Skult is a strong advocate for diversity in the games industry. She talked to GameDaily about how she plans to leverage her background as CEO of MiTale to further the IGDA's goal of supporting and empowering game developers.
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) last week announced a shift in its board of directors. Margaret Krohn, Tim Culling, and Taha Rasouli will all join the board on April 1 following the departure of outgoing board members Lucien Parsons, Emily Greer, Bernie Yee, and Hans ten Cate, the latter of which is the current board chair.
Assuming the board chair position will be existing member Natasha Skult, who joined the IGDA board of directors last year, and serves as chairperson of IGDA Finland. Skult is a strong proponent of free speech and diversity in the games industry, a philosophy she embodies as CEO of Finnish game developer MiTale.
“MiTale is an independent game development company with a rather unique company culture and business strategy compared to fellow game studios even in Finland,” Skult told GameDaily. “For a start, we have a flat hierarchy and share the responsibilities according to not just skillsets, but individual interests and passions. I think the most influence from IGDA on our business setup is in team-building and engaging with community practices by continuously developing and nurturing soft skills.”
In addition to the IGDA board chair and CEO of MiTale, Skult is a co-founder of The Hive--Turku Game Hub. It’s a games business center in Finland dedicated to propping up the development community in the city of Turku. Skult pointed out that Turku Game Hub is the only such hub that has been in operation in the Nordics for around five years. Skult’s background also includes traditional art, academic research, and design.
As chairperson of the IGDA board of directors, Skult plans to support the organization’s core values of supporting and empowering game developers by facilitating sustainable careers. It’s a goal that requires close collaboration with IGDA executive director Renee Gittins, and director of special interest group operations Tristin Hightower. Additionally, she wants to continue to champion diversity in the industry via educational efforts.
“With over 150 chapters and special interest groups active globally, our industry is blooming with diverse talent which is what I wish to shed more light upon,” Skult explained. “Furthermore, I believe that the only way we can create more sustainable change towards diversity and inclusion is through education, as we are the ones shaping the state of our industry for future generations of game creators.”
It’s this passion for the empowerment of the game development community that drives Skult. After all, a varied and diverse creator community begets varied and diverse game experiences. It’s what makes art worth appreciating, and what makes the IGDA’s work so important.
“This is one of many reasons why I am still teaching and mentoring younger teams,” Skult said. “I believe we all have our place in the gaming industry where our differences and uniqueness can shape the industry into a better and more united community.”
Games are experiences, Skult continued, and behind every experience is a story worth telling.
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