Local gamers might want to cast off their headsets, power down their computers and expose themselves to the blinding sun this afternoon to embark on a journey to Campbell Hall.
At 2:30 p.m., UCSB alumnus and gaming industry icon Paul Sams – the chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment – will be offering a free lecture on his success as an entrepreneur. Sams will share how his days as a business economics major at UCSB contributed to his rise to the top ranks of the gaming world.
Blizzard Entertainment is recognized as one of the biggest gaming entertainment companies thanks to widely successful games such as World of Warcraft and Diablo.
Sams said he aims to offer anecdotes about his UCSB experience as well as give tips on how students can succeed in his field during his speech, entitled “UCSB to Blizzard – Turning Your Passion Into Your Success.”
“My intention is to try to give a glimpse of my past, starting at UCSB, and the decisions I made to help propel me to the role I have now,” Sams said. “I want students to see how my passion for games and software helped me get to where I am today. … Also, I’ll touch upon what many companies may be looking for, many aspects which are not obvious.”
Sams is most certainly not a newb – in addition to being a key spokesperson and decision-maker for Blizzard, he is also in charge of managing the company’s online gaming network, Battle.net. According to Sams, Battle.net is the largest gaming network of its kind in the world today.
Along with having a deep love for games and software, Sams said he attributes his success to his college education.
“Honestly, I genuinely feel my time at UCSB has been one of the best times of my entire life,” Sams said. “I learned a ton and there were many classes in particular that put me on the right path. I definitely credit that experience to getting me to where I am now.”
He added that he hopes his children will attend UCSB.
Meanwhile, Adam Gross, a second-year film & media studies and Japanese major, said the lecture will let those interested in the industry know what to anticipate in the future.
“It’s exciting because it’s a great opportunity for students interested in that field to find out more about the industry and that line of work,” Gross said. “I know I’ll be going because I share that same passion for videogames and computer software, so it’ll be great to pick his brain. Plus, StarCraft 2 is going to be uber epic.”
Sams’ speech is this year’s annual Herbert C. Kay Undergraduate Lecture. According to Economics Dept. Assistant to the Chair Joan Giovannone, the public lecture series was established so that business entrepreneurs could speak on campus about their careers.
Additionally, Giovannone said she expects the lecture to not only detail the Sams’ post-college successes, but also the direction Blizzard and its products may be headed in the future.