Getting To Know Joy Keene
31 January 2023

Joy has joined the NZGDA this week as Executive Director so we asked her a few questions to get to know her more:


What is it about the NZ Game Dev Community that inspires you?

I am insanely creative across a wide range of things, so the work being done in NZ’s Game Dev community absolutely spins my wheels. I can get caught up with excellent design and process as well. I think that imagination is the only real  barrier to creating anything and game development has such an important part to play in the narrative we all share by conveying messages and expeirences through the art of Game Development.  I will give (almost) anything a go and draw inspiration from  the people and opportunities around me and the technology advances that are being made every day, not just in the gaming sector but in juxtaposed fields that are using AR/VR and AI to change peoples lives.


What is a memorable gaming moment you have had or shared?

Somehow I don’t think that “when I levelled up in Sonic!”  is the response you want to hear.  Up front I am not a gamer.  In my teens, platform games were big back then ( ie Alex kid and Sonic were cool, but you know, not great) but I never really gravitated towards anything more than that.

Over the years, my husband and 4 kids have, of course, monopolised the consoles in our house, and I haven’t been immune to their excitement and passion for gaming, the bank account has definitely been drained for the latest consoles, games and gadgets over the years.  My first experience of VR is one memorable moment, it was simply amazing. I had no idea how real it could feel to be flying in an X-wing, overlooking the planets and dodging those tie fighters while standing in your lounge.  This was also a time when I had a lightbulb moment, “VR is going to change everything”

What do you hope to achieve over the next year?

There is so much work that can be done in our industry, but I want to start with the basics first..  I want to understand intimately the wants, needs and aspirations of both our members and our community at large, and turn those insights into the drivers for an action plan.  I plan to meet with as many members, studios and leaders as I can over the coming weeks, to get an understanding of the industry, the success and the challenges that we face. Staffing resources, and the pressures around recruiting and retention is having a huge impact on our community so, I would like to be able to look back on the year and be able to say that we put something in place that is helping relieve that pressure for our members and we have a firm hold on what  the members want for our industry in the future along with a plan to get us there.

How can people get in contact with you if they have any questions?

I am happy to chat with members and stakeholders, any time. The best way to get me is via email, ( but happy for you to call on 021 get joy ( yes it really is my number! 021 438 569) or you can book time with me directly via my scheduler at