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Charu is Executive Producer at Preloaded. Preloaded create Games with Purpose. Charu has been selected as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2014, a BAFTA initiative to celebrate the UK’s future talent across the film, TV and video games industries. Charu started in console gaming as an engineer at Sony's London Studio by creating the technology behind the hugely successful SingStar® franchise. Since then she has released close to 80 games, including Wonderbook™: Book of Spells and Dancestar® Party. She also features in the MCV list of top 100 UK women in games and is an active member of the games industry community, encouraging others to join! • Released 70+ games: SingStar, DanceStar Party, Book of Spells • Experienced at all stages of game lifecycle, from R&D to running Entertainment as a Service • Experienced at multiplatform and varied business strategies: console, mobile, free to play • Regular speaker at engineering and creative industry events • Inventor of the original pitch detection technology on which SingStar is based
Preloaded create Games with Purpose.
Joined Lift London at it's genesis. Set up and defined the studios creative, development and service processes. Led 3 games from concept generation phase into early production before concentrating on the pillar studio release. Shifting from console to phone and tablet devices has broadened my experience of customer acquisition, business models and release strategies. Undisclosed title (platforms to be announced) This flagship product demonstrates the studio’s ethos of customer-centric, multiplatform ‘Entertainment as a Service’. Led the team through game concept generation into prototyping and production; my current focus is on defining the release and service strategies. I am responsible for ensuring that the team consistently delivers quality and hits the aggressive development timelines, while maintaining a game service for our internal audience.
Wonderbook: Book of Spells (PS3) Implementation of J.K. Rowling’s original stories, via a paper theatre format, with a reliance on outsourced assets. This was a high-risk area of the game that required a sensitive interpretation of the original script and a tightly controlled schedule, and had numerous external dependencies. Successfully managed all art outsourcing across the project, including scheduling and budget, with 9 vendors. This involved selecting vendors, defining the delivery schedule to fit the internal dev timetable, negotiating contracts and overseeing the quality of assets, as well as ensuring the appropriate tools and support. Promoted Book of Spells at Gamescom, IDEF (presented in French) and persuaded Auchan, a major French supermarket chain, to stock the game. Wonderbook: Book of Potions (PS3) Responsible for pre-production and prototyping work to keep the project progressing swiftly. Achieved by hands-on directing of an external development studio to create a set of game mechanics using rapid prototyping while managing the transition from the external to the internal dev team. Particular challenges included abiding by highly sensitive IP restrictions while encouraging innovation and creativity and educating the external dev studio on how to develop using rapid prototyping. DanceStar Party® & Everybody Dance (PS3) Internal development of proprietary tools to analyse and store dance data. QA and Localisation support for DanceStar Party and Everybody Dance. Initiated work on new UI System and Editor to revolutionise UI asset creation and rendering. SingStar® V5.10– V5.13 (PS3, PSN) 26 million units sold through Scheduling and development of PSN product release strategy, initiating a new business model on PSN within SCEE. Release of SingStar Engine on PSN with boxed voucher code for songs to be downloaded. Patch and feature development for 70+ SingStar titles in SCEE, SCE Asia and SCEA, twice within 10 months.
My SingStar® Online (PS3, PSN) Established content production and set up publishing processes for SingStar’s new online service – My SingStar® Online. Providing a service that relied on music licensing and UGC was a high-profile new venture for the franchise. Managed online community: staged competitions, promoted SingStar releases, UGC and players. Developed features for MSO: tools to aid moderation, highlight content, simplify interface. Collaborated with Marketing, Music Licensing, SCE territories, Legal and Moderation Team and VIP (business analysis) to schedule events and improve sales of DLC. SingStar® Rooms at PlayStation®Home (PS3, PSN) Staged promotional events within Home and managed virtual-merchandise plan to maximise sales and SingStar exposure to Home players. Published a new space called SingStar® Store in PS Home selling virtual merchandise, thus creating a new revenue stream for the franchise. Defined and improved marketing and publishing processes for PS Home. SingStar® (PS3, PS2) Release of 50 SingStar titles on PS2, across SCE territories, in collaboration with an external development studio. Responsible for every area of production, including packaging, QA and helping to realise territory marketing plans.
SingStar® PS2 Further developed sound-technology prototype, working on all aspects of the game: sound analysis, writing a USB microphone driver for PS2, graphics, video and audio players, and UI. Confidence and enthusiasm for the technology led to a revision of the original game concept and increase in resources, resulting in a competitive singing game called SingStar. SingStar was first released in May 2004 on PS2. Technology R&D Hired to work on prototyping a sound-analysis demo initially using Direct X on PC. Replicated and extended the demo for PS2 to analyse (via Fast Fourier Transform) audio data and compare pitch sung into a microphone with a perfect score. The demo included prototype UI using speech recognition to navigate a menu and display results.