As the videogame industry continues to surpass the film industry in revenue, one thing has become very clear: Gaming isn’t just for geeky guys in their basements anymore. Today, consoles are prominently displayed in the living room beside the TV and chances are mom and dad might pick up and use the joysticks after the kids have gone to bed.
For Activision senior VP Robin Kaminsky, who heads up the marketing and studio divisions, this shift toward a more inclusive form of mass entertainment means there are always new and exciting ways for her to do her job.
One day she might be working with Jeep so gamers get to “drive” the 2007 Wrangler in “Tony Hawk’s Project 8”; the next she’s brainstorming a way to leverage Activision’s intellectual properties in a nonmovie year. Voila: “Marvel Ultimate Alliance” and “Shrek Smash n’ Crash” are born.
Kaminsky came to Activision in June 2005 from Pepsi. But although she’s married to a former “videogame junkie,” the world was new to her.
“I’ve become passionate about the industry from being in the industry,” she says, “not because I started out of college and said ‘Oh my God I have to work in videogames.’ Now I couldn’t see doing much of anything else.”
After one year as Activision’s chief marketing officer, Kaminsky also took over studio responsibilities, and oversees production, development, studio operations and technology. And Kaminsky is not alone as a high-powered female exec at Activision: the company’s head of North American sales and the g.m. of Europe are women too.
As part of “making sure we are bringing the entire audience to the party,” Kaminsky naturally has to play a lot of games. “We have every kind of game device you can think of at our house,” she says. On the day we spoke, she was taking “Tony Hawk Downhill Jam” home to play with her 6-year-old son.
“We have to race against each other, and he’s really excited about that.”
Kaminsky and her husband are looking forward to the holiday release of the top-selling Army game “Call of Duty 3,” while “Guitar Hero” is a perennial favorite when company comes over. Not surprisingly, the job has earned Kaminsky a lot of cool points among the teens and tweens in her life.
“It’s not uncommon for my nephew to call me and say, ‘I am just so lucky you’re my mommy’s sister.'”