Graduate success story: Raw Games

Name: Matt Clark, Sam Cobley, John Tearle
Course: BA (Hons) Computer Games Design
Year of Graduation: 2010

Video gaming has been a lucrative industry worldwide since the 1980s and Matt Clark, Sam Cobley and John Tearle are not alone in having spent a large part of their childhood engrossed in games consoles.

However, few people can claim to have made a career out of their favourite pastime, let alone a successful business with financial backing from a major firm and interest from nearly a quarter of a million consumers – without actually having a product on the shelves.

Raw Games is a computer games company which was formed in June 2010 by John, Matt and Sam. The three friends met at the University of Wolverhampton whilst studying the same course and had all wanted to get into the industry for some time, as Sam explains:

“Computer Games Design is one of those dream jobs I always wanted to do but hadn’t seriously considered as a career. After I left school I got involved in the computer modifying community and realised that I wanted to make games for the rest of my life. I didn’t have any formal qualifications in the area and saw the University offered a degree to give me the best chance of breaking into the industry.”

Commercial success

Less than a year after it was founded Raw Games received the backing of AIM-listed Legendary Investments, which acquired an initial 42.5 per cent equity stake for an undisclosed sum. The company’s first game, which is currently under development, is called ‘The Spire’ and has already generated a rush of excitement in the market. A teaser trailer for the game received more than 230,000 views within the first week of release.

Raw Games also works closely with universities in the region, including Wolverhampton and Birmingham, to help games development students and recent graduates get the right skills they need to break into the industry. John emphasises the trio is keen to acknowledge the skills and experiences they gained from undertaking their degree.

“Our time at University gave us some great experience with project and resource management. As we did lots of group work we soon became an efficient team who met deadlines and produced results. Obviously this has proved invaluable when running our own company and managing a team of developers.”

Team players

The team is also aware their success in the current financial climate is something of a rarity, especially in the notoriously competitive games industry and with very little business experience between them, as John adds:

“Starting our own business seemed to be a success story Raw Games Graduate success story great way to break into the industry whilst maintaining creative control over the project we had worked so hard on during our final year.”

Matt highlights that a big part of the group’s success is their working relationship and their shared history as students.

“The immediate difference is that they aren’t just my work colleagues, they are my best friends. We get along like any close group of University mates would do, which makes the working atmosphere less tense and more productive. I’m a strong believer in a relaxed working environment when it comes to the creative industries. It’s very exciting to be working with people who are as passionate as you about making games.”

Raising their game

Although the team is currently working on their eagerly anticipated release ‘The Spire’, their plans for the future reflect their enthusiasm for the constant advancements within the industry they are now a part of, as Matt says:

“We want to continue to make top quality content for our games. Our team is highly skilled already, but there is always room for improvement. Having that positive attitude will hopefully attract more people with equally as much talent and commitment to developing content for current and future projects here at Raw Games.”

Teamwork is ultimately what the three entrepreneurs credit the most for their success, and forms a major part of the advice they give to students wishing to follow in their footsteps, as Sam says:

“Get involved with a group project as soon as possible, either with fellow students or one of the many computer modifying teams out there. It will provide you with great team working skills whilst teaching you the development process and make you attractive to employers. Finally, always strive to be the best and don’t give up!”