PC Connects London 2019 - Meet the Speakers - Simon Usiskin, SpiritAI

PC Connects London 2019 - Meet the Speakers - Simon Usiskin, SpiritAI

Ahead of PC Connects London 2019 on January 21st and 22nd we are catching up with some of the big names that we have on-stage at the show.

Today, Simon Usiskin from machine learning and AI start-up Spirit tells us a bit about the company and shares his thoughts on the current games market

Tell us a bit about the company.

SpiritAI tackles key challenges of our digital age through AI, Machine Learning and deep natural language understanding. Our Ally product uses advanced AI to give 360 insights into online communities from social media platforms to in-game chat. Our Character Engine product gives creative teams a repeatable toolset to build dynamic characters who display memory, personality traits and emotions as they improvise real-time natural conversations.

What does your role entail?

Developing partnerships with game developers and publishers who value building a strong relationship with their community

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

The games industry is at the forefront of creating the most exciting and engaging pieces of entertainment whilst pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible (it also has the best people working in it!)

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?

Perseverance - there are lots of other pieces of advice that people much more qualified than me could give but in the end it will be your ability to stick it out longer than the person next to you that will determine whether you make that break or not

What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?

Whilst Steam continued to dominate PC distribution, competition has increased (Kongregate/Kartridge; Epic/Epic Games Store; Discord/Discord Store); survival of the fittest led to closures - aggregation/competition; mobile game revenue is now 50%+ of all game revenue; eSports boom

What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?

Fortnite's impact as a cultural phenomenon won't slow down; VR and AR will continue to be sluggish to make an impact into the mainstream; more regulation and or legislation will impact the games industry - unionisation, privacy, community chat, payment and so on. 

How has the games industry changed since you first started?

It has become the dominant entertainment industry by far...

Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?

Seeing and networking with friends; gaining new insights; enjoying my hometown!

Tickets for just PC Connects London 2019 are available right here, with tickets for the entire show on sale here  - buy now to save big. 

More info about the event can be found right here

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.