@FarikoBrainiac meets up with @Scuf_Si Simon Burgess

the co-founder of Scuf Gaming

So, for this session of teambuilding I sat down with Simon Burgess, the inventor of the Scuf Controller and Technical Officer of Scuf Gaming. I started by asking a bit about his personal background and this is where an interesting story began...

Simon is 40 years old and lives together with his wife Maz, with whom he has two children: a son and a daughter. His daughter Katiya is 12 years old and his son Dylan is 20 years old and also the workshop manager for Scuf Gaming in Europe. For being dyslectic Simon had difficulties at school with English, history and other subjects that required a lot of reading. He did enjoy math and science but lessons in those subjects just didn't move fast enough for him. And as a typical inventor Simon didn't have much engagement with the standard way of education and left school at the age of 16. He picked up an engineering apprenticeship to get experience in creating things with his hands. His passion for design was developed in a practical way in an early part of his life. Simon managed to achieve a good level of engineering which lead him to go study Biology at University. This also resulted in him being a cabinet maker and a bio-mechanical engineer for a while.

Besides being a family-man, a passionate inventor and designer, Simon as a person is also a strong idealist. He tested as an ENFJ in MBTI. His motto in life is to treat others as you would like to be treated, but his actions even go beyond that. For example he once found a friend that squatted a house and was starving with little hope left. Without hesitation Simon took his friend into his home and still takes care of him getting back on his feet. His friend is showing good progress to independence again. As Simon summarized it himself: he wants to make people smile. :)

His passion for design and perfecting products is of course seen in the way he is devoted to Scuf Gaming, he wants the customers to love Scufs work. As a true idealist good design is more important than success and money.

Simons gaming career started in 1981 with his first ever computer; the zx81 it was an instant hook on videogames. But during his childhood he was actually more busy cycling and sailing. And during his teen years girls and partying definitely interested him more. With the release of HALO by Microsoft on the Xbox he simply knew he had to get on board. His wife bought the set for Xmas but like the big kid he was he talked his wife into letting him have it early. And so Halo on the Xbox resulted in many hours of gameplay. At the time he did not play it online due to not having a proper broadband connection. This changed with the Xbox360 and Halo3 lead him into competitive gaming. He soon discovered Call of Duty and made him join a team. With his team he also joined in competitive gaming on GameBattles. With his team the two starting sparks of creating the Scuf controller were born:

  1. His team name was SCUF, after the English verb scuffle, to fight.
  2. Simon was not happy with his lousy jump shot. ;)

In his quest to improve his jumpshot Simon tried out many different controllers. But none of them were satisfactory. So, he started thinking about solving this challenge himself. With two microswitches and one of his daughters hairbands (!) he created the paddles. The first ever prototype of the soon to be Scuf Controller was born. But he didn't stop there; he noticed he pressed the triggers while he was moving. The reason for this was he depressed the triggers so he could hold it right to the point of firing. He then realised that a grub screw through the case in the right place would depress the trigger-mechanism and allow calibration; the hair-trigger. Simon was pleased with the Scuf controller he made for himself and used it for the next few months improving his own gameplay but not realising the potential behind the idea. He didn't give it much thought business wise until he visited a friend at Xmas. playing COD4 with his friends standard pad made him realise he actually made something that others could use as well. So, he made another seven pads and passed them to his Clanmates; the first Scuf testers. His clanmates all tested the Scuf controller to much delight which motivated Simon to take Scuf to the next level; during the summer of Modern Warfare 2 he launched ScufControl. His wife Maz also saw the potential and stopped her career as a model to help set up ScufControl with Simon.

In the beginning ScufControl was a one page website containing a review by Ken Burton of the Scuf Controller as shown in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ecf1sKWVRyo To get his controller known amongst competitive players Simon offered the Scuf to DareDevil for him being the number one on GameBattles for many years in a row. Also the vPBrothers and Tommey helped out a lot in getting competitive gamers to know about the Scuf Controller. This was also the time when Simon met up with Duncan Ironmonger who brought in great business expertise. This is where Simon partnered with vDuncan and the modern ScufGaming was born. The skillsets of both Simon and Duncan combined truly made ScufGaming what it is today; the company providing competitive gamers with the best controller to be used in eSports.

Simon really loves eSports for it being a good example of teamwork and teambuilding. He wants to help eSports grow into a properly respected and followed sport in the world. Simon acknowledges room for improvement in eSports by participants increasing the respect amongst eachother. Taunting and abuse during a match is something that bothers Simon and he would like to see it disappear from eSports altogether. This also goes for substance abuse that lurks around the corner these days in the form of adderral and other performance enhancing drugs. But despite those issues Simon is convinced eSports will go a long way in helping young kids develop their overall skills by teamwork displayed during a match. Simon sees it as a duty to design the best equipment used by all eSports participants. In the words of Simon: "I want you to continue to love our work." which emphasizes his idealistic nature.

In ending the interview Simon gave a massive thanks to everyone's continued support for Scuf and a specific shoutout to his wife Maz and Scuf Gaming partner Duncan, for without them, he would not be where he is today. :)