Enlightened companies - "We want to be the first NZ company to create AAA games: Brook Waters, co-founder of Mtech Games, a company of 12 employees from eight different nationalities

Among other things that are unique about Mtech Games – one of the leading companies in New Zealand exploring the possibilities for virtual reality in the rehabilitation/medical space and beyond -  are curse-words-learning-Fridays.

“That's another great advantage of having a multicultural and multilingual team. We now know almost all the swear words in Spanish, Hindi, Chinese, Dutch and Danish. Few weeks back, someone from Scandinavia was visiting us. So the team got to learn some Icelandic swearing too,” quipped Brook Waters, CEO and co-founder of the company, which employs 12 employees from eight different nationalities. 

Mtech Games - owned by Waters [an Aussie] and Margaret Pickering [a Kiwi], COO and co-founder – emerged from their video games company, Stickmen Media, which provides animation services to small and medium sized enterprises.

They also own Desolate Spectre Studios, a console game development studio with a focus on horror and dark fantasy. Under this, their stable of games include Zombeeze, Zombeeze VR, and the soon-to-be-released The Toymaker, a steampunk zombie game.      

“Apart from all the above, we are also working towards using the Oculus Rift – a virtual reality headset, in medical and rehabilitation applications. Our latest product is a virtual reality wheelchair trainer developed in partnership with Callaghan Innovation and Burwood Academy for Independent Living at Burwood Spinal Unit,” added Pickering.

On the question of employing so many migrants in such a low headcount, Waters explained, “I don't know about other sectors, but we simply can't survive if we don't get migrants. And the reason is simple. There is no big game development happening in New Zealand right now. So the available human resource here doesn't have the necessary skills or the experience. To be the first NZ company to create AAA games, we need offshore talent.”

“And Immigration New Zealand needs to understand this. Sometimes it's very frustrating dealing with them on visa issues,” added Pickering.

Finally, on the concern of many employers that employing people from different cultures may hamper team building, both Waters and Pickering agreed, “Not true at all. We have two graphic artists, one from China, and other from Spain. And they get along just fine. Actually, this is one of the main traits we look for when we recruit somebody. Firstly, their skills, competence. And secondly, whether they will fit in our team. These two things are very individualistic and has nothing to do with their nationalities.” 

This article is part of the series we run called “Enlightened companies”. It all started when during one of our earlier interviews with Peter Townsend, Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, he mentioned “enlightened companies succeed in their businesses by employing migrants”. The above is another example.

The Migrant Times has received the following clarifications on the above story from Margaret Pickering. We regret the errors.

"Stickmen Media is the company that employs everyone, although SM does do some contract work for MTech Games which is owned by Brook and me.

We are already developing in VR, it gives entirely the wrong impression to say we are working towards it.

Stickmen Media does not just provide animation services, we develop apps, games for entertainment and serious purposes for mobile, console, PC, virtual reality and augmented reality."