A Slice on Jerry Prochazka and Rob Thompson, Founders of Ganymede Games
In the fast-paced world of gaming, older gamers are feeling left behind. As the fastest growing demographic in gaming, players over the age of 35 are finding that in order to advance in their favorite game they need to dedicate precious resources to rank. With the free-to-play business model that has taken over the gaming industry, many players are frustrated with the time commitment that commands hours in order to advance in the game. Jerry Prochazka and Rob Thompson of Ganymede Games recognized this during their time at Wargaming. While at Wargaming, Jerry saw a lot of developers trying to chase the free-to-play and games-as-a-service” business model without understanding the scale and costs needed to do it well.
For Prochazka and Rob, this is where some developers went wrong. “We’ve seen a lot of mistakes being made and players being unhappy by pushing a business model first. We think we can take advantage of some of these missteps and give older players the kind of gaming experiences they want.”
This experience is Xenotheria, a single-player role-playing game, or RPG, set in a science fiction universe designed to immerse players in an out-of-this-world journey. The goal of the game is to be fun without the time commitment. However, this article isn’t about the game, it’s about who built it.
Founder and CEO Jerry Prochazka laughed when asked about his future goals for Ganymede. Creating products and having the freedom to make mistakes is a pillar for the development of the company and what it prioritizes. “Being an executive and making lots of money in a big company is awesome. But I love creating products, and having the freedom to make those mistakes.”
When asked about their favorite parts of the gaming industry, Prochazka and Thompson agreed on one thing; building community. Building a team or community of creative people has allowed Ganymede to create a world of their liking on a platform that will allow gamers to play without the commitment. By prioritizing inclusive player communities, Co-Founder Rob Thompson wants to make Ganymede Games a community that players can call their home while building an identity with the brand and the product. “We want to create that same level of, you know, love for the products and for the stories that we’re telling.” Building trust in the gaming industry is crucial for the advancement of the company, especially for up-and-coming game developers, designers and publishers. Without trust, there will be no gamers to build a community and the game is lost forever.
While the idea of working in the gaming industry is celebrated, most people are looking at the industry through rose-colored glasses. “We historically don’t do well with inclusion,” Prochazka noted. As a gay founder himself, Prochazka prioritizes inclusion and highlights that during two of his three years at Riot Games the company was listed on Forbes’ Best 100 Places to Work. Riot ranked 12th in the U.S. and 13th the following year. This was what he considers the pinnacle of his HR experience, however, Riot Games ran into some trouble after he left. Learning from this, Prochazka wants to start Ganymede off on the right foot from the beginning by creating an inclusive culture for the team and the products they produce. “Not only starting with that kind of culture in place, but in dynamically infusing that in our products and in how we work is critical.”
Excited to continue to level up the gaming industry with Xenotheria, Prochazka and Thompson are working to create a gaming industry that works for everyone, regardless of their age.
Jerry is a Chicago native and was first exposed to the power of games when playing D&D with his childhood friends. He helped build new, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and eventually joined Riot Games‘ executive team. With a decade of video game executive experience, working at Riot Games and Wargaming, he now leads Ganymede Games. Connect with Prochazka on LinkedIn.
Rob grew up in Milford, CT. Gaming has always been his passion starting with Mario Kart on the N64 to competing at national tournaments as a teenager. Rob broke into games development doing QA for Activision, which led to jobs at Riot Games and then Wargaming. With Ganymede, Rob is excited to create the kind of experiences that first drew him into games. Connect with Thompson on LinkedIn.