Mike Steup

“Mike is one of those “hidden champions”. As a gaming industry veteran, he specialized in gaming accessories that his business supplies to major retail groups around the globe. From control pads to kids’ tablets: he is always committed to developing new ideas and to me, he is simply a great entrepreneur.”


Founders Keepers

7+1 Questions

interviewed by

Torsten Oppermann


Mike has 25 years of experience in management, sales & marketing, and product development. He is a visionary and founder of snakebyte|GROUP, a company with offices in Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, China and USA. He has been responsible for the development of over 100 products with sales totaling at over 50 million units. His product concepts for well-known brands such as snakebyte, Pebble Gear and Honeycomb changed industries. Mike has a unique network of industry leaders around the world. His personal relationships in the Asian market are unparalleled. Mike is the owner of several trademarks and patents.


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?

Overall, the opportunities to come into contact with the respective target groups have expanded considerably. Thanks to the many social media channels and influencers with wide reach, we currently have a large number of touchpoints for brands and products. In addition, these channels offer the opportunity to create back channels. The feedback from the communities is very valuable and a great, absolutely positive development compared to the “old days” when one-dimensional advertising was the only way to promote a product, besides PR, which is still important. At the same time, the effort required to take this development into account has increased.


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

The games industry has always been a pioneer when it comes to marketing. This is primarily due to the fact that target groups and their media usage behavior are constantly changing. Only those who constantly adapt to the dynamic changes in marketing can survive. Marketing must act and react much faster here than in other industries. Streaming and influencer marketing, for example, were already established when other industries took their first tentative steps into these areas. 


Who are your role models in the industry?

Role models are currently not an issue, although I am of course always open to inspiration. 


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?

Above all, we see that social media is also becoming increasingly important in the area of communication with end customers. The social networks are our direct point of contact and we are very happy about the direct exchange and feedback. In addition, we also see these communication channels as a tool for building a community, which members gradually become fans. 

In addition to the opportunities in the online area, the importance of selected, individual promotions in retail is also increasing. Together with our retail partners, we work out perfectly tailored promotions to optimize product presentation within retail worlds. This is also reflected in the development of focusing again on individual products instead of major brands. 


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

We select the social media channels we use individually according to our objectives. For snakebyte Group’s corporate communications, we use our LinkedIn profile for direct communication with industry representatives. For snakebyte’s gaming hardware customer communications, we have developed detailed Facebook and Twitter concepts, while addressing the target group for Pebble Gear is primarily done via Facebook and Instagram. Generally, video content in particular is becoming increasingly important in social media, which is why we will also integrate YouTube more strongly in the future.


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?

For one thing, these micro and macro influencers are often in very close contact with their community, which creates greater authenticity. In addition, their communities tend to be heterogeneous, which allows us to achieve a 100 percent overlap with the selected target group, instead of advertising to larger influencers with high overhead-waste. Furthermore, the target-group-specific approach of micro and macro influencers is mostly outside the influencer bubble with inflated price expectations.


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?

Due to the ever-growing number of high-quality games and brands that are discovering the games and e-sports sectors, we expect editorial teams to be even more selective about which topics can be covered. At the same time, however, editorial departments are becoming smaller and smaller. That’s why it’s absolutely essential for us to address editorial departments in a way that is tailored to their target groups, presenting editors with use-cases and story-angles that are perfectly tailored to our product worlds and the corresponding medium. We already see editors as brand ambassadors whom we would like to turn into our fans. That’s why we are in close contact with editors and actively ask for their feedback on the new products we present.


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

As snakebyte Group, we were able to establish a successful collaboration with Disney in the licensing business with our Pebble Gear Kids tablets. The product opened up a whole new category for Disney in their powerful portfolio and we are the first licensee worldwide for a digital product. We are also very proud of the fact that both the hardware and the software were developed completely in-house. The Disney brands “Frozen”, “Toy Story” and “Mickey and Friends” and “Cars” are among the most popular licenses in the children’s segment and Disney is probably the best-known brand in the entertainment segment in this age group.

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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