Womenize! Wednesday Weekly is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Maxi Gräff, Marketing Communications & Social Lead at Xbox DACH. Read more about Maxi in this interview:

Hi Maxi! You are the Marketing Communications and Social Lead for Xbox DACH. Before starting at Microsoft you’ve been mainly involved in games journalism, can you tell us about what led you to your current position?

I have been in the industry for more than 10 years (4 years at Xbox) and started out writing previews/reviews for the site gamergirls.de while I was studying PR. When I finished my bachelor I traveled to gamescom and happened to meet the editors from GameStar & GamePro who currently had a starter position in the company. There, I went through different roles like leading the “Sims Magazine” for Germany, writing articles for GamePro/GameStar and becoming a host on the YouTube Channel High5. During my work there I traveled to a lot of events, met a lot of people and created a big network with agencies, publishers and developers which led to Xbox reaching out to me for the PR Lead position in the DACH region. So my advice for new talents always is to use events to network, work hard and be visible when new opportunities come your way. My current position has changed as well, so now I am the Marketing Communications and Social Lead for Xbox and also support on an EMEA level for creating strategies and tactics/ideas for our first Party Games, Hardware and subscriptions like our Xbox Game Pass. 

During your career you’ve worked in very diverse fields. What is something you’ve learned that everybody who wants to work in the games industry should be aware of?

I guess I wrote my advice to early in the first questions ^^. So my second one would be to read all questions of an interview first…!

I get a lot of questions on how to enter the industry and one of my top advice is to identify a field you are passionate about besides gaming. Do you love writing? Do you maybe love to draw or is it pure gaming that you are great at? This can help a lot to check which path would work best for you and experience your first steps as a journalist, graphic designer or an E-Sports professional. As for being a women in the industry my biggest learning was to be more confident in yourself when new opportunities come around. I tend to over question myself and go through an internal checklist if I have the skills to fulfill a role or handle a project. It is super fine to do mistake and you need to know that they will happen and you will have the greatest learnings and growth during and after them. Us Germans (or at least I did) tend to see mistakes as pure failure, but as you can’t avoid them, I learned to accept them and therefore still take risks to try out new things. This applies to any industry of course, but as I have seen a lot of girls who doubted themselves for starting out in the male dominated gaming industry. I want to share my experience and also offer advice if anyone has questions. Just reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram.   

Besides conventional magazines and websites, live streamers and influencers are gaining more and more importance when it comes to games coverage. Where do you see the field of games journalism in the upcoming years?

I am super interested in how the technology and platforms will evolve. When YouTube started and had this massive growth, just a few Gaming Media Publishers in Germany decided to go and create content for that channel. Now these few have secured their reach on this platform and it is hard for others to catch up. Same as for formats like live streaming or even creating dedicated paid content for the core audience. And sometimes it is not easy to decide which resources to put in which platforms since there are too many options. I believe that the community itself becomes more and more important (it always has been of course) just due to the fact that technology enables easy access into creating your own content. This is why there are agencies that offer to set up campaigns with a lot of micro-influencers, which can be more cost effective as well as drive more engagement than going with one big channel for example. Also having your own streaming setup becomes more a “normal” status for gamers. So the generation that grows up with creating content and being comfortable sharing is really exciting to see.

I also like this example, which is more interesting for marketing: There are new tools where you can register as an influencer and scan your area if the restaurant or retailer nearby gives you a discount if you go there and post the meal or shopping experience. In my days, marketing meant having free cheese snacks in the grocery store and now it is more “post that cheese in the store and check out with a 10% discount”. Another good example are “games as a service” that have a long life cycle over years. The gamers that stream, manage servers, contribute in betas and new content are not just fans or consumers, they contribute to the whole game and make the game how it is today. 

I know this is a long topic stretch from journalism to marketing and game development, but the point is that the community is the strongest bone in every pillar and I believe will be part of also evolving games journalism. We all have a voice, we all can share it, so let’s bring our great ideas and power together for shaping the future of the gaming industry.

Thanks for your insights, Maxi!

Maxi’s Links:
Maxi’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/GMaxee
Maxi’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maxopatra 

Xbox DACH’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/XboxDACH

WWW Feature by Anne Zarnecke