Recently we’ve been trying to fill a few remaining job openings at Spicy Horse. The process of building a team in Shanghai is made difficult by the fact that there is very little pre-existing game industry to speak of. In the US you can see hotbeds of development grow organically from local seed studios – id Software being an example in Dallas. In Shanghai Ubi Soft is the most dominate seed studio – a large percentage of the local game industry work force is made up former Ubi employees.
For a growing studio like Spicy this translates into 25% of our staff being former Ubi employees – not all were directly hired away from Ubi – but they’ve all spent time there during their careers. Ubi creates a powerful influence on the local market, helping to build Shanghai as a world-class game development hub, as companies like id did in Dallas.
The only problem is that Ubi doesn’t necessarily *like* the idea of seeding outside development teams. Personally, I think this sort of organic spread is natural and resistance to it is detrimental to everyone… everyone except the employees who are trying to move out. Several recent Ubi employees we’ve tried to lure away have reported a significant increase in benefits, salary, and position within the company. Ubi really doesn’t want to let people go…
And hence my new business model:
Spicy Horse Salary Inflation Service
This is how it works: Current Ubi employees can express interest in working for Spicy Horse. In turn we’ll send you an offer letter. Show said offer letter to your manager and presto – Get a raise! Finally, share a small % of that raise with us. And the circle of life is complete.
My guess is that Spicy can generate huge revenues off the 600+ employees currently working at Ubi Shanghai. If the model works then we’ll target EA Shanghai, Shanda, etc, etc. I smell a Chinese IPO candidate. Don’t you?