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Graeme Selvan - The road from Xbox South Africa to Megarom Games

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Last week we said our goodbyes to one of South Africa's gaming legends, "I am Devon." He left South Africa to join the team at 2K Games as PR manager. You can check out our interview with him here. Devon was the PR manager for Megarom Games and many fear that his absence would have a significant impact on the local games industry. Those fears are understandable, as Devon played a key role in many aspects of SA gaming. However, the person replacing him brings a wealth of experience, a track record of outstanding PR work in gaming and the personality of a super hero (he regular impersonates Batman).

He is the Man from Xbox.

Join me as I chat to Graeme Selvan about the road from Xbox South Africa to Megarom Games.

A few quick questions:

How long did you work at Xbox?

I worked at Xbox for two years and three months.

How long have you been gaming?

My first console was an Atari 2600, gaming has been in my blood forever. Putting it to a number would be a staggering 25/26 years! My console ownership list is: Atari 2600, NES, Megardrive, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, DS, 3DS, n64, Gamecube, Wii, WiiU, PSP, VITA and a good few PC’s along the line also.I'm also getting the new 3DS next week.

Why did you take a career in gaming?

It happened by chance, for the majority of my career I have been a programmer and graphic designer, writing software and designing websites for online casinos. Gaming was always a pipe dream and something that I firmly believed I would not be fortunate enough to work in gaming. Thankfully life has pushed me in this direction, I do have plans to combine my skills of programming and the passion for gaming to make a game.

I am hoping to have a Kickstarter out this year. I have a talented artist and team of programmers that are looking to bring back the true magic of Lucas Arts days. We have some ideas and are working towards doing something. Watch this space!!

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How can Xbox SA improve their service to local gamers?

I think the most important issues they need to focus on here is to make sure that the XBOX ONE store has every single gaming title on it. It’s a constant battle to make sure we are up-to-date. Secondly they need to look at bringing as many local apps to the marketplace as possible, being locally relevant is important for a console like the Xbox One. And thirdly, the big elephant in the room is they need to look at ways to improve online play for Xbox One locally. While our community of gamers here is small compared to the rest of the world having the best online play on their platform would give them a major leg up the competition.

And Xbox global?

Globally I think Xbox is on the right track, appointing Phil Spencer was probably the best decision they have ever made. He is a gamer; he gets gamers, and he knows what’s important… GAMES! Moving forward Xbox has it right, they genuinely do care about what their fans think, and they are constantly working to bring them what they want.

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Highlights of your time working for Xbox?

So many! The first one is Attending E3 and Gamescom, they were an absolute blast for me, it felt surreal. Standing in those halls and being surrounded by the things that you love was a magical moment for me.

More highlights for me were when we put together the Halo and Gears of War tournaments, one of the prizes were to fly a team of four to Gamescom. Hosting the tournaments every weekend were an absolute blast! I received a few emails from the fans stating how much they loved it and how life changing it was for them. The one in particular was from a guy that could not leave his house very often due a syndrome he had. We flew him down to Johannesburg to play in the finals, for him it was life changing, and it felt great to know that I had a hand in that!

Another big one for me was this:

It’s touching to know that you can make a big difference to someone’s life, I know Keagen won’t ever forget the day he had!

Share with us some of the moments that weren’t so great

I think the hardest part for me is that I like to get stuff done today not tomorrow. I forgot that Microsoft is a big corporate wheel  that turns fairly slowly. I got very frustrated that I could not do everything I wanted to do.  I was very passionate about the brand so for me it was hard not being able to give what the rest of the world has to our local market.  

Let’s talk Megarom

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Devon and Graeme, photo by Anna-Belle Mulder

A few words from Devon: "I have absolute faith in Graeme to take my position and do some incredible things, things that I wasn't able to do myself. I look forward to working with him from 2K, and I'm sure we'll accomplish great things together."

What would you like to accomplish at Megarom?

For now I want to focus on doing my job well, Devon was great for the local industry he did so much for the gaming scene here. I think trying to keep the level up to his standard is my first goal for Megarom. When I am settled into the role more, I will have to think about what’s next.

I don’t want to share all my secrets just yet; I like to leave a few surprises...

Any plans to improve Megarom’s service to the local gaming community?

I think Megarom does a fantastic job with the local community, one of the reasons I left Xbox was due to the company having a strong team! They are gamers here, and they understand our industry well. I will look forward to learning a lot from them, personal growth is a big deal for me. I feel I am going to have a great time here.

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Graeme with Sancha Hein at Devon's farewell. Photo by Anna-Belle Mulder

What can gamers expect from Megarom in 2015?

We said this a lot at Xbox, but I think it honestly rings true here. GAMES, GAMES, GAMES! They have so many titles here. Just looking at my release list for the next three months is looking strong! I have been here one week, and our next title is Evolve, that alone should speak volumes. Megarom  always put on a good show at rAge; this year fans can still expect the same level of quality.

It’s going to be an awesome year for us! In closing I just need to wish Devon luck, I know he is reading this. You are going to kick some serious ass in the UK, don’t forget about us here in South Africa okay?

Lastly most people know that I am a true gamer, I love games on any platform, so I just have to say this in a public space… here goes…. PlayStation! *looks around nervously* But in all seriousness I am excited to be able to work with all the platforms now, I can just be a gamer again and love it for what it is, FUN! I look forward to working with the community this year; it’s going to be a good year for us (gamers).    

I've never met Mr. Selvan in person, but due to our jobs, I've spent hours with him online. He is the most helpful, friendly and pleasant person I've had the pleasure to work with. For press, he was our go-to person at Xbox South Africa and his absence there is a real concern. I've worked with most of our local gaming PR people, and Graeme is at the top. His service to the media and gamers is exceptional. Megarom Games gained a tremendously valuable asset in Graeme; Xbox South Africa lost their giant, their champion.

I heard that no one will replace Mr. Selvan at Xbox. The loss is real.

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