Bioware: Geniuses? Or Just Really Smart?

This fit of admiration was inspired by two articles I read yesterday. One announced a writing contest; entrants must create a Neverwinter Nights module via which to tell their story, and the winners get a job working for Bioware. Good (free) content and good employees in one fell swoop. Nice.

The second article summarized a recent lecture by Bioware’s web community manager. The whole thing is worth reading if you care about learning from your customers, fostering a fan base, creating “super-fans”, and/or grooming an audience for future sales.

Bioware really understands the value of social engagement and user-generated content, two of the differentiators that make games so much more interesting (and potentially lucrative) than other forms of media.

They’re also smart recruiters. It isn’t cost-effective to build a team entirely from “experienced” talent in a rapidly-growing industry that lacks supply of qualified personnel. Plus, new people bring new ideas and fresh perspectives! (Then again, that might take all the fun out of bemoaning the industry’s lack of innovation. I can’t imagine going one week without reading another five articles on the subject…) Anyway, no surprise that Bioware was one of the few game companies attending the MIT career fair this year.

19 responses to “Bioware: Geniuses? Or Just Really Smart?

  1. I’d love to work for Bioware, but I just looked at a map and noticed that Edmonton is north of Calgary. Very far north of Calgary. Calgary, where -40 winters are de rigeur. I know someone who grew up in Calgary, and he describes it as a moderately-sized pocket of civilization eking it out amidst the creaking icy weight of an endless winter. They have like two months of summer, which consists mostly of melting. The main activities are hockey, skiing, ice climbing, nordic, snowshoeing, and free software development. And Edmonton is north of all this. That’s permafrost territory. I bet you have to put on a coat just to open your front door in Edmonton. The current temperature in Edmonton (in the middle of a sunny day) is -17 C. The only things that are north of Edmonton are reservations, and townships that are named ‘Fort something-or-other’.

    I’m all for creative luring of talent, yet I think it would be cheaper for Bioware to just move the whole company down to Montana and put up a little flyer in Wal-Mart.

    That was a little tongue-in-cheek, but they really should open up a branch office here in the States at least. Goddamn! North of Calgary!

  2. Just to be clear, the only part that was tongue-in-cheek was the bit where I said it would be cheaper for them to move down here. Edmonton really is that fucking cold, and they really should open up a branch office here.

  3. I’m sure this was a contributing factor in their recent merger with Pandemic. Now you *can* work for them in the US. :)

  4. This just happened in Edmonton

    An 85-year-old Canadian man spent hours inside his impounded car in freezing temperatures after his vehicle was ticketed for illegal parking and then towed to a police compound, police said on Thursday.

    Temperatures were close to -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit).

    OK, I’m done having fun at Edmonton’s expense. Good point about the merger though, that makes a lot of sense.

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