BIG ANT’S CEO ON SURVIVING THROUGH THE GFC TO SUCCEED ALONGSIDE GLOBAL VIDEO GAME GIANTS
Founded in 2001, Big Ant Studios is arguably Australia’s most prolific developer of sports-related video games on console and it is a proving ground for entrepreneurial game makers. Located just a stone’s throw from the Yarra River in Southbank, Melbourne, the company surivived its ill-fated first title as well as the ‘bushfires’ of the GFC by capitalising on opportunities not pursued by global games giants such as Electronic Arts (EA).
Founder and CEO Ross Symons spoke to Dynamic Business about the secret to Big Ant Studios’ longevity, his ambitions for its growth and the key challenges it faces including increasingly time poor customers, political ‘hostility’ and the brain drain of talented developers.
DB: What experiences led you to found Big Ant Studios?
Symons: My video game journey began in childhood and later spun into a gig as a technology writer, with my first article published in 1979. I wrote various articles on programming and game design for PC magazines, which also featured my listings – the pre-disk/tape mode of distributing computer programs, listings included source code instructions, often pages long, that people could type into and execute on their computers.
I also used a photocopier to self-publish game listings through local newsagents and authored some books on coding and games for computers such as the TRS80, Commodore 64, and BBC Micro. While it was very rewarding and great fun to be writing during what I believe was the ‘romantic period’ of games development, it wasn’t profitable enough to pursue as a career. Read more
James Harkness - Dynamic Business - 19 May 2017