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Clarisse Tamayao

Clarisse Tamayao
Marketing Specialist at Chaos Theory: on the Australian video games industry before and after the pandemic.

At Marketing Trends, we are discovering what drives Australia’s top marketers. Chaos Theory’s vision is to improve quality of life and inspire a more sustainable future through the magic of play. Clarisse Tamayao, the studio’s marketing specialist, gives us a unique insight into this billion-dollar industry, its challenges and the story behind this company, founded by 3 best friends at the age of 12.

Career & professional background

Clarisse, how did you start working in marketing?

I started working in marketing as a communications assistant at a small agency that managed digital communications for schools. Before that, I completed a Bachelor in Design in Photography and Journalism at UTS.

But I wanted to be challenged, apply some of my creative skills and analytical thinking to unexplored territories.

So I enrolled in General Assembly in 2019 and completed a Digital Marketing course, which ultimately led me to my current role at Chaos Theory.

I first approached Chaos Theory because I was looking for a business that I could collaborate with for my final project. I had no prior connection to them, I only knew they were creating cool games locally, and I asked them if I could plan and execute their digital marketing strategy for free. They accepted my request, and after a few weeks they were impressed with the initiative I had shown.

On my last day at General Assembly, when I presented my final project, I got an email from Chaos Theory offering me a marketing role! Two years later, I'm still here, loving my job and everybody I work with.

What other career path you might have taken if you weren’t a marketer?

I'm actually surprised I ended up studying Photography and Journalism because my dream job was to become a forensic investigator. I think I’ve watched too many procedural shows and still have a crazy fascination with forensic science. The prospect of analysing evidence, conducting investigations and solving mysteries is exciting to me.

With that being said, I am passionate about my career and I do really love working in marketing. There’s an element of investigation and problem-solving in digital marketing that also fascinates me!

Tell us about your role as a Marketing Specialist at Chaos Theory.

Chaos Theory provides game development services and expertise to clients who are looking to create web, mobile, AR and VR games. These games are used to train employees, teach students or conduct research, so we’re in a unique position between both B2B and B2C audiences.

Digital marketing plays a very important role for us. We use social media for brand awareness and keeping in contact with our community; PPC lets us advertise to the right audience and capture new leads, and email marketing allows us to re-engage our past clients.

Yet, the biggest benefit we get from digital marketing is data. The wealth of data we collect allows us to measure the effectiveness of a particular campaign, which is essential across game development and our marketing efforts.

How has COVID-19 impacted your company and the video gaming industry?

Video games have always been the number one source of entertainment for most people around the world. So ever since we all went into lockdown, we saw most of the video game giants thrive. Not only because games are entertaining, but because they allow people to stay connected with their community, loved ones and friends. Games provided a good way to have fun without having to be physically together during lockdown.

Throughout 2020, mainstream video games' sales went through the roof. At one point, Microsoft was reporting around a 130% increase in multi-player games and engagement. Nintendo was also experiencing a huge growth in their sales, especially for their Nintendo Switch console.

So globally, the pandemic had a somewhat positive impact on the industry.

Yet, particularly in Australia, the game development industry had to be adaptable. The Australian Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) conducted many surveys. Apparently, 84% of the game development studios were not planning on reducing their staff, and 61% reported they were stable throughout the peak of COVID. Most of us became quite resilient, and I think that's due to the digital nature of what we do.

Despite that, there were some studios that were devastated by the pandemic. At the beginning of 2020, more than half of Chaos Theory’s clients were adversely affected.

However, we started working with local and state government institutions, the education sector, non-for-profit organisations and healthcare companies that were looking to make serious games during that time. So despite the rocky start in 2020, our team and breadth of work continued to grow and expand fast.

Which are the most exciting trends in your industry?

In 2020, we saw a massive rise in the popularity of content creators and streamers, every day viewers were excited to watch their favourite steamers play video games on their channel.

More people are tuning into Twitch to watch others play games live, so it’s become an essential part of most game development studios' marketing strategy. Every year, more Twitch channels are created, and the variety of video game content being watched is also broadening.

Viewers are emotionally invested in streamers who build and embrace their communities, with Esports being one of the most popular categories with 84 million viewers in 2020.

As mentioned before, games have become a fundamental way for people to socialise with friends, family and communities, as accelerated by COVID-19 lockdown measures. Virtual spaces are used as gathering points where players connect and experience a live event together, it’s been effective for bringing in player bases of all sizes. I’m sure beyond COVID-19, we’ll continue to see more online multiplayer games transform into incredible, immersive experiences.

Challenges: which do you think are the most important ones?

I believe our main challenge is actually related to our location. To provide context: the screen and entertainment industries only recently got recognition and support from our government. There's now reforms in place and funding ($1 billion AUD) to boost our creative industries, which is fantastic.

Yet, although these new reforms took place, the funding was only designated to film and TV production. The government did not include the game development sector, which is pretty outrageous.

I guess we can all agree that when it comes to digital exports, film and TV production are pretty much key on getting those exports to grow. But with that being said, I believe the government still underestimates the reach and power that the Australian game development industry could achieve.

Despite being a fast growing creative industry, game development remains the least supported field in Australia. The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) is constantly trying to get us a slice of that funding. This would allow us to hire local and international highly-skilled, full-time jobs and build new studios. This would ultimately let us tap into the game's export market worth $200 billion USD.

Fortunately, our biggest challenge is not a matter of talent - which we certainly have. It’s a matter of reaching and gaining deserved recognition from international audiences.

Tools, recommendations & sources of inspiration

How do you structure your days?

Our creative director leads the strategy, yet it’s only me at the moment on the team, and I feel like being a singular person makes my days less structured and always exciting.

In the mornings, we commit to checking in with each other to understand our priorities and what has to be done by the end of the day. Then I usually check out our paid campaigns and our social media accounts. Even though we don't have a massive following, we have a very engaged audience.

Throughout the week, I brainstorm with my director on some new ideas or how to progress on new marketing initiatives. There's also a lot of research that goes into the content we produce for our blogs, website and videos.

By the end of the week, we share our wins and which achievements made us proud. When the marketing department was formed, the wins were a good way to show the rest of the team what the marketing was all about; why we were getting so many visitors that week on our website, or why we were doing well on Social, and so much more.

Which softwares powers your activities?

We use Atlassian and its subsidiary applications. Marketing uses a combination of JIRA and Trello, which are both great for project and campaign management.

They are both very powerful tools to help me organise my work, provide visibility to the team, and as a bonus, they integrate really well with Slack.

Which are your sources of inspiration?

At Chaos Theory, we are committed to building a more sustainable future and improving quality of life through games. We've actually combined our environmental and social initiatives with our games.

Nowadays, games are not only designed for teenagers or gamers in their 30s who have been playing them all their life. Today, games are for the 60-year-old person who wants to exercise their minds, or the 40-year-old who wants to play with their kids. So video games have the real potential to reach and influence every demographic with their message.

With that in mind, my biggest source of inspiration are the leaders in our industry that use their platform to take on causes, such as climate change.

For example, the creators of the PlayStation console - Sony Interactive Entertainment - have big commitments in terms of energy efficiency. Microsoft as well, urging their players through their popular games to take part in sustainability efforts. Niantic, creators of Pokémon GO, are working to reduce their carbon footprint.

These are the brands and studios that inspire me every day.

What are three resources you would recommend for anyone working in your field?

  1. Following the individuals that are leading the fray. Marketing, publishing and PR leaders from AAA to Triple-I studios are very active on social media. They always share valuable tips on community-building, content creation, game marketing, and everything in between. The games community loves knowledge sharing. It is competitive in some ways, but at the same time, it's one big family.
  2. Stay up to date on IGEA research and news. The association often releases valuable reports and data that’s helpful for the games' industry, but they also launch programs like mentorships, special events and so much more. Keep an eye out on their activity so you can take full advantage of their research and programs.
  3. Gamasutra is the best resource for anyone working in game development. It’s a comprehensive website that offers insightful content written by students, leaders, professionals, aspiring developers and more - it’s my go-to site for news on the video games' industry.