Hello again. PlatinumGames President and CEO Kenichi Sato here!
As we approach mid-May, we at PlatinumGames find ourselves in a completely new situation. How about all of you out there? I hope you’re all doing well in these difficult circumstances.
More than a month has passed since my last blog post, and unfortunately it doesn’t look like we’re any closer to the end of the tunnel. In some parts of the world, they’ve relaxed their stay-at-home measures a bit and tried those first steps back to the way things were before the coronavirus outbreak. Still, it’s too early for anyone to let their guard down all the way.
I’m deeply saddened by the rising number of deaths from coronavirus, including a number of beloved celebrities whose deaths have been major news across Japan.. My prayers and condolences are with those of you who’ve lost loved ones to the pandemic. I promise that PlatinumGames will do everything we can to prevent its further spread.
The government of Japan recently announced that they’ve extended the nationwide state of emergency for another month. In fact, PlatinumGames has already decided to extend our period of working from home even further than that. As I write this, all PG employees—including yours truly—are working from home, and will continue to do so until the end of June. None of us are disease experts, but we’re cooperating with government guidelines and constantly discussing how we can do the best we can as a company.
Developing video games is a team effort, and communication flourishes when the team can come together in the same office. When you’re close together, it’s easier to stay up to speed with what everyone is working on, greet people face-to-face, and read the general mood. Working from home, everyone is in their own separate environment, physically removed from everyone else. Solving the communication problems that arise from this separation is critical to remote game development. This goes double at PlatinumGames, where our work style heavily depends on communication between different departments.
Luckily, this era of technology puts many convenient communication tools at our disposal. We may not be able to share an office, but by taking advantage of these tools—and, of course, keeping a close eye on information security—we’re working hard to recreate the atmosphere of cooperation and communication that makes PlatinumGames what it is.
Most of us have never had to develop a game while working completely remotely before. It’s an extremely new experience, and that means new stresses, even outside of communication issues. But on the other hand, it also brings opportunities for our creators to explore a whole new style of working, creating, and evolving. Our work environment may have changed, but our commitment to creating new, fun games for you to play has not.
Okay, time to catch you up on all the new goings-on since my last post!
I’ve mentioned PlatinumGames TOKYO, our new office space and development hub in Tokyo, before. Unfortunately, we’ve had to postpone the grand opening, but the office itself is complete and ready for us to return. You can see some pictures here! We”ll be ready to move forward with PlatinumGames TOKYO once the coronavirus situation calms down.
As I’ve said before, our goal in establishing PlatinumGames TOKYO is to boost PG’s development power. It’s our best effort to harness the game development ability of both Osaka and Tokyo. We’ve already gotten more applications from people eager to work at our new Tokyo hub than we expected—I’m humbled by all your enthusiasm. Though we’re all working from home now, please note that we’re still hiring! We may have to conduct our job interviews over video conferencing now, but if you’re passionate about game development and interested in PlatinumGames, we’d love to meet you all the same. Keep an eye on the PG Blog, and I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we’re back on track to reopen our offices!
In April, we welcomed our latest group of fresh graduate hires as usual. This time around, though, we held a special “socially distant” version of our company entrance ceremony. Every year, our graduate hires start their new careers with an extended orientation and research period that eases them into making games, Platinum-style. But this year’s hires only tasted a little bit of this typically extensive program before we switched over to working from home.
Starting a career is always challenging, but I know it’s exceptionally tough for our new colleagues, who practically found themselves working from home as soon as they walked through the door. An eager young game developer usually shows up to work and sits down at a shiny, new computer set up just for them, among experienced developers ready to show them the ropes. This year is entirely different, but unfortunately there’s nothing we can do but ask our newcomers to grin and bear it. I’m looking forward to being able to work side-by-side with them, and I hope there’s some way we can repay them for the sacrifices they’re making now. More updates on this going forward, too!
As people all over the world stay at home, they look more and more towards digital entertainment content: streaming movies, video games, and so on. It really goes to show the true importance of play in our lives. PlatinumGames will continue doing our best to keep our staff safe and healthy as we endeavor to provide that play.
Here’s wishing you health and happiness until next time!
President and CEO
Kenichi Sato was born in Tokyo in 1962.
Though he began working for Isetan Department Stores in 1986, he changed careers to work in the video games industry in 1996 when he joined Sega Enterprises (now Sega) as a member of the Dreamcast marketing team. In 2000 he was brought on board as a founding member and general manager at Cavia (now Marvelous). In 2006, Sato founded ODD Ltd., the company that would later become PlatinumGames.
A key member of PlatinumGames from the very beginning, Sato stepped into the role of president and CEO in April 2016.