Meet the team: Mike Hawkyard
As part of our series to introduce you to the individuals within OS and share the variety of work we do, meet Mike Hawkyard. As the new Head of Mobile Games in our consumer team, he gives us a glimpse into his big plans for OS...
How long have you worked for OS?
I started at OS in March 2021 and have been training for this very role for many years - wandering around town collecting Pokémon, rummaging in bushes for Geocaches and competing poorly for segments in Strava.
My professional background is in the games industry. In 1999 my business partner showed me a simple game he’d created that could be played in a web browser. We dared to dream about the potential of being paid to make games.
Twenty years later, that company had evolved from producing Flash games for broadcasters to releasing apps for the likes of LEGO and PLAYMOBIL. These titles were played over three billion times and had topped the Apple charts in every country with an App Store.
When I heard about the opportunity to combine my passion for outdoor adventure and digital games for OS, I jumped at the chance.
I am excited to build on OS’s history and innovation. From paper maps to the popular OS Maps app, OS is already supporting millions of people to get outside and create new adventures. I want to develop this further and give existing users new experiences and connect new people with OS.
Can you describe your working day?
Most days start in a similar manner - walking my daughter to school in the New Forest along with our family dog. It has been known for Pokémon to be captured on route and the journey helps the “move ring” on my Apple Watch progress nicely.
At the time of writing this, and for those that understand the personal importance of such things, I’m currently on my longest move streak; 81 days.
From that point on, I get to use my passion for technology, psychology and entertainment of this nature to design solutions that will encourage more people to go on adventures in the great outdoors.
What are you working on right now?
We are busy designing an e-sport for exploration. My team’s goal is to encourage people to get outside more often, for longer periods and to a greater diversity of locations.
Geo-location apps allow people to explore the real world alongside a game world of their choosing, and augmented real world locations can enhance an individual’s enjoyment of the great outdoors. Upon reaching a desired location, gamers might see a physical telephone box in front of them, but they could have also reached a location where they can battle for a new PokéGym in the virtual sense. We want to build on the success of OS Maps and raise awareness of these highly engaging outdoor experiences.
Being a gamer myself, I want to make the game as competitive and rewarding as possible – but without tying players to their phone screen when outside. Enjoy the journey and see new things!
What is your favourite part of your job?
Being here at the start of Ordnance Survey’s journey into games. It’s a fast moving and rapidly growing space we can excel within.
The technology, collective knowledge and contacts OS has will enable us to thrive in this field and help a great many others succeed in their objectives. We can help people map, meet and explore new places that have previously only existed in dreams.
What is your OS highlight?
My highlight to date was listening to the co-founder of Geocaching, Bryan Roth, detailing their journey from a concept to a new format of treasure hunting with a global community.
Their inspirational story proves what can be achieved with enough passion, drive and imaginative thought on how to utilise new technology. The best day will be when I randomly encounter a family playing one of our games on my walks through the New Forest.