Emma Purvey, HR & Recruitment Manager, Outplay Entertainment

Please tell us a bit about Outplay Entertainment. When was the company founded, and how big is the company now?

Founded in 2010 and based in Dundee, Scotland, Outplay Entertainment is the largest independent mobile developer in the UK. To date, the studio’s games have received over 100 million downloads, have been featured multiple times as Apple’s Editors’ Choice and received a BAFTA nomination. Most recently the studio won the 2016 TIGA Outstanding Growth Award.
With a passionate focus on making the best games, our team of over 170 talented and dynamic Outplayers have so far developed several critically acclaimed original games which include, Castle Creeps TD, Alien Creeps TD, Mystery Match, Crafty Candy and Bubble Genius, as well as Angry Birds, POP! in partnership with Rovio.

What has your experience been of hiring talent in Dundee? How much do you currently rely on EU talent, and how is your recruitment process likely to change in the next 12 months.

When the company first set out to build its team it was able to hire from the pool of mobile game talent that already existed in Dundee.
However, due to the demand for our games and our ambitions to build out our product portfolio, we quickly found ourselves sourcing talent from the various games hubs out with Scotland.

Outplay currently has 52 team members from outside the UK. This is a mix of 25 different nationalities in our studio and makes up 30% of our team. We value and greatly benefit from the diversity this brings our team’s skill sets and the player experience gained from a mixed team, so our talent strategy is built around attracting and relocating talent from across the world.

Which channels do you find most effective when recruiting? What do you think are the most effective ways for retaining your best employees?

Social media platforms have always been the best channels for us to communicate our brand and career opportunities to prospective candidates. We have changed things up over the last year and are sharing a lot more about game development at Outplay and insight into specialist areas. We also cover all our learning and development initiatives that are being carried out in the studio by The Outplay Academy.

We think one of the main retention strategies is to make sure your team feels they are developing alongside the business. Outplay is an ambitious studio at the forefront of mobile development and is continually pushing the bar on quality and its output. Our industry is highly skilled, and talent at this level values and seeks opportunities to further hone their skills and continually get better at what they do.
The academy was put in place to engage the teams in this area through prioritising and focusing time and investment in training opportunities throughout the studio.

Which roles does Outplay Entertainment find the most challenging to fill, and what methods or talent pools have you utilised to solve this problem?

The rapid growth of the industry has created a shortfall in talent, so there is no one role that is quick and easy to fill. It’s also imperative we hire right so that we get engaged developers who possess the right skill set working on the right products. This can sometimes mean roles take longer to fill, but in the long run, the team and games benefit much more from hiring right than rushing to fill seats.
We’ve more recently been able to access talent from outside the games industry to support our games too. For example, our marketing team has a mix of commercial backgrounds that lends itself well to applying experience from sectors that have led in digital marketing and product management.

Ultimately, to successfully grow and retain a team at the rate we have, the most important thing is to maintain a culture that is genuine and reflects the great things that are happening in the studio and appeals to candidates to be a part of. It’s a tough market to recruit within, so being able to reflect what you can offer talent in terms of the role and products they can work on, and the culture of the business they will be within, is fundamental to your ability to recruit top talent.