At East Side Games, we often talk about our origin story. We like to share the details of our scrappy, start-up beginnings, our lessons learned, as well as our failures along the way. We are pretty open about who we are and what got us to where we are today.
What you likely don’t know, is what came prior to that. Before mobile games were just a tap away on our mobile phones and long before the term “start-up” existed, one of our co-founders and CEO, Josh Nilson, was a little Métis kid growing up in Willow River. This small community is located northeast of Prince George and has just under 150 residents. You see, not everyone who starts a game company is from a big city.
The gaming industry looks vastly different than it did 10 years ago. There is a position for virtually every interest and skill set at any given studio.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you are from, or what advantages you have been given in life. Start with something that you are passionate about and willing to work really fucking hard at. Then, you have to find your own opportunities.
If you ask Josh, he shares, “I would have loved to have been able to go to university for 5-6 years, but that wasn’t an option for me. Instead, I learned about running a business by managing kitchens with razor thin profit margins. I was able to understand the importance of providing exceptional customer service while working at hotel chains like the Fairmont. I was able to learn all of those ideals and qualities, and bring that with me when creating my own business. At the end of the day its always about the customer and providing that exceptional experience. Using this experience as a base, I was able to get my foot in the door in the tech sector, and was then mentored by some of the most amazing entrepreneurs, who got me to where I am today”.
At East Side Games, we strive every day to bring education and opportunities to those who might not have been given the same chances in life as others. With a special focus on Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ+, and women in tech, ESG is bringing tech and games to people who might not get to experience them otherwise.
Why is this important? In BC, Indigenous Peoples account for 6% of the total population, yet represent less than 1% of the total BC Tech Sector. And the number of those holding leadership/executive positions is a fraction of that. Why aren’t we talking about this?
“As the youngest and fastest growing demographic in Canada, this gap presents a massive opportunity for Indigenous peoples to assert themselves as a vital component to BC’s goal of becoming a world leader in the digital economy.’ – First Nations Technology Council.
At East Side Games, we have used this mission as a guide to inform our business goals, company roadmap, employee benefit decisions, and sponsorship funding. Look out world, we are just getting started!