We sat down with Paul Bettner, Founder & CEO and Katy Bettner, Co-Founder of Playful Studios, a premier game development studio in McKinney, TX.
Playful relocated in October 2019 from 221 E. Louisiana St., Ste. B, McKinney, to 300 E. Davis St., McKinney. The company’s new headquarters is a 55,000-square foot building with a beautiful industrial aesthetic, perfectly situated in downtown McKinney. With three kitchens, a library area, a children’s playroom, a recording studio and tons of office and meeting space; you can say that the culture inside Playful is truly unique!
Let’s hear from Paul and Katy Bettner about owning a business in McKinney.
Why did you choose McKinney for your headquarters?
[Paul] (giggles) I had only known about McKinney because in Dallas there is a sign that said “This way to McKinney” and I thought WOW that must be pretty far out there! However, when I met my wife she is from McKinney, grew up in McKinney and her parents live in McKinney. Actually I think the first time I came out to McKinney was when I was being introduced to Katy’s parents. They live in the historic neighborhood in the heart of McKinney and I remember I immediately fell in love with this place so much so we ironically now live right across the street from her parents.
I just remember driving into downtown areas and feeling like I stepped back into the 60s or 50s. I still describe it like the scene from Back to the Future with the clock tower, that’s basically what McKinney is– a magical place! I love it and soon as I got to know the city, it was an easy decision to want to live here and build our lives here.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
[Paul] The unpredictability of it! My favorite thing about it (what I have always loved about gaming) is the ability to create things and be a part of a team that is creating amazing things. Then once that thing is ready we get to share it with an audience (children and adults) and then watch their eyes light up and watch that joy on their face and share that experience. I love building things and then watching those things make people happy!
What is your favorite thing about McKinney?
[Paul] Our new office here! Every time I drive by it, I can’t believe what we have created! It’s physically there.
[Katy] We are so invested in keeping downtown McKinney what it is instead of it becoming something else. We could have moved to Plano, Frisco, whatever, but we had no desire to make downtown McKinney anything but what it should be and either we are going to develop this or someone is going to come in that wants to put a Walmart here. A lot of people have come up to me and said that we did a great job. That the building looks like it could have been here awhile, but does have some modern elements, but seems to match with the rest of the city.
What would you tell other business owners about McKinney?
[Paul] It is such a great recruiting tool for us honestly because we don’t necessarily tell people a lot if they are going to come interview with us, but as soon as they come and they first see the studio and think it’s amazing and then we always take them out on the Square and walk them around, grab lunch– it’s part of the charm. And we have had a few people who are skeptical at first, especially if they’re from the coast and then they get here and see McKinney and are like “oh this great!”
[Katy] Honestly, we have tons of people that we shouldn’t be able to recruit, but the work life balance they are able to have here in McKinney is unique. One of the things that I think is really special about McKinney is you can take a 30-minute drive and can be at a major airport, you could take a 30-minute drive and be at the best shopping in the city. There’s no place like McKinney.
Playful Studios has a capacity of 220 employees and they are currently up to 80 (as of August 2019) so if you are interested in a career at Playful, situated in unique McKinney, click here to check out their current job openings.