Your games career as a: Business Development Manager

What does a Business Development Manager actually do? We shine a spotlight on the highlights, skills and specificities of different game development careers
Business Developer Gwen Foster smiles at the camera

Videogames are made in a myriad of different ways, by a myriad of different people with different skills. From experimental artistic games to billion-dollar corporations, it takes a huge range of different skills and different people to make games as we know them! 

However, the public image of what a game developer does has remained stagnant. In our new weekly column, we wanted to shed some light on what working in games looks like outside of programming and lead design roles. 

This week, we spoke to Gwen Foster of Robot Teddy about the role of a business developer in game development.

READ: Your games career as a: QA Analyst

Gwen’s games career has touched many different parts of the industry. She began her career as a producer working in independent games studios, going on to organise the Philippines – Manila chapter of the International Game Development Association (IGDA). She currently works full time as a Senior Business Development Manager and Senior Producer at Robot Teddy, a consulting firm that provides business and management support to games companies across the world. Through Robot Teddy, Gwen personally works with companies like Innersloth, developers of Among Us, Yogscast Games, and SUPERHOT’s publishing arm, SUPERHOT PRESENTS.

For her, business development is all about building strong relationships, and balancing seeing the big picture with the small, important details.

My work responsibilities include anything from release management, closing deals, pitching to platforms, maintaining relationships with platforms, filing for Age Ratings, figuring out who to hire!

Gwen Foster, Senior Business Development Manager & Senior Producer, Robot Teddy
Screenhub: In your own words: What does a business developer working in game development do? What does a normal day at Robot Teddy look like for you?

Gwen Foster: There’s no normal day at Robot Teddy. As Business Developer you’re making sure that you’re supporting the business in the best way possible. I’m both a Senior Producer and a Senior Business Development Manager at Robot Teddy, so the lines blur. My work responsibilities include anything from release management, closing deals, pitching to platforms, maintaining relationships with platforms, filing for Age Ratings, figuring out who to hire!

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If you were hiring a business developer, what qualities would you be looking for?

Attitude first and foremost, kindness, strategic thinking, ability to compromise, and the ability to see the forest and the trees at the same time.

What does a career path look like for someone interested in business development? What kind of jobs did you do before this?

The thing with Business Development is the only way to do it is for someone to take a risk with you, train you, and you’re more than happy to figure it out. A lot of business development in games heavily relies on the relationship you build with people, and that’s very important.

If you love people and figuring out a win-win situation for everyone, then you might enjoy working in business development.

Gwen Foster
Was working in business development always your goal, or has your career trajectory changed over time?

Not really, my career has always been what work comes my way! 🙂 The reason I’m here is that I’m willing to learn, and I don’t say no to opportunities! That’s especially important if you’re someone from marginalized regions of the world.

Moving forward, I hope that these business deals and opportunities are made available to the larger games industry, and that people stop treating people like me as a minority. The reality is a lot of games get shipped and made because of the labor and “passion” of so many underpaid and marginalized folks!

READ: Your games career as a: Studio Manager

When you first started in business development, what surprised you about the role?

The subtle racism and a lot of times blatant sexism, which exists anywhere in society. It’s just that because Business Development is people-facing, you expose yourself more to these circumstances.

Just recently, I was told that I might not understand football (I play football with friends, FYI) because I’m a woman. On a business call! You laugh it out, call in and not participate in the cancel culture the internet has nurtured, to give people the opportunity to grow and change.

Complete this sentence: If you [love people and figuring out a win-win situation for everyone], then you might enjoy working in business development.

What about the opposite: If you [hate contract and deal terms] then business development might not be for you.

Finally: What do you like best about your job? 

The ability to take naps and manage my own time!

Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob