PlayStation.Blog

Inside SCEE: Ali Bergstrom-Allen, Home Service Producer

43 13
Inside SCEE: Ali Bergstrom-Allen, Home Service Producer

For the last couple of weeks I have been hanging out with colleagues from various departments to give you a window into the inner workings of SCEE and some insight into how a love for games can become a career.

Ali Bergstrom-Allen is the PlayStation Home Service Producer meaning she works with developers to create games, spaces and other content for PlayStation Home.

SCEE - London, UK

Here is an average working day, in her words:

I used to crawl out of bed at the last possible second but now I get up at 6:30 in the morning and do half an hour of yoga before getting ready for work. I feel like I need to do it to balance out the infuriation caused by taking the tube to work!

Like everyone else, I get in the office, make a cup of tea and check my emails. Home is a global project so there tends to be a few emails from Japan and America to deal with first thing.

Next, I check which meetings I have lined up for the day and make sure I’m prepared.
My meetings can be internal (with people from all sorts of different departments) or external (with developers working on Home content). I think it’s important to meet every developer in person and get to know their product because every game is different and every developer believes that their project is the best thing in the world, which of course it is to them and it deserves our time and love. We want the best amalgamation of their great content and ours.

Every single day is different – every single email is different, so I’m kept on my toes. I was the producer on Xi and that was the happiest and proudest point of my working life, but there’s more exciting stuff to come and I’m sure we can top it.

I’d love to see more women working in the games industry and I’m working with a non-profit organisation called Women in Games Jobs. There has been a general feeling in the past that development isn’t something women are interested in. The same could be said for playing games but that is changing, especially with the rise of social and facebook games. They are a hook to get more girls involved in short bursts and interested in longer games. It’s not a case that we need to start making games for girls; we need to show more of them what already exists and getting them involved.

Although I had played a few games when I was younger, I went to a girls’ school where nobody else played and it wasn’t really part of my world. My first real exposure to computer science was at uni and I decided to change my course to a BSc in multimedia and digital systems at Sussex. I’ll never forget seeing Photoshop for the first time; I had never realised that computers and art could be combined in such a neat way.

My careers advisor suggested I try computer game testing, which sounded like great fun and it paid better than a supermarket job. It turned out I was pretty good at it, or at least better than I thought I was going to be. I would always try and ferret around into every nook and cranny of a game level and I was constantly breaking game builds which is apparently a sign of a good tester.

Testing is a great route for anyone looking to get a job in games because you get to learn the hardware and a few tricks of the software that give you a good grounding. You also get to meet lots of different people and a large part of being a producer is people skills. It helps if you have a computer science background and have an idea of how game design works, although I suspect that’s instinct that comes through actually playing games.

I’m still an avid gamer and it’s no bad thing that part of my job is keeping up with what people are playing. I try to do as much as I can during the evenings – I go to comedy clubs with friends and I passionately love films. In the last year I have re-discovered a passion for science so I’ve started listening to Podcasts, going to talks and exhibits.

The last thing I tend to do in the evenings is watch some House, which I am totally addicted to.

Join the Conversation

Add a Comment

But don't be a jerk!

Please be kind, considerate, and constructive. For other topics, head to our Forums. Report inappropriate comments to us_playstation_blog_moderation@sony.com

43 Comments

13 Author Replies

  • Would love to see some more posts like this. Any chance there might be a Video tours :p?

    • This is the first in a series of six and I’ve been speaking to some interesting people just today, so looking forward to get those written up. The video tour is a nice idea, although I worry the SCEE offices are a bit more boring than people might expect!

  • i would love a job at sony i would just love it love it love it love it love it :D & work along side all the people tht make ps3 happen including the legendary blog manager Mr.Gallagher him self :P LOL

  • our table football is better in our office!!

    • That’s been replaced with table tennis now. You can’t see it that well but the dark things next to it are amazing GT5 pods.

  • Now these are the posts I love! It would be AWESOME to work for SCEE. I could just see you James being my boss, at least I would be able to ask all my questions to you face to face. Any jobs for 19 year olds? lol

  • I’d love to get into testing but there’s nothing around where i live :(

  • So here is the Uk focused, self indulging SCEE headquarter.
    It does explain why PSN isn´t up to Sony competitors network and where the money went in a over compensating building on a very expensive location.
    Looks nice, how´s the food?

    So, any news about the promised, and highly overdue, protection promised due to my stolen identity?

  • its coz im a nice guy james & NOT a hater or troll i dunno how u put up with some ppls comments on the blog ill be pulling my hair out :P & do u really think u could beat any1 on fifa ?? u haven’t played me yet i did comment on the PS store update yesterday bout it but theres been no replys ATM hopefully ross withh reply sortly. peace !

  • Now this is a very interesting article.
    It’s always interesting to read about inside stuff.
    I care about my hobby in not only consuming games, but also knowing what’s going on in the business in general.

    @ OttoT

    Wow, you seem to have a very negative attitude, don’t you?!
    No need to insult the people doing these articles.
    If you dislike Sony so much, maybe you should try 360.
    As you consider it superior, I am sure you are happy to pay extra to play online.

  • Nice 2 get an peek ov were all the magic happens :)

  • hey is hogs of war coming too ps store

  • hey i keep getting an error when entering Home while my mate is getting in no bother it started eariler while in the new UFC space, please help

  • Nice! It would also be great to see the ppl associated with the name and job… it would give PSN a lot more personality.

    However I can understand, if someone doesn’t want his face shown to the interwebs…

  • i have been in that canteen when resident evil 5 1st came out! :) i see it’s changed a little bit though.

  • ok you win we have table tennis as well but no GT5 pods :)

  • Who wouldn’t love to work there….?

    Now, I know this is off topic, but please answer me this… is there any chance that the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World game is going to have a Plus discount any time soon? Or maybe even be a Plus freebie!? I want to buy the game, but I’ll wait if something good is coming… Thanks!

  • wow no wonder you dont get much done having things like that to do all i get in work is a pokey break machine and a shit tasting water cooler i envy you guys there i went to college, done my courses, and my works is [Deleted]…..

    time to look for annother job methinks also its london so its got to have a waste of money HQ piontless comerade stalin/Lenin would be turning in his grave………..

  • Oh snap, crackle & pop! them multi-coloured chairs are like AWESOMENESS especially for some canteen to go eat your lunch in I want them for sure. Plus come on I think anyone would love to work in a smart, smexy, beautiful building as SCEE. Then you have the wonderful fine people like yourself Mr. Gallagher who keeps us all to date the beer is on me this time Gallagher for your hard work and enthusiasm towards your job you go to. Well done to you & the rest of the hard working development & departments. Plus I would like to say this “orton131” I wouldn’t look at trying to gain in the Game Industry I’m exactly the same as you mate being 19 and all I want to do is join the Game Industry. I’ve spent the last 3 years in college education studying IT – Website Development, Customising Application Software, Graphic Design, IT Maintenance etc. Now I’m currently looking at Apprenticeship that is where you should go mate since the Apprenticeship is for IT Academy called Zenos the UK’s leading provider of IT Academy the Apprenticeship isn’t very long but would surely help steer you towards the Game Industry since you will get qualifications look on there site mate. Zenos.com plus they give you free Training & stuff.

    • Thanks for the nice words and good tip on that website. For anyone keen to work in games, I’d say it’s more possible than you might think. The industry is growing and that will hopefully lead to more jobs for those with the right skills. Figure out what you want to do, what you need to do to get there and go for it.

  • @Denyer87
    Wait,game companies still hire testers? You’d never of guessed by some of the tat that makes it out.

  • good post james the 1st of 6 eh i like face to face so we can say to each SCEE member 1 easy question……

    why is our region so Crap getting content? & for Ali a easy question for her…….

    why is EU home craper then SCEA home? :P

  • Apart from the two James’ and Ross, is there anyone at SCEE with a normal name ;)

  • Were was this Photo taken, the place looks so modern and nice, unlike certain parts of my College lol

  • @OttoT

    It had been available all the time, however it’s too late to redeem it now.

    http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2011/05/17/details-of-snee-scees-identity-theft-protection-programme/

    The website that had been communicated here was

    France – http://www.fraudprotect.fr

    for France…

    So I don’t get all your hate. It had been communicated and there had been enough time to redeem this service if you wanted…

  • Is someone going to ever address this : where is the PS+ content for Australia for July?

  • Nice!
    Thanks for this post. Looking forward to the next few on this
    :)

  • @EmperorLawlight

    I can only assume, but itmight be that you are a WELCOME BACK PS+ user. In this case you have only access to the june content, while the july content is already up and running for normal PS+ users. Otherwise I have to pass that question to someone else. Sorry, but I hope this information helps in any kind…

  • No, I’m a full-fee paying PS+ user (been one since month 1). This has been posted by several people who access the Australian store already. There is no Golden Axe, nor any Soul Reaver. The only thing we got are minis, avatars and dynamic themes. And conveniently, all of our posts have been ignored.

  • A very well written article. It’s good to see what people do in their working lives.
    One small problem.
    Well, a BIG problem really.
    Nowhere does Ali actually mention that she uses the product she is responsible for – Home. And it shows.
    Another less than sparkling release of both public and personal spaces yesterday.
    Maybe this comes from trying to push the envelope of Homes capabilities?
    How can you be a manager for a product, and not actually use it?

    This, I think is a problem with all SCE management. They are happy to get their names mentioned in Games credits (Kaz Hirai anyone?), but are responsible for some really shoddy end products

  • @EmperorLawlight

    Oh I see, since there is no mention that Castle Crashers isn’t available to you, I only assume that Soul Reaver never saw the australian store. If I am wrong again, well then I hope this problem get sorted out for the Australian ppl as fast as possible.

    Hope you get your “paid” soon.

  • Great to see a glimpse into SCEE and Ami’s career.

    As entry level jobs go, testing is fun, but so far as career progression is concerned, if you don’t go into QA with a decent degree and keep on the lookout for a way out you’ll end up stuck there forever.

    Devs will hate you for “breaking their game”, consumers will always play a game you tested to death, find one little issue and then run to the nearest forum saying “did anyone even test this?” and anyone on the business side of the company will see you only as a “cost” department so any contributions you do make are only seen as minimising the enourmous drag effect that QA is perceived to have on profits.

    If you like long hours, never being thanked, and being amongst the lowest paid people in the industry, then I can’t recommend a career in testing highly enough.

    On the other hand, if you want respect, money and appreciation, then get out of QA as quickly as you can.

    Don’t get me wrong, if you have the qualifications already, then a job in QA can be a “foot in the door” but if you’re expecting to walk in and be “discovered”. Forget it.

    • Interesting comment. I never came into the industry via that route – I was a sports journalist and then I moved to PlayStation as a junior content producer on eu.playstation.com. But I am arranging one of these interviews with one of the QA managers so I’ll ask him about the working conditions.

  • Well done, Sony has another fancy building, now get on with some work and improve this god damn service, it’s severely lacking! >:(

  • [QUOTE=James G.]The video tour is a nice idea, although I worry the SCEE offices are a bit more boring than people might expect![/QUOTE]
    lol

    Video Tour would be interesting.

  • Really interesting post.

    Also love the video tour idea although i fear my imagination-SCEE may not be what it is actually like :P

  • could you please tell me who is responsible for the UFC space and all of its accompanying bugs and server errors, SO I CAN SHOOT THEM IN THE FACE!! >:(

  • @James

    Admit it, you don’t want to see us all the crazy stuff going on. Like the magic tree game, where the games grow for all PlayStation branded devices … and the allgrowing content pile Ross is supposedly to sit on … not to talk about Sly Coopers UK hideout and many wonderous things more…

    TL;DR: Show us the Video Game equivalent of Charlies Chocolate Factory… :D

  • i’d love to work for Sony q&a. although i don’t have any major qualifications at 28 but it would be an amazing dream for me. especially seen as SCEE studio cambridge is not to far from me. I’m glad to see articles like this as it give us a glimpse behind the scences instead of just a logo if that makes sense.

  • This…
    This is a great post! Nice job guys n gals at SCEE. Much like the rest of the above I would love to be working to SCEE (Christmas, birthday and Feast day all rolled in to one). However I notice that there aren’t any Human Resources job options. Do these kind of jobs exist within SCEE or would I be better looking at Sony for them?

  • Subscribe to PS+ again cheapo!

  • i think all the people here want to see a video cuz no one like to read LOL

  • I really enjoyed reading your post James. I’m looking forward to the next installments. Working within the games industry would be my dream job. I used to pester rockstar games in Lincoln for a job, but had no joy.

  • hi james,

    the idea of some kind of video of interviews would be very interesting to watch. when i was reading the article about the lady being a producer on the xi project, memories came flooding back lol. the xi project was fantastic to play, it made you use your nugget more to solve puzzles and stuff. the idea of a simular project like xi would be a great idea for those who didnt get to play xi because they never had a ps3. anyway just a thought.

    cheers

  • ps. come to think of it, got an idea for a competition, winner gets a job at sony. or winners, james this could be interesting and fun. i know ill do my best to win it.

  • Will there be any profiles from the other SCEE offices?

Leave a Reply

Please enter your date of birth.