Welcome To The Hustle Nation!

It’s time to embrace your awkwardness…

In this episode of the Hustle Nation podcast, we talk with Ben Kvalo, founder and CEO of Midwest Games, a video game publisher. We discuss the nostalgia of video games and the joy they bring, as well as the history of video game development in Wisconsin. Ben shares his personal journey with video games and how it led him to found Midwest Games. He also talks about the lessons he learned from his time at Netflix and the importance of building a strong culture in a company. In this conversation, Ben Kvalo discusses the importance of encouraging feedback and dialogue in a company culture. He emphasizes the value of challenging ideas and the benefits of collaboration and feedback. Ben also talks about the need to change the game industry by investing in talent from different regions, particularly the Midwest. He highlights the potential for success in game development outside of traditional gaming hubs. Additionally, Ben shares insights into funding and developing games, the perception of video games in society, and the future of gaming with cloud gaming. He concludes by inviting listeners to connect with him and explore exciting games from Midwest Games.

My greatest takeaway from this conversation is the profound impact of fostering a company culture that champions feedback, challenges, and dialogue. Ben’s emphasis on these values, drawing from his experiences at companies like Netflix, underlines the necessity of nurturing an environment where innovative ideas thrive through collaboration and constructive criticism. Moreover, his journey from a passionate gamer to a visionary leader, intent on changing the industry’s geographic biases by showcasing the Midwest’s capabilities, inspires a broader perspective on where and how the future of gaming can evolve. The discussion about the future, particularly the possibilities with cloud gaming, hints at a landscape ripe with opportunities for developers and publishers willing to embrace change and invest in untapped talent and ideas.


00:00 – Introduction and Nostalgia for Video Games

03:20 – Video Game Development in Wisconsin

08:42 – Personal Journey with Video Games

11:00 – Founding Midwest Games

24:27 – Building the Team and Unique Culture at Midwest Games

26:28 – Encouraging Feedback and Dialogue

28:17 – The Importance of Challenging Ideas

30:58 – Collaboration and Feedback at Netflix

32:06 – Changing the Game Industry

36:37 – Investing in the Midwest

41:01 – Funding and Developing Games

46:10 – The Perception of Video Games

49:27 – The Future of Gaming: Cloud Gaming

53:26 – Supporting Game Development in the Midwest

54:25 – Connect with Ben Kvalo

55:27 – Exciting Games from Midwest Games

Ben Kvalo on LinkedIn
Midwest Games website