EA exec encourages women to jump into gaming industry
Self- proclaimed geek Marija Radulovic- Nastic leads team that tests and certifies new video games
Marija Radulovic- Nastic’s love of video games started with games like Pong. Then it was Donkey Kong and Space Invaders. Years later, she fell in love with what she now considers to be the best video game of all times, the extreme snowboarding racing game Snowboard Supercross 3, by Electronic Arts.
So eight years ago, she thought, “Why not try getting a job at EA?” And so she did, and never looked back.
Today, Radulovic- Nastic, a self- proclaimed geek, is the VP of Central Development Services at EA Canada. Based in Burnaby, she oversees everything from the testing and certifying of games to making sure that games are a fit for different markets. She leads a team of 1,500 people around the world.
“There was something very attractive for me in the gaming industry,” said RadulovicNastic, who spent years in the software industry after moving to Vancouver from Belgrade. “That opportunity to work with both brilliant engineers and technical people, and on the other hand, there is a very strong artistic component.”
The Minerva Foundation for BC Women is honouring Radulovic- Nastic this year with an award for leadership and excellence in the technology industry.
“Many of the women we serve in our programs are immigrants who have great leadership skills and a motivation to do well and help others,” said Minerva’s chief executive officer, Fiona Douglas- Crampton. “Marija is an inspiring example for these women — she immigrated from Serbia, and has carved out a successful career in the male- dominated field of game development. She is also very aware of her role as mentor and champion for women who want to attain leadership roles, and has donated much of her time to helping others succeed.”
As she sits in her office, it’s not hard to see why RadulovicNastic loves her job.
There are three different game consoles at one end, and a huge Homer Simpson stuffed
Many of the women we serve in our programs are immigrants who have great leadership skills and a motivation to do well and help others.
FIONA DOUGLAS- CRAMPTON CEO, THE MINERVA FOUNDATION FOR B. C. WOMEN
doll ( EA makes a Simpsons game) at the other. The office is in a brightly lit building where the executive lounge is an oldschool arcade, game consoles can be found on every floor, employees dress comfortably in jeans and hooded sweatshirts, and the elevator doors are splashed with the logos of upcoming video games.
The lover of sports video games says she is always happy to mentor those who aspire to break into the video game industry.
But it’s not all fun and games, she said. The extensive travelling required of her position can be tiresome, and working in a highly competitive industry means long hours and constantly needing to be on top of her, well, game.
And while working in a mostly male- dominant industry was never an issue for her, the fact that she is often one of the few women holding a senior position is certainly noticeable.
Luckily, times are changing, she said.
“Seven, eight years ago, when you say gamer, you’re either a hardcore PC gamer or … Xbox, or PlayStation gamer,” she said. “Today, gamer means you play mobile games — you play on your iPod or iPhone. If you can flick your finger, you’re a gamer. All of a sudden it’s way more accessible to broader demographics.”
Radulovic- Nastic says mobile games such as Angry Birds or Farmville means even more women are getting into gaming. And as the market changes, so does the hiring.
Thus, her advice for young women wanting to get into video game development?
“Definitely go for it. Absolutely go for it.”