back in your chair and calculate out the hours worked to pay.
You're a fucking mcdonalds employee. You could be working in the financial sector, work less hours and get more pay but it's all in the honor of omg you make video games you love it right? RIGHT?

On top of that you got all these worker bees who are trying to wear as many hats as possible so you got

Joe Schmoe,
Head Lead Of <Project they made up, wrote the wiki on, do support for their tech> and assistant lead of some whatever, co-founder some such and support manager, etc. etc. etc..
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Old 02-05-2019, 08:24 AM   #6
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Let's hope they get at least one Dead Space style horror game out of this one before the studio closes up shop.

They like to hint that something along those line is in development.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:24 AM   #7
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I read "Open a new studio in Silicon Valley" and thought "Why? Seriously, why?"

It sounds like a great way to burn through capital for a similar return were you to setup shop in some place with a lower cost-of-living. That's also ignoring the volatility and risk of game development.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by vallor View Post
It boggles the mind why anyone would bother to set up a studio in Silicon Valley. Or any other business for that matter...

In most DEVELOPMENT companies (NOT PUBLISHERS) and until you reach the director level you pay for the privilege of working in games instead of working on boring software. Even with a generous royalty program you suck shit in money and only the top end can make it ahead when the big royalty money comes rolling in. The rest of the folks generally come out even with what they would have made doing their job in a boring industry.

For example (and this is not universal, just in my experience), in *many established studios* a Project Manager, Lead Artist, or line Developer making $80k a year will have some mechanic to earn toward royalties as an incentive instead of a higher salary (like a fraction of royalty points per year or granted as performance bonuses or a profit "share" or something like that). But that same person might make $125,000/yr making boring financial or medical software.
Wrong. Employees at game developers don't make "royalties", they make "discretionary bonuses". There's a HUGE difference between a "bonus" and a "royalty". A royalty has to be paid, even if the employee leaves, while bonuses can be anything, paid at any time (check your contract) and not paid if you leave the company.

Just wanted to dispel the myth of rich lazy game devs making money till they die, because according to my game dev friends, it's just NOT TRUE.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:16 PM   #9
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Wrong. Employees at game developers don't make "royalties", they make "discretionary bonuses". There's a HUGE difference between a "bonus" and a "royalty". A royalty has to be paid, even if the employee leaves, while bonuses can be anything, paid at any time (check your contract) and not paid if you leave the company.

Just wanted to dispel the myth of rich lazy game devs making money till they die, because according to my game dev friends, it's just NOT TRUE.
Yes, thanks for the clarification. These days the studios make the royalties which are doled out as per contract.

Royalty, discretionary bonus, whatever you want to call it, the incentive is usually barely enough to keep a line level person person in wage parity with someone working in a different, more stable industry over time. And that's if they are lucky enough to work on a moderately successful title.

I know plenty of people who worked for 10 years and either still never released something or released one thing which only sold to break even... or worse.
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Old 02-07-2019, 02:40 AM   #10
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Strange decision.

You'd think that with all the competition for qualified IT workers in Sillicon Valley already, their best developers will be poached quickly once they relocate.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:47 AM   #11
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Now I remember the comparison I was looking for: Ion Storm. Not the one that made Deus Ex, but the Rent-Out-The-Top-Of-A-Skyscraper-John-Romero-Will-Make-You-His-Bitch Daikatana Debacle or Why Certain Game Designers Wish They Were A Rock Star And Should Seek Therapy.
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