Rae Grimm has worked as an editor in the gaming industry for almost ten years now, wrote articles for IGN Germany, Gamespilot, WASD, and GameStar and was leading teams for different websites. After some years as head of GamePro.de, one of the leading magazines for console gaming in Germany, Rae was promoted to Editor in Chief of GamePro in July this year.
You were just promoted to Editor in Chief of GamePro, congratulations! Could you tell us a bit about your life as an editor in the gaming industry?
Thank you! My life in the gaming industry was kind of a whirlwind. I went pretty fast from being a regular editor to someone leading a team building a brand-new gaming outlet, Gamespilot, before overseeing the merger with GamePro. I basically hit the ground running and never stopped.
My job changed a lot in the last few years, as did the gaming industry and how we view games. During the time I’ve been writing about games, indie games rose, the industry became bigger but also struggled with inclusiveness, and the way we play and pay for games changed – and the way we write about it. It is an interesting job, to say the least.
Over the last years the work as an editor has changed a lot, video content is more and more important, you have many influencers that are a kind of competition for a gaming magazine and you have to write the articles more SEO-oriented than some years ago. How do you and your team adapt to those quick changes to not fall behind the competition?
That’s actually quite easy to answer: Stay flexible and always know what the user wants. It’s the core principle of our work - trying to anticipate the needs that come with a game or console. SEO is a big part of that, as it helps us analyze those needs and help readers to find what they’re looking for.
SEO is often still regarded as a “dirty word” because people claim you are “writing for Google”. That’s nonsense, of course. SEO is a tool that helps you not only to figure out what your readers actually want but helps to create articles or content that they can easily find and that fit their needs.
Putting readers and gamers front and center is easier than ever and that’s probably one of the best changes
Knowing what gamers want and need is one of the biggest challenges but also one of the most rewarding ones. The feedback is instant, either through comments or just the number side of things. You can instantly see if an article is performing well or generally working out or not and change it accordingly. Putting readers and gamers front and center is easier than ever and that’s probably one of the best changes and biggest chances in video game journalism over the last couple of years.
You are working from an editorial office based in Berlin. What are the cool benefits of running such an office in the capital?
I love Berlin. I moved here a couple of years ago for a job and fell in love, especially with the diversity and the culture. You never lack for something to see or to do in Berlin. It is an attractive (and compared at least to some other places, cheap) place to work, so hiring new people usually isn’t much of an issue. Our offices are in Kreuzberg, so getting around is quite easy, although we’ve been in home office for a while now because of the current situation.
As a woman in the gaming industry, do you think the industry is on a good way to gender equality and what obstacles have to be overcome?
The last few years have been an uphill battle in that regard. Things are changing, but slowly. When I started, I often was the only woman at an event but thankfully, that has changed for the most part. It helps that more and more women are in hiring positions because that usually means that more women apply for jobs. If you see that “someone like you” has a position of power in a field you’d like to work in, you’re more likely to apply for a job in this field than otherwise.
The gaming industry is not alone in that as it’s a societal problem that has to be overcome
Despite that, equality has still a long way to go. The gaming industry is not alone in that as it’s a societal problem that has to be overcome. It’s just very glaring in gaming as in all tech-related fields, that those were and sometimes still are viewed as predominantly male.
The answer to what obstacles have to be overcome vary from the location and kind of job you’re talking about. Generally speaking, I’d say that the top priorities should be closing the gender pay gap that we still often encounter as well as creating an attractive and most of all safe space for women and minorities. That includes leaving the toxic “dude-bro-culture” of the past behind and creating effective ways for people to report harassment. The last couple of months have shown us how huge that problem still is.
During this pandemic, we all are facing these days; do you see a difference in the readership? Are people more interested in upcoming games?
Our readership grew exponentially over the past few months, partly because of the pandemic but also because we are a website focussed on console gaming and we’re on the cusp of a new console generation. But yeah, I’d say especially during lockdown people looked for ways not only to entertain themselves but also spend time with their friends and family without being able to meet them.
Games like Animal Crossing have been hugely successful because they were not only an escape but also a way to spend time with your loved ones in a very wholesome environment. People were more focussed on the social aspect of gaming than before, looking for coop games or games to play with their children.
Gaming over the last few months has been a very social experience more than ever before.
2020 is also the year of the next generation of consoles. With Microsoft and Sony, two big players will release a new device. What are your expectations?
What I’m always looking forward to with a new generation of consoles are all the new people it brings to gaming. It’s so exciting to see people experience (core) gaming for the very first time. And with that to see how the industry changes and evolves. New people means new desires and new experiences, not only on the hardware side of things but also regarding games. I’m very much looking forward to how this new generation of gamers will shape gaming.
I also expect the rift between Sony and Microsoft to close
Another thing to look forward to is how the next gen consoles will make gaming smoother. It’s not just about graphics anymore but mostly the experience like faster loading times and a lot of small changes that just make gaming a smoother experience.
I also expect the rift between Sony and Microsoft to close. The pack will be reshuffled, so to speak, and I’m excited to see what cards are being dealt.