Boris Schneider-Johne

„Boris Schneider from Microsoft is one of my old companions who has a lot to say about video games marketing. Just over 30 years ago, ‘Doc Bobo’ and I worked together on the video game magazine ‘Gamers’ – already practicing social distance remotely via fax.”


Founders Keepers

7+1 Questions

interviewed by

Torsten Oppermann


Boris Schneider-Johne, born in 1966, helped shape the early years of games culture in Germany from the mid-eighties onwards for various computer magazines and as a translator of various computer games into German.

As a product manager, he was also responsible for the launch of the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Kinect over the span of ten years. Boris still works at Microsoft, where he has been doing business development with partner companies for cloud solutions for several years.


You have been in the games industry for some time. And you have seen many trends come and go. From the beginning of your career to today: What has changed most positively in the industry, and what bothers you about the current situation?

It is certainly positive that today there are many technical possibilities to develop games and thus to be particularly creative. We had a “democratic” phase in the eighties, where individuals developed games on home computers, but then at the end of the nineties a time when the market was virtually closed off except for shareware on PCs. Today, creative indies can build fantastic games with inexpensive tools and even self-publish on console.

But the big horror is everything in the area of free-2-play, loot boxes and “additional content”. There used to be a clear deal: you give me amount X and get game Y in return. But today, the biggest business is with products that try to pull money out of the user’s pocket for rubbish via psychological tricks. That’s the main reason why I don’t like working in this industry anymore.


Which key learnings in marketing can other industries draw from the games industry?

It can work to hype a product for two years before it even hits the market. That may still be the case with a few movies – but hardly in any other market segment. And of course it’s not universally transferable. But perhaps there are areas where you can really get people hooked on a product long before it comes out. Because, sadly, even if the product isn’t that great, you will have fans who defend it for the manufacturer.


Who are your role models in the industry?

Trip Hawkins and his “Can a computer make you cry?” campaign, in which he portrayed game designers as rock stars and artists.


How did the marketing and promotion of games change in recent years? Where are we headed in games marketing in the next years to come?

Is there still advertising for games at all? Or is it all just “influencers” now? I’m soooo out of the loop.


Which social media channels do you see as key for the games industry?

I can only speak as a private person here and I have retired from social media.


About the current trend on creators and influencer marketing: The trend towards more micro and macro influencers with a smaller reach and less fans, but more authenticity and engagement: How can the Games industry leverage that trend in your opinion?

That is a contradiction in terms: If it’s supposed to be authentic, it can’t be done via marketing. Marketing has never been authentic, at least not on the side of the producers, even if consumers keep believing it.


The media landscape has changed massively in the last ten years. However, PR is still one of the most important communications tools in the games sector. Where do you see PR in the next five years, what will the challenges be?

The attention span of consumers is nearly zero nowadays, media outlets are interchangeable, there is an information overload. I think “word of mouth” and social pressure are the essential aspects in gaming. What is my peer group playing, where do I have to be involved in order not to miss anything? Here, of course, leading media in the area of non-cell phone games still exists, but they have to fight for their readers online every day, because switching to another provider is much too easy – in contrast to canceling a subscription. A key aspect remains the PR coming from the platform provider: What content do Xbox, Playstation and Switch offer in their curated stores?


Bonus question: Which project / topic in your career are you particularly proud of?

The Xbox Live Living Room Tour (with regards to Sabine Reinhart). We paid various students a week’s vacation and then made ourselves comfortable in their apartments with a handful of Xboxes and invited journalists and influencers every evening for pizza, beer, and games. The most-laid-back PR tour ever. A few years later, I won a big award from Microsoft with a similar concept, the PC Life Tour in German shopping malls. Recreating and enhancing the real gaming experience remains a great concept. Don’t rent the Nürburgring and cars for a racing game demo, rent a student apartment, but put Nico Rosberg in there to race against the guests.

Founders Keepers

All about Marketing in Games and Tech.

Treasures and Insights

from leaders in tech and gaming around the globe



Frank is a seasoned leader in the IT industry with over 30 years of retail, partner, solutions and cloud transformation experience in sales and marketing.




Heiko Klinge began his industry career in November 2000 as a trainee at GameStar. Today he is the editor-in-chief of the biggest PC gaming website in Germany.




Peter Stock is responsible for the strategic purchasing within the organization of Microsoft Deutschland GmbH as well as within the sub-areas in Austria and Switzerland. 


Fabian Mario


Fabian Mario Döhla is Head of Communication at CD PROJEKT RED, the studio behind The Witcher games and Cyberpunk 2077.




Tom McQuillin has been in gaming for most of his career, first at Xbox in product marketing and product strategy and now at Facebook.




David Miller has worked in and around the video games industry for over 25 years. He started out in marketing and currently acts as Head of Games for War Child.


Leya Jankowski

Leya Jankowski is editor-in-chief of MeinMMO, Germany’s leading multiplayer site. She is the person in charge of content and content strategy.


Philipp Walter

Philipp spent ten years in the sporting goods industry, five of those at adidas. Now Philipp is a founder himself and CEO of Gamers Academy.


Chris Van der Kuyl

Chris van der Kuyl is one of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs working across various industries. His company 4J Studios brought Minecraft to consoles.


Ingo Horn

Ingo Horn is founder of Gaming-Aid e.V. and Letsplay4Charity e.V. as well as Communication Director Europe at Wargaming. He began his career as a local newspaper editor.


Funda Yakin

Funda Yakin has been working for agencies, publishers and on the industry side in marketing for nearly 20 years.


Michel Bonetti

Michel Bonetti is product manager at Orange and was active in countless sectors, keeping the business development as a constant point of interest.


Petra Fröhlich

Petra Fröhlich worked as editor-in-chief at PC Games for more than a decade until she eventually founded GamesWirtschaft, her very own news portal about video games.


Daniel Bollers

“Daniel is one of the most successful sales allrounders for consumer electronics. We’ve known each other for over 10 years now and his insights and teachings are always a true source of inspiration for me!”


Hendrik Lesser

„I know Hendrik not only as a games industry veteran, but also as a member of the global Entrepreneurs’ Organization to which we both belong. He has built a little empire comprised of game developers. I really appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit.”


David Clark

“David and I go way back to the good old times at SEGA. He played a fundamental role in shaping the games business in the UK and has a ton of experience in all areas of marketing. Currently, he is building bridges between Europe and Asia for games publishers.”


Thorsten Hamdorf

“I’ve known Thorsten for nearly twenty years and worked closely with him. He is a really knowledgeable marketing man.”


Wim Stocks

“Wim is a seasoned executive in the video games industry. I met him when we worked for Atari many moons ago. He is a renowned expert in the interactive entertainment industry.”


Tom Dusenberry

“Tom was my boss in the nineties when I worked at Hasbro. He founded the gaming division ‘Hasbro Interactive’ and made a bunch of bold and disruptive decisions. His vision was to become as large as Electronic Arts. Unfortunately, Hasbro sold the gaming division. I bet today it would have been as big as EA.”


Maxi Gräff

“I’ve been following Maxis career for some time now, ever since her time at IDG where she worked for GamePro and GameStar. She started playing around with YouTube early on, knows the video games industry inside out and is working for Microsoft since 2015. She’s an advocate for the industry and especially for equal rights. That’s amazing!”


Philipp Hartmann

“In the past six years, Phillipp set a lot of things in motion over at Microsoft. He didn’t just support the reconstruction of the brand and the transition of stationary commerce, he shaped it.”


Trip Hawkins

“There are very few super entrepreneurs who defined the video game industry from the start. While Nolan Bushnell shaped the hardware, the one and only Trip Hawkins defined the software. He is the founder of Electronic Arts! He made developers rockstars! No more words needed. His career speaks for itself.”


David Perry

Perry started in Northern Ireland working on the Sinclair ZX81 (early 1980’s), he moved to England from high school, ending up with a #1 hit for Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. 


Caroline Miller

Founder and Managing Director at Indigo Pearl, an award-winning PR and asset management agency specializing in video games. Caroline founded Indigo Pearl in 2000 and prior to this worked in-house within the games industry. 


Boris Schneider-Johne

Boris Schneider-Johne, born in 1966, helped shape the early years of games culture in Germany. He is a true legend.


Volker Prott

Volker Prott, a man for marketing and media. After studying media economics, Volker first worked in the world of media agencies and then joined Electronic Arts (EA) in the media and marketing departments.




David started his career in computers at the age of 13 when he used his paper route savings to purchase an Apple II computer in 1978. He was a global leader and shaped EA and Atari, before becoming an investor in the most valuable Gaming companies on this planet.


Thomas Mey

My name is Thomas Mey. I have been earning my bread and butter in the trade since completing my apprenticeship as an electrician. That was a good 30 years ago.


Michel Wedler

Long-standing executive and expert in purchasing & product management and sales in retail for entertainment products, especially in the areas of music, film, games, consoles, accessories, merchandise, and toys. 




Oliver Menne started in the games industry at the end of the 80s, at the time of the Commodore 64. He runs Eurogamer in Germany today.


Hans Ippisch

Hans Ippisch’s professional career began in 1986, when he signed his first contract as a game developer at Rainbow Arts at the age of 16. Today, he heads up Intellivision Europe.


Mike Steup

Mike has 25 years of experience in management, sales & marketing, and product development. He is the king of peripherals and recently launched an amazing Kids tablet with Disney.

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