31st Union

Meet Kent Pham: Senior Tech Operations Admin at 31U

Est. Read Time3 minutes, 20 seconds
As we celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month, we are proud to feature Sr. Tech Ops Administrator Kent Pham. His story offers an inspiring glimpse into the diverse backgrounds that enrich our studio.

----------

In celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, we are proud to feature Kent Pham, Senior Technical Operations Administrator at 31st Union. Kent’s entry into the world of game development is a testament to the unexpected paths that lead us to our passions. His story is not just about being in the right place at the right time; it’s about embracing opportunities and thriving in an environment that values trust and innovation. Kent’s journey offers an inspiring glimpse into the diverse backgrounds and stories that enrich our studio. Read on to learn more.

31U | Developer Profile - Kent Pham

What inspired you to go into video game development?

I have been a huge gamer since I was young, so I was very happy and surprised when I applied to 2K Games and got a junior position in their IT dept. It was the first video game company to give me a positive response and I jumped at it. Later, I was fortunate enough to be close to the 31st Union studio and to be assigned here as the designated support member. I was lucky to be the right person at the right time.

What surprised you about video game development?

The biggest surprise to me was how many people are involved in creating a single project of this ambition. From the passionate folks in design and art, to the brilliant engineers, the fantastic production teams, the marketing rockstars, and every team in between. I sit through the credits of every Marvel movie to see the end scene, but I never mentally connected how the movie is a result of the hard work from that enormous list of names. The sheer scope of the teamwork and collaboration involved to get a project to launch is mind boggling.

How have video games influenced your life?

It has been my dream to work in the gaming/entertainment industry ever since I got my first gaming console as a kid. I never really pursued that passion because my parents had rejected the idea of video games. I would spend countless hours in front of a TV instead of studying to be a doctor. Why spend all that time to study to become a doctor when you could just instantly be a doctor in Surgeon Simulator? :)

Are there any current trends in gaming that you find exciting or inspiring?

Augmented reality and virtual reality are both so fascinating! The technology is still young, but there is such limitless potential waiting to be discovered. I recently saw a post about Disney's HoloTile floor technology that's basically a modular, omni-directional, multi-person treadmill floor. Pair that tech with a room built out for virtual reality and you can be dropped into any immersive world you want!

What is unique about 31st Union compared to the broader industry?

31st Union has been like my family away from home. The studio was founded and created with a strong focus on culture. We have these large Togetherness Week events where we fly in and house all our US remote employees so folks can meet new faces, create relationships, and collaborate in real time. Those interactions and events are some of my favorite things to help plan and experience here at 31st Union.

Which of our Studio Values most resonates with you? Please explain.

Thrive on Trust. For any given relationship in life, whether it be personal or professional, I believe the most important factor is trust. To me, trust is the foundation that all the other studio values build upon. I trust that the studio will accept me for who I am. That acceptance allows me to take risks, make mistakes, and ultimately learn from them so we can continue to chase the horizon. In return, I know that the studio places their trust in me to elevate and maintain the most seamless tech experience possible.

What is your favorite game? What do you love about it?

This is the hardest question yet! Divinity Original Sin 2 and Baldur's Gate are two very notable mentions as I have a lot of time dropped in those two games. Honestly, I bounce around between games so much that it really depends on my mood or which game has a big update that pulls me back in. If I were a streamer then I would be a variety game streamer because I can't stick to one game for too long.

Tell us something about yourself that many people do not know about you.

I am a big foodie (especially dessert) and an escape room enthusiast. On weekends, you’ll often find me trying new local restaurants or looking for bakeries. I have done over 100 escape rooms all around the world. The two main reasons for me to travel to another country are usually the food and the escape rooms. A few of my favorites here in the SF Bay Area include Trivium Games in Emeryville, any of the Palace of Fine Arts rooms, and the Omescape Escape Room games. I also used to work at Omescape!