Chat with Kish Hirani

Kish Hirani is the CTO of London based Terra Virtua, an entertainment-focused digital collectibles platform across Mobile, AR and VR, with social, videogaming and creative experiences, enabled by blockchain.

He started in the video games industry in 1996 as a programmer before moving to technical leadership roles at notable development studios and publisher houses (Acclaim, BBC Multimedia, THQ) for the first half in the industry. He then moved over to platform-holders starting with Microsoft and soon after to Sony as their Head of Developer Services, running the PlayStation developer technology services division.

In recent years, he has been a vocal advocate for diversity initiatives. Listed one of the Top 100 most influential BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) leaders in UK Tech sector 2019 by the Financial Times as well as the recipient of the ‘Diversity Star’ award at the Develop Star Awards.

GIA: As a diversity advocate how important is it for large players within the gaming space to explore regions beyond the sisal trifecta of US, Europe and Japan?

KH: With remote working extremely effective there is no excuse whatsoever. Majority of the larger players have outsourcing house outside of US, Europe and Japan that has been a while. Some of those large outsourcing house are now even satellite studios and a few working on standalone content especially for the mobile phone market. We work in the creative and innovative sector and it makes business sense to have talents from as wide a pool as possible.

GIA: What learnings are you looking to garner from Playtopia MGA?

KH: I am hoping to be inspired by the local talent. With the Internet and the knowledge it hold having no physical borders, I am expecting everyone to be well up to date and having similar constrains and issues across the globe i.e. funding and local education and government support.

GIA: Terra Virtua has ambitions to take make significant inroads within the VR and Blockchain space, whilst that appears to be trends du jour in Western Europe, are there any opportunities and trends in Africa you can see adding value to TVs strategic approach?

KH: Trends comes with extremely high risk especially when there is no guaranteed way to predict the ever growing and at time stabilising or even slightly shrinking target audience. Our entire (MVP) Minimum Viable Product, has been developed in Asia. It would be an extreme high risk to build and grow teams locally while still at investment stage. Blockchains is on it way to revolutionising a number of aspects of digital ownership. A lot of that is already well ahead being co-developed in the emerging markets where it is relatively cheaper to fail fast and re-develop.

Playtopia MGA will take place at the Castle in Cape Town between December 5 to December 7. For further details as well as how to get your ticket, visit the Playtopia website.