This weeks 20 Questions will be with Dan Sheridan (EA UK Marketing Battlefield, BioWare, Need for Speed & Titanfall) @EA_ActionMan.
Thoughts of the competition between the UK and the USA— police procedures, living standards, video games, laws, all crossed my mind. I read numerous articles on the all the aforementioned items and found it all quite boring. What I did find very interesting was that while United Kingdom and Canada continue to give tax breaks to game developers, the United States of America is trying to limit what companies get tax breaks.
The intended laws purpose would be “preventing makers of violent video games from qualifying for the R&D tax credit”. This seems to sound like that any company that makes a violent video game, regardless of what else they may make, would be excluded from the tax break. Quite the opposite of the Supreme Court’s decision that video games do qualify for the First Amendment protection back in 2011.
The reason I bring this up, and no its not to bore you with more tax talk during this tax season, it’s to point out that we are a gaming community. A community. As such, we can reach out and talk to others, ask questions, speak up, vote, write, and share experiences. We have so many opportunities around us in everything; let’s plug in our mics, open our eyes and ears, and listen, help, or just share with someone today!
Moving on to the 20Qs with Dan Sheridan [DS] (these are his opinions!)
1.What was your first video game? And online one?
[DS] My first video game was Punchy on the Commodore 16, it was my uncles system that I managed to inherit along with my cousins. We used to take it in turns to see how far we could get. My first online game was something called Acrophobia over IRC – I’m waiting patiently for someone to remake this as a mobile game.
2.What was that first experience on (first video game) like to you?
[DS] It was fun competing with my cousins. I remember we used to log our scores on a piece of paper – retro gaming at it’s best. Although as a child I was encouraged to spend time outside and play sport – so gaming only featured when we were all together at family events and we needed to be entertained on a rainy day.
3.Rainbow 6 Three changed gaming forever for me, how did (first online video game) change you?
[DS] Playing Acrophobia you needed to be able to type fast to get maximum points. I actually taught myself to touch type playing that game. I’m not sure if I do it correctly – but I can now type pretty quickly. It’s also useful when playing FPS on PC as I can play without having to glance down.
4.Robert Bowling, Jason West, and Vince Zampella have done fantastic jobs listening to the community and applying it to a game/system for use with its users, should other companies be studying/applying this to their projects?
[DS] Yes & I think we do a good job here too. I’m backed up by a team of community specialists who work around the clock to ensure that we are always engaging with our community. Whether that’s taking feedback, answering questions or providing support and we do this across social media and Battlelog.
5.Social media is shaping the way we play and interact with games, what do you see as biggest advantages and disadvantages may be?
[DS] Seeing feedback in real time is awesome – being able to engage directly with fans only helps us to make better games. I always enjoy seeing a developer getting involved with the community and giving insights. Shout out to @dirtydeathdog (Battlefield Hardline Lead MP Design) and @tiggr_ (DICE LA Producer) who do a great job on Twitter / Battlelog.
6.Are you from the UK originally? Where are you from? when did you move?
[DS] Yes, I’m from a city called Preston in a county called Lancashire. Located in the North West of England. I moved to London in 1997 for university and didn’t move back home after. I now live in East London with my wife, and our EA office is in Guildford. I enjoy the daily commute it enables me to catchup on my mobile gaming.
7.What do you miss the most other than family and friends?
[DS] I miss Northern food delicacies like; Chips n’ Gravy, Chorley Cakes, Barm Cakes and my grandad’s bacon. My family own a bacon factory :)
8.What are the biggest differences in gamers between the UK and USA?
[DS] I see no differences between UK & US gamers.
9.Competitive gaming in general are alot bigger in the UK, when the amount of players is greater here, why such a difference?
[DS] I would say the opposite. I’m not an expert when it comes to eSports – it’s great to see the support for it growing in the UK beyond PC and onto consoles. ESL are doing a great job supporting tournaments and events on Battlefield 4.
10.What are your thoughts on violence in video games? would you let your 5 year old play GTA, Hardline or a BF?
[DS] I’m one of the unlucky guys who can’t have a family. Learn more. – if I did manage to bring a child into the world, then I would respect the age ratings. They are there for a reason.
11.What is your favorite online map in a fps and why? and BF map? (if not one)
[DS] I love the carnage of Operation Metro and Operation Locker on Battlefield 4. Although I’ve got special memories of Battlefield Bad Company 2 Vietnam’s Operation Hastings from when I ran an online tournament with Xbox’s @AceyBongos called ‘Dog’s of ‘nam’ – love that game!
12.What game is in your console right now ?
[DS] Battlefield 4. I’m doing a weekly Battlefield stream called ‘Battlefield Weekly’ and need the practice – you should check it out. there is a running joke that I don’t have a great K/D so I focus on my D/K ratio and I always score more points by PTFO!
13.What is your go to vehicle when mobbing with friends online?
[DS] Tank or transport chopper.
14. Mash up map, if you could merge two BF maps which two would you merge?
[DS] Tricky one – Damavand Peak from Battlefield 3, I love the jump off the edge of the cliff, a great use of the parachutes. At the bottom of the cliff I would put Valparaiso from Battlefield Bad Company 2, for an epic Rush battle.
[BM] Hainan resort and Zavod 311, they’re my two favorite vanilla maps!
[P4D] Mine would be Davad Peak on top of metro match B to B.
[DM] Oh, that’s a good one. Propaganda on top with a subterranean Operation Locker.
15.What was your favorite game and why?
[DS] Battlefield – been on it since 1942. I’m very passionate about the games, the community and I very much enjoy the job I do! Getting to work alongside my game dev heroes everyday is awesome. I’ve learned a lot in the past 8.5 years which makes me more appreciative of the time and effort developers put into making the best games they possibly can!
16.What was your favorite old school game released before next gens (before ps3/Xbox360) and why?
[DS] Star Wars Battlefront on the PS2. I put many hours into that game. It’s funny as I look back – I was rocking a 1mb connection at the time. To get online you had to put a network adapter on the back of the PS2 & connect it to your router. Then load a separate network disc in the console & then swap it out for the game. 8 vs 8 online and 16 vs 16 at LAN parties. I can now relive the old days on my PS Vita – which is good.
I’m a bit of a Star Wars geek. I think my wife thinks I’m bonkers. I wear Star Wars Vans (shoes) to work, I have a Chewbacca bath robe, Yoda slippers, Storm Trooper alarm clock and a full size Darth Vader replica lightsaber. In the cupboard I have a replica Boba Fett helmet – I occasionally get it out when I need to feel like a badass! At the weekend just gone I introduced my wife to the films and we watched Episode I > V back-to-back with VI still to watch. All part of our preparations for the new film coming out later in the year. I’m also extremely excited to see that DICE are developing a Star Wars Battlefront game. As you can imagine I’m one very happy Star Wars geek!
17. If you owned your own company what would your next game be? pitch it to us in one paragraph.
[DS] I’m not sharing my company secrets with you! Watch this space :)
18.Do you think that game makers have a right to police users on social media?
[DS] Social media moderation is an important part of a community managers day-to-day. Rather than policing the channels we are making sure that we are actively listening & interacting with the community.
19. If you could ask one person from history 3 questions, what would you ask and who?
[DS] I’m a published writer of poems, plays and short stories. I would like to ask William Shakespeare 3 questions:
1. My English literature teacher used to tell me off for writing your name as Bill / Willy Shakespeare – tell me something are you cool with me doing so?
2. Romeo & Juliet was a classic tragedy. Did you write an alternative ending where they just lived happily ever after?
3. You inspired me to write, who / what inspired you to write?
20.As a community manager what would you like to see more of from the community?
[DS] I love seeing the cosplay, fan art, songs & videos the community produces inspired by our games. More of this please!
21.What do you see coming to gaming in the next 10, 15 years..
[DS] What if I told you… The Matrix or affordable virtual reality! That has to be the next big thing in everyone’s living room.
Thanks for reading folks, till next time plug in your mic and play with someone!
Editorial Note: Every few weeks I will be doing a 20 Questions piece, with some questions from you and some from around the net. If you have some suggestions for questions or folks to play 20Q with, please let me know.