After offering a broad overview of the current state of the game industry touching on the demographics of gamers, the types of games currently being played by gender, as well as the different types of consoles being used to access these experiences, Shannon discussed the social aspect of gaming and how it is currently influencing the growth of the games landscape in a major way. She spoke of the ability to connect with other users and how it is a powerful draw for today's gamer, regardless of gender. She commented on the social piece with regard to gaming… that sense of connection and how it is what gets these fans to keep coming back. Having spent several years as a female game developer immersed in the business, she has had an opportunity to see it evolve from a unique vantage point. Her own journey in the game industry started many years ago, when she took a job as an intern. It wasn't an easy decision and it took a huge leap of faith, but she knew that it was a necessary step to break into what was primarily a male-dominated industry. That difficult decision led to her being offered a full-time position and, eventually, to being Recruited by Sony Computer Entertainment America (Current Sony Interactive Entertainment America) in 1997. She went on to describe how it is "mind-blowing sometimes" to think that signing on to a non-paying position early in her career would give her the foundation needed to build PlayStation's first ever 1st party developer, Santa Monica Studio, from the ground up. Having worn the hat of producer and, ultimately, founder of the beloved God of War* franchise (alongside creator David Jaffe), Shannon spoke of how it is especially exciting to be at the helm of the studio right now as they dive into a new iteration, a pivot of sorts for a decade old franchise, now one of the most anticipated releases of the coming year. She wrapped up her address by mentioning how proud she is of the creative culture that has been established at Santa Monica from the beginning. She feels strongly that this creative energy will continue to propel their team forward as they breathe new life into the God of War story. They can't wait to deliver this new chapter to the fans.
* In 2005, the original God of War spawned an epic and legendary mythological experience of 7 games over 10 years. Kratos, the iconic Spartan warrior, faced the deadliest forces in Greek Mythology on a merciless quest to destroy Olympus, and avenge those who betrayed him. Now following his presumed death in God of War III, from Santa Monica Studio and creative director Cory Barlog comes a new beginning for one of gaming's most recognizable icons. Living as a man outside the shadow of the gods, Kratos must adapt to unfamiliar lands, unexpected threats, and a second chance at being a father. Together with his son Atreus, the pair will venture into the brutal Norse wilds and fight to fulfill a deeply personal quest.