With an $18.4 billion market in the U.S., the video game industry is big business in today’s economy, propelled by technological advances that make games more interactive and popular among users of all ages.
Earlier this year, Mihaylo grad Matthew Slagle ’15 (entertainment and hospitality management) joined the overwatch team at Blizzard Entertainment, a major Irvine-based video game developer and publisher, as coordinator of global publishing.
The former member of Cal State Fullerton’s Behind the Scenes entertainment and hospitality club and director of corporate relations for the Business Inter-Club Council (BICC) discusses what it’s like to work in the video game industry, how his previous career and academic experience has prepared him for his current role, and tips on how to get started in the entertainment industry.
What are your main responsibilities at Blizzard Entertainment?
In my current role, my day-to-day focus is on marketing strategy and relations with our international regions. This includes brand guidance, internal collaboration systems management, creative marketing execution and community (social) engagement.
Over the past five years, you have had roles with The Irvine Company, Fox, Warner Bros., DreamWorks Animation and the Walt Disney Company. Discuss your journey and how you ended up working at Blizzard.
My journey began in college working full-time at The Disneyland Resort as a merchandise cashier and eventually a merchandise supervisor. My first passion was to lead a career in the hospitality industry for Disney, but things changed when I was offered an opportunity to intern at DreamWorks Animation. During my time at DreamWorks, I found my passions changing and vowed I would never allow myself to be defined by a “dream job” or single interest.
After working at DreamWorks, more doors opened for further opportunities with Warner Bros. Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox. Looking back at my previous roles, I understand the most important contributor for opportunities were the face-to-face relationships I fostered with industry mentors and friends.
After the conclusion of my last internship, I started my first post-graduate job at 20th Century Fox. During my time at Fox, I was no longer exposed solely to the North American market, but was working with international regions that have very different cultures and economies. I truly cherished my time at Fox, but love and life intervened and I moved back to Orange County.
During this move, I accepted a contract assignment with The Irvine Company. During my assignment, I began searching for a full-time role, and reached out to a former DreamWorks Animation recruiter who happened to now work for Blizzard Entertainment. After the recruiter’s recommendation and a few interviews, I was offered my current role at Blizzard! I truly believe interviews are not solely measured by prior experience, but also by personality and how well you fit with the team you’re interviewing with.
What is it like working at a video game company?
Blizzard Entertainment is about the people and quality of the games we produce. What guides me is staying true to Blizzard’s eight pillars:
- Gameplay first
- Commitment to quality
- Play nice – play fair
- Embrace your inner geek
- Every voice matters
- Think globally
- Lead responsibly
- Learn and grow
What can students or alumni planning careers in the entertainment industry do to stand out in the field?
- Never allow your relationships to become transactional.
- Networking is not a numbers game, but it is about the value of the relationships you build after the networking event.
- Always try to learn from those around you. Never stop asking questions.
What is your dream job?
I don’t believe in dream jobs. Instead, I’m motivated by working in an industry that creates stories and memories that last a lifetime.
For More on Entertainment and Hospitality Management
Mihaylo’s Center for Entertainment and Hospitality Management (formerly the Entertainment & Tourism Management Center) prepares students for career opportunities by supporting the college’s related academic program, offering networking events and supporting Behind the Scenes, a student club offering career development support and social activities. For more information, visit the center online or at SGMH 5284.