NI gamer plays to her strengths to win top award

Vicky Potts collects her Rising Star award from Mark Morris of sponsor Splash Damage
Vicky Potts collects her Rising Star award from Mark Morris of sponsor Splash Damage

A gaming entrepreneur from Belfast has been presented with a prestigious gaming award in London.

Vicky Potts, 26, from Belfast scooped the Rising Star of the Year – Development Award earlier this month at the MCV Women in Games Awards held at London’s Facebook HQ.

Hailed as a “fantastic showcase” by Games London, the MCV Women in Games Awards, now in its third year, is considered to be the leading awards ceremony in the UK that celebrates and rewards excellence among female professionals within the gaming industry.

Vicky, who is a director of Whitepot Studios, is the first woman from Northern Ireland to win the award, and was nominated alongside women from noteworthy companies such as Ubisoft Reflections, Rare Ltd, Warner Bros Games, and Activision.

Designing websites at the age of 11, Vicky graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast, in 2015 with a Masters in Computer Science, before setting up her second company this year.

“The gaming industry is still very male-dominated – both in the development arena and in the online communities,” she said.

“When I was growing up playing games and interacting online, I thought it was cool to be ‘different than other girls’ - which is a pivotal phase most teenage girls go through - but an ultimately detrimental mind-set in adulthood.

“It became clear to me that promoting representation of women in technology, and other STEM-related fields, is incredibly important, especially for girls growing up today who are the engineers, scientists, and game developers of the future. That’s why I am thrilled as a developer, and company founder, to win this award.”

The Whitepot Studios co-Founder, Adam Whiteside, who also attended the awards, added: “All of the award nominiees across all categories are great role models for the future of the gaming industry.

“Vicky has worked so hard, and I am exceptionally proud of her for winning this award, especially when up against such cornerstone industry names.

“The MCV Awards were a refreshing inverse of standard gaming industry events, which are unfortunately still very male-dominated, but we hope in future years that this will change.”

Mark Morris, president of award sponsor, Splash Damage, a video game developer specialising in multiplayer first-person shooter video games said: “At Splash Damage, we’re challenging stereotypes every step of the way, and sponsoring the Rising Star of the Year Award is a source of pride as we continue to promote equality in the industry.”

Whitepot Studios is a Belfast-based games development company founded in 2015. Its first release, Tubocity, was an Android and iOS sci-fi endless runner, which has been downloaded in over 35 countries and won NI Game of the Year 2017. It is currently working on a multiplayer Murder Mystery PC game.