The Global Summit of Women was held in Japan for the first time from May 11 - 13th, 2017. Shannon Studstill, VP Product Development of Sony Interactive Entertainment, participated in the panel discussion on "Women Game Innovators and Animation". Informally named the `Davos for Women' by past participants, the Summit has brought together stellar global gathering of women leaders from every part of the world for 26 years. This year, approximately 1,400 participants from 95 countries gathered in Tokyo primarily to discuss promoting women's economic advancement.
From Sony Group, Shannon Studstill, VP Product Development of Sony Interactive Entertainment, participated in the panel discussion on "Women Game Innovators and Animation" and gave a speech.
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.
One of the discussion points was related to this generation of consoles and, specifically, how they technically allow for a certain level of fidelity in the experience. Today more than ever, there are a significant number of female voices in the interactive entertainment space, both on the consumer side and the development side. Those voices are definitely influencing the drive toward innovation. In team roles of any kind, but most importantly in leadership roles, both self- awareness and an awareness of team dynamics are the key. The ability to keep an open mind and to ask the tough questions…and to be willing to scrap something that isn't working and go in an entirely different direction - those things take real leadership. I think the big takeaway from this panel discussion (and something all of the participants agreed upon) is the importance of a creating a team culture and how crucial it is to ensure that every team member across the board buys into that culture. The creative contributions that come out of a team with a clearly established culture are likely to be the most successful. That component can have a huge impact on product quality. The emphasis on culture cannot be understated, as it's critical to creative success.
Shannon Studstill, VP, Product Development, Head of Santa Monica Studio, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Sabine dall’Omo, CEO, Siemens South Africa (moderator)
Daisuke Sakai, Co-Founder, teamLab, Inc
Delphine Zombo, Designer/CG Animator, Square Enix
The theme of the 2017 Summit — "Beyond Womenomics: Accelerating Access" — showcases various initiatives developed in different parts of the world to speed up both women's access to corporate leadership roles as well as strategies for growing women-owned enterprises worldwide. In addition, the 2017 Summit will inform delegates on how to access the Japanese and Asia-Pacific market, showcase women business and government leaders from the region, and provide skills-building sessions, as well as establish networks among such leaders. Join us at the Summit to be inspired, to learn, and to share lessons with women from more than seventy economies around the world.