I found myself at Dreamhack Atlanta this year and in between rounds of heart-pounding eSports action, I ran into the director of marketing for Antlion Audio, Joseph Lieberman, who was demonstrating a fascinating product. Right there on the busy and notably noisy floor Joseph was demonstrating Antlion’s signature product, the ModMic. You can attach this high-quality mic to any headset and be heard at top dollar, professional quality. The user is given so much control with the settings that even in a noisy setting like that of Dreamhack can be toned down to allow your voice to come through.
Not only was the ModMic a cool product, but I got the sense Joseph was genuinely proud to represent it. When I explained what we do at Sugar Gamers he perked up, happy to hear what we were all about. Joseph has been in the gaming industry for almost 15 years specializing in the marketing and PR sectors. He has seen the industry grow and evolve and has strong convictions about inclusion in the industry. Joseph and I had a great conversation and I wanted to continue it here on Sugar Gamers.
Rebecca Rothschild: Was working in the game industry on purpose or an accident?
Joseph Lieberman: Well, like most things in life, it was a little of both. I went to college with every intention of working in the game industry but zero intention of working in marketing. I expected to go into programming and then later shift to design, however, I found my calling around the end of my sophomore year… after I failed Calculus 2. It turns out I am a lot better at writing and networking than I am at math! Why marketing? A friend of mine told me that the game industry needs good business people that LOVE games, something it still often times lacks. Who was this friend you may ask? Well, I didn’t know it at the time, but he turned out to be the senior producer on Star Wars Galaxies. To me he was just a guy in a guild in the game I was playing at the time. Moral of the story is seize the opportunities as they come to you, if you want to call that an accident, fine by me!
RR: What games have your attention these days?
JL: Well, by the time anyone reads this I am sure the game that has my attention will have changed. One thing is for sure, after working in the game industry for nearly 15 years, I have major game ADD. I will say that I love competitive multiplayer games that are a little bit slower with longer times to kill, e.g. World of Tanks, Mechwarrior Online. I also love hardcore strategy games like Europa Universalis and Civilization. I also love the idea of games as art and story, so things like Journey, To the Moon, or Abzu. But to answer the original question: At the moment I am playing Crossout because cars and guns are basically my greatest weakness.
RR: We have discussed that you’re passionate about diversity in the gaming scene, can you elaborate on that? Where does that passion come from?
JL: Let me start by saying that my passion for inclusion in gaming has nothing to do with altruism.
My focus is mostly on gender diversity, so I will speak from that angle. Until recently my job was running a PR company for game developers, or to put it another way, my job was to make sure my clients games made dump truck loads worth of money. See, the thing is, you can double your sales if you can sell to both genders!
The problem is boys tend to write games for boys and what few girls out there are developing tended to write games for girls. If we work intelligently, however, and create a diverse development core, we CAN make games that are universally appealing! Don’t get me wrong, there’s still value in creating “games for boys” and “games for girls” from the marketing standpoint (and yes, I know that is incredibly sexist, but there’s a reason Call of Duty’s audience is massively skewed male and it has little to do with the gender of the dev team). However, the more we include women in game development the more likely we are to design with a female perspective in mind. Sadly this may mean the end of chainmail bikinis, but that is the price we’ll all have to pay to get some progress. Ah hell, who am I kidding, chainmail bikinis will never go away! Some things are simply beyond my ability to change!
RR: Introduce Antlion Audio for those unfamiliar.
JL: We’re most well known as the creators of the ModMic, a studio quality microphone you can attach to ANY pair of headphones, instantly turning them into a headset for gaming, VoIP, or streaming. We believe in creating a super high quality component that gives you the flexibility to buy the exact pair of headphones you want, so you aren’t stuck paying the gamer tax or … god forbid, RGB lighting.
RR: What is Antlion Audio doing different from anyone else in their market?
JL: Well, other than a pretty darn unique product, we’re the kind of company you can actually get behind and hopefully want to support. From our quarterly volunteer days (We pay everyone to volunteer for a day every quarter!) to our support of charitable organizations like Anxiety Gaming, 1UPonCancer, and many others, you can be sure we’re trying to use our success to help the gaming community. It’s more than volunteering though, we also believe in REAL tech support. You have something to say to us? Feedback? Complaint? Need help? You can be sure a real person is seeing it and reading it. For instance, we recently did a survey, got over 2,000 responses from our past customers, and one field simply asked to give feedback. We read every single line, compiled them into a list, and are using that to inform our next product changes. I don’t know about you, but I can’t name many tech companies that have the director of marketing basically waiting to hear what you have to say. That’s what really makes us different. The cool product is just a side benefit!
If you’re a die-hard audio nerd I strongly recommend checking out the official Antlion website because they take gaming and high-quality audio very seriously. They have excellent mics, headphones and accessories ideal for streamers and gamers at any level. Product prices range from very accessible to very luxe. They have an incredible lineup of headphones from a few different manufacturers that are all notably stylish and again range in price for any budget.
I want to thank Joseph for his time, it was very cool to connect with him and his company. Looks like I’ll be running into him at Dreamhack Denver, hopefully we’ll get a chance to catch up.