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!”


Founders Keepers


interviewed by

Torsten Oppermann


Maxi Gräff has been in the video games industry for 12 years, six of them with Microsoft. She started out at the International Data Group (IDG) where she wrote for GameStar and GamePro and founded the YouTube channel High5. After standing in front of a camera and producing daily videos about video games, movies and tv series for three years, she switched to Microsoft. She is currently overseeing marketing communication for Xbox in the German-speaking region.


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?

The industry became more inclusive. There is so much progress happening in game development in terms of accessible gaming but also with representation & diversity in storytelling. There are specific jobs that focus on these tasks and in a more general sense I also see positive progress for women in gaming. However, despite all the great progress that has been made, we’re still at the beginning and there are many areas needing improvement. The great thing about this industry is that when it comes to inclusion, there is no competitive thinking and we’re all candidly sharing our learnings and developments with each other.


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

In the video game industry, there is one thing that you want to sell before anything else: fun. With video games, we want to delight and put a smile on the faces of people. And this affects marketing and drives community engagement. The players are always at the center of this operation and the feedback loop, optimization and playout is an ongoing cycle that generates loyal customers. Think about your target audience at every step of the way and do nothing without them.


Who are your role models in the industry?

Jade Raymond was my absolute role model when I just started out, but I also stayed a fangirl of Bonnie Ross and Kiki Wolfkill to this date. For me, there are many role models in the community, like Melanie Eilbert and Dennis from Wheelyworld, who are actively advocating for accessible gaming. I also take my hat off to the developers and streamers who have been met with hostility but don’t let that stop them. There are many everyday gaming heroes and heroines that make gaming a better place.


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?

The digital proportion is growing steadily. Media campaigns are focusing on social and online. Even retailers set up new channels and increasingly address their target audience directly through social and digital events. I think games marketing is going to keep developing digitally and change content-wise – with focus on the community, storytelling and diverse content.


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

Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter.


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?

There are networks and providers that automatically help with placing their products. That’s a good mechanic which is especially helpful in teams with limited resources to consider influencer channels in the own amplification plan. The biggest advantage: affiliate marketing and programs where both sides profit from.


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?

PR is and continues to be an important element. Some companies link PR with marketing, some draw a distinction between them. I’m a fan of the latter. PR isn’t a form of advertisement, but an equal partner in communications. One that provides safety and maintains relations and results in a positive positioning. But PR also fights for an equal voice because it doesn’t have clear figures like marketing does. The challenge is and continues to be the measurability of measures with adequate tools and also the mindset in leadership teams. At Microsoft, PR sits at the same table with the management which tends to be the exception than the rule.


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

One of my current projects was the „Women in Gaming“ controller which we’ve realized in partnership with Serviceplan and Fijak. We rebuilt the controller so that it can play voice lines. I gathered different voices from the international industry who recorded a positive message. We then sent the controller to influencers in more than 20 countries. The feedback has been very emotional and at the center of the campaign was the message that everybody is there for everyone.

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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