From Passion to Profession: Aidan Karabaich's Gaming Industry Adventure
In this episode, Eden and Kevin speak with Aidan Karabaich, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Singularity 6, as he shares his journey in the gaming industry. From an early passion for video games (playing Pac-Man and never being able to beat his grandmother) and experiences at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy to his pivotal role in Riot Games' Research & Development department, Aidan provides inspiring insights into game development and design. The conversation also delves into his collaboration with Anthony Leung on their new venture, discussing their unique hiring strategy, focus on team diversity, and the decision-making process for design.
Background and introduction - Aidan Karabaich
Aidan’s experiences at the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy
Discussing project cancellations and career pivots in gaming
Tenure at Riot Games and its impact
Playtesting in game development
The concept of 'hygge' (Danish for comfort and coziness) in the Community Sim space
Karabaich and Anthony Leung's journey starting the company
Hiring strategy and the emphasis on team diversity
The use of critical thinking interviews to assess design talent
Discussing the challenges and validation processes in game development
The decision-making process for design
The role and importance of intuition in the gaming industry
Discussion on the challenges of founding a gaming startup
Don’t try to do it all, or be a hero, as a founder - it’s a marathon not a sprint
The anticipation and preparation leading up to launch
The Gaming Founders Podcast is brought to you by Eden Chen, CEO of Pragma, and Kevin Zhang, Partner at Upfront Ventures.
Pragma is a venture-backed backend game engine founded by the engineering leaders who built the platforms for some of the largest live service games including League of Legends, Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Plants vs. Zombies 2. Pragma powers services like accounts, matchmaking and player data for the world’s most ambitious live service games. Eden Chen is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Pragma, Fishermen Labs and Lightmark Capital, and started his career in investment banking at Citigroup and Lehman Brothers.
Founded in 1996 in Los Angeles with investing professionals based in LA and SF, Upfront Ventures has backed startup teams across all technology sectors, with about half in Southern California, and the rest across the US and Europe. Kevin Zhang is an avid gamer and former neurobiology researcher who leads gaming and healthcare investments at Upfront Ventures, including Pragma.