This week we took a moment to chat with Jeff, our Console Producer, to discuss his work with us. If you're playing on Xbox One or PS4, you may already know him as he's the person behind all the patches and communication on consoles. Check out his interview in this news post!

Hi Jeff, thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello! My name's Jeff, I'm 29 years old, originally from the land of maple syrup (Canada). I've been with Grinding Gear Games since 2016. As an avid gamer all my life, this has been a match made in heaven for me.

What does your current role at GGG involve?

My primary focus is and has been everything to do with the console platforms since shortly after starting with GGG. I organize the console patches; this involves communicating with the development team to address issues as they arise, creating the updates themselves, and working closely with the console Quality Assurance team. I also handle the bulk of the behind the scenes work with both Microsoft and Sony. This involves platform compliance, backend product maintenance, patch submissions and resolving any issues that may come up.

How and when did you find out about Path of Exile?

I was an avid player of the Diablo series, starting in elementary school when I definitely shouldn't have been playing Diablo 1 thanks to one of my parents having a keen interest in computer games; I would hover around the computer at every possible opportunity when they were playing, which led to me jumping on anytime our home PC was free. I heard about Path of Exile through various gaming communities early on in its development, and found myself getting access to the closed beta.

What was the moment that got you hooked on the game?

After getting access to the game and seeing the resemblance of Diablo II, I was hooked. I had spent thousands of hours playing Diablo II in its prime, and Path of Exile offered vastly more complexity and build diversity, needless to say I was quickly drawn to the game.

Console production has many unique challenges. What are the main differences in getting patches onto consoles compared with PC?

Testing content on consoles is slower than PC from step one of the process, updating all of the consoles with each build iteration takes a considerable amount of time, whereas on PC we can update our clients within seconds. While we have access to similar in-game commands that PC has, they're much slower to reproduce; On PC if we're testing a specific issue that has listed reproduction steps, we can copy and paste them into the client, whereas on consoles we either need to manually input them or create a separate scripts which then needs to be put onto the console itself, all of which takes time. What I'm trying to say is that everything to do with the console pipeline takes more time from nearly all angles. When it comes to having the updates deployed to the Microsoft and Sony store, they each have respective processes, again, both of which take time and scheduling (are you seeing the pattern here?), which primarily fall outside of the time zone in New Zealand. This means I frequently have to stay up very late after hours to get an update into the certification process as quickly as possible. In comparison to PC, they're able to patch an update as soon as 'go ahead' has been given by Quality Assurance and the server admin team has everything they need in place on the servers.

What did you do before working with us?

Following my university studies I took a leave of absence from a bank job that I was working into travel and play poker on the side. Strategy games had always appealed to me, and one that I could compete in while supporting myself was very attractive. I spent two years travelling throughout North America visiting different cities and friends I had made online over the years, which made for many memorable experiences before I found myself travelling to New Zealand.

How did you end up working at GGG?

I was able to get a work visa which allowed me to live and work in New Zealand, I packed two suitcases which included nothing but clothing and my PC. When I arrived I landed an interview with GGG for a Quality Assurance position, which went well. I learned the ropes of Quality Assurance for my first few months, then began working on the Xbox platform, which was early into its development at the time. I began working closely with Chris, who was spearheading the project's production. As time went on, I learned what was involved with the different stages of production, and soon found myself taking over the reins of the platform entirely, while still reporting to Chris. Following the launch of Xbox, PlayStation became the next project being discussed. After having just learned the process from start to finish on Xbox, I took charge of the production and behind the scenes work for PlayStation too. Today I oversee most of the production tasks for both Xbox and PlayStation, which occupy the better part of most days for me.

What kind of hobbies do you have outside of work?

My main hobbies are gaming and keeping physically active. A typical day for me involves some form of exercise following work, playing games in the evening, or spending time with friends. I would like to do more travel in the future but this is on hold due to the current global situation.

What's the best part about what you do?

Working in an area that I love; as the saying goes, find a job you love doing and you'll never work a day in your life. On top of this, the freedom and flexibility we're given at GGG in our work days is priceless and promotes a healthy balance in my life.

Your brother also works with us. What's it like working alongside a family member?

It's great! He's somebody I can always count on professionally, and personally; to know that I have that level of support here gives me peace of mind knowing that when in doubt, he's always someone I can go to.

You're originally from Canada. How does it compare living and working in New Zealand?

Living in New Zealand compared to Canada is great. I very much enjoy not dealing with the brutal winters that Canada endures. Waking up in the morning and not needing to put on layers of warm clothing to shovel snow is amazing. I do chuckle to myself at times when hearing kiwis talk about winter as freezing when I think of waking up the morning after a blizzard, while I often only need a sweater here to keep warm.

Do you have any advice for people who might want to get into game production?

Communication skills, both written and oral are very important. Be a team player: in production you'll work with every department within an organization, which is going to require you to problem solve with a range of team members. A high level of organization, as working with deadlines requires a good amount of planning and preparing for obstacles that you may face along the way. Oh, and a passion for video games!

What can we look forward to in terms of what you're working on?

With the next generation of consoles on the horizon, I'll be continuing to focus my efforts on all things console.
Posted by 
Grinding Gear Games
Thank you for the insight, loving this series of interviews!
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cool to read about less known people of ggg. and his job must be really tough with the limited capabilities of consoles.
Last edited by dachoppa on Jul 30, 2020, 6:46:17 PM
Good Stuff.
So he went to NZ before having a job at GGG or anywhere else? How come?
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Creazy luck or as we can see he's that good. Either tho, nice series, keep it up!
YESSSSSS! THANKS JEFF! The console honcho! The best. You do an awesome job Console Jeff! Hey? Forever Exiled, A Path of Exile Podcast
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Cool interview.

As a pc player who plans to plat PoE in PS4 can I ask what is gonna happen to the trophy list on ps4 in the future, especially with 4.0?
I am guessing it is not possible to update trophy lists.

And if there are gonna be new trophy list for 4.0 please make them a little bit achievable, it is discouraging as it is right now.
thanks jeff
xbox poe.. where people want e̶x̶a̶l̶t̶s̶ divines for junk items ¯\_༼ ಥ ‿ ಥ ༽_/¯
My name Jeff!
Curiosity is followed by ambition. Ambition, is followed by madness.

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