CB100 pathways through gaming and beyond, with Mark McGinley

The necessity of building and maintaining a strong network is a familiar construct among numerous industries, and is certainly one that is not lost in the gaming community.

However, among the multitude of strategies and expert tutorials on how best to achieve such a goal, is the question of: how much do you know about your network? With this in mind, CasinoBeats is aiming to take a look under the hood, if you will, and has tasked the 100 Club to help out.

Mark McGinley, FunFair Games Chief Executive Officer, revealed the three different avenues presented to him after completing his A-Levels, his first six-months or so in charge and how the company is looking to enter a new vertical in the igaming to differentiate itself from others in the sector. 

Starting where it all began for McGinley, he noted that his career to date has “been quite an interesting ride”, one that had his mother “absolutely up the walls”. 

“As a new supplier in that space doing non-traditional content you’re immediately in a minority as a supplier…”

Reminiscing on the completion of his A-Levels, the FunFair CEO revealed that his original plan of attack was to go down to London and develop his education by training to be a PE Teacher. However, after finishing education, he didn’t want to delve into another five-years of learning straight away so decided to take a year out. 

Explaining his experience, McGinley stated: “I took the year out in 1996 and I remember applying for three different jobs, one was to train to be Hotel Manager, one to train to be a Print Manager in a big print factory where I lived in Wakefield and the other one was to be a QA tester, testing games at Team17 Software.

“I’d been a gamer all my younger years, I’d grown up playing games, had a huge passion for video games, usually the old fashioned ones. As it turned out, I got offered all three jobs and the QA testing job was the least paid of all three. 

“I went home to my mum and told her I was taking the least paid and she went absolutely crazy! Absolutely up the walls!

“But that was the first step onto the roads in getting into the games industry and I started at the lower level.”

Reeling off some of the games he’s had the privilege of working on, including the Futurama title, which was a memorable experience for myself growing up, he reflected stating that “lady luck was shining down” on him when he made that decision to get into games and to walk said path. 

“It’s been a long path but I’ve worked hard to get to that point but I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve had a really good career to date and I’ve met some fantastic people and worked on some great games.”

In May of this year, McGinley was named Chief Operating Officer of FunFair Games, a move that saw the firm’s CCO, Lloyd Purser, pivot to focus on the group’s venture capital business. McGinley’s role was charged with scaling the entity further still, as well as enhancing its product roadmap in a bid to accelerate its games output and global distribution. 

“We shared a mutual vision of what we wanted to do with FunFair and where we wanted to take it.”

During this six-month tenure, he noted that time has “flown by” but highlighted that the company has “covered a hell of alot of ground” in that short period, with teams being restructured and new “key” personnel coming in.

He continued: “We’re currently rethinking about how we think and how we work whilst looking at the portfolio but, I think, at a very early level when I spoke to Jeremy Longley and Lloyd Purser, they were the two people that really got me excited about what they were trying to do here at FunFair. 

“We shared a mutual vision of what we wanted to do with FunFair and where we wanted to take it. We saw a great opportunity in that non-traditional arcade marketplace and coming from video and social gaming, I could see a lot of that cross over thinking of ideas and game types.

“We’re operating in an industry that’s already very well established with game types so when you’re going up against the premium suppliers of content that are creating slots and table games, there’s a lot of familiarity there.      

“As a new supplier in that space doing non-traditional content you’re immediately in a minority as a supplier so I’d say there’s a couple of challenges.”

Delving into what the sector can expect over the next 12-months, McGinley pinpointed the fast emerging US market place while also emphasising FunFair’s shift into non-traditional arcade real-money games – labelling it as the “next generational piece”.