The process of creation and publication of a modern video game involves a large number of technical and non-technical tasks. The video game is the end result of coordinated efforts of numerous technical experts, the production team, marketing staff and many other individuals. Broadly speaking, the various career options in the gaming industry can be classified into the following categories:
Game designing encompasses a wide range of activities, from creation of the basic game concept to conceptualization of the game’s plot, characters, maps, gameplay, user interface and other aspects and facets of the game. As a student or young graduate, you can focus on specific aspects or facets of game designing. At the lower level, game designing and programming activities often overlap.
As a game programmer, you will be converting the basic concept into the actual game. This will involve writing the code that will be utilized by the game engine to render the game on the screen. Technical skills apart, game designing and programming will also involve creative talent who will create and fine-tune the visual aspects of the game.
Game designing and programming involves creating animations as well. Ultimately, the game that is played on the screen is no different from an animation movie where the characters can be controlled through a computer or gaming console.
To become a game designer, you can opt for technical qualifications related to programming, computer science, and computer-aided designs. Creative qualifications involve degrees in cinematic arts with emphasis on production, animation, digital arts, game development and other creative technologies. A degree in animation and computer designing is essential if you wish to focus on creating animation for new games.
As a gaming enthusiast, you will be aware of the importance of audio, music and sounds in creating the perfect gaming experience. Modern games incorporate detailed scripts that include voiceovers of different characters, background music and many other sounds. Professional sound degree programs and courses combined with programming knowledge can help you join the audio engineering team of a publisher or reputable gaming studio.
Creating a game from scratch requires close coordination between various teams and departments working on different aspects and facets of the game. Game production involves coordinating the activities of all participants to ensure a glitch-free game is produced without any time or cost overruns. For such jobs, a degree in management or administration combined with knowledge or expertise in all aspects of game designing will be ideal.
Like all other products and services, video games require a detailed marketing strategy. While the basic concepts of marketing remain the same, you will be required to understand the unique characteristics of the gaming industry to ensure the finished product is properly marketed to its target audience. A professional marketing degree combined with hands-on experience in the gaming industry will help you manage the challenges involved in the competitive world of video game marketing.
Quality assurance testing
As a QA tester, your job will be to do your best to break the game. This position is often described as the simplest way to break into the gaming industry. A tester does not require any special skills except for the interest and patience to play games continuously for long hours. The tester’s job is to identify bugs and glitches in the code before the game hits the shelves. Becoming a tester is the easiest way to learn more about how the gaming industry functions and the challenges involved in working in the gaming industry.
Breaking into the gaming industry
Apart from working as a QA tester, which is a task that does not require any specific skills or qualifications, one can break into the gaming industry through the old-fashioned way of getting the right degree and applying for a job with a gaming company or publisher. You can obtain additional qualifications and skills that will increase your chances of getting a job immediately after completing your degree.
Another option is to come up with your own game and popularize it on the Internet. This will help you get noticed and increase your chances of getting a job, despite not having any work experience. Alternatively, you can opt for internships with gaming studios and publishers to get a peek into how the gaming industry works even before you complete your degree. This will also help you make professional contacts, which can prove beneficial after you complete your education.
You can also visit gaming conventions and events to develop contacts in the gaming industry. Unlike other fields, the video gaming industry is still open to hiring skilled people who are passionate about playing and creating video games, even if they don’t have the requisite academic credentials.
Growth options in the gaming industry
There are numerous opportunities available for those seeking to work in the gaming industry. You can join big gaming companies like Activision Blizzard, EA, Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony, and work your way to the top. You can work for mid-sized publishers and studios that make video games for computers, gaming consoles and smartphones. You also have the option of making your own game and approaching studios that may be interested in acquiring the game and utilizing your talent.
A successful career in the gaming industry will help you enjoy fame, wealth and a cult status within the gaming community. Developing a successful game will give you the satisfaction of providing entertainment to gamers all over the world.
A look at the career of a gaming industry veteran like Bobby Kotick can help you understand the prestige involved in having a successful gaming career. Apart from his credential as CEO at one of the most powerful gaming companies in the industry, Bobby Kotick has worked towards ensuring all stakeholders and participants in the gaming industry work towards offering the best value-for-money experience to the end user – the ordinary gamer. Bobby Kotick presentations highlights the Call of Duty Endowment, which is a philanthropic initiative aimed at providing better job opportunities to military veterans.
Unlike other professions, being passionate about gaming is an essential requirement to succeed in this fast-paced and highly competitive industry. If you aspire to join the gaming industry, then you should develop a keen interest in gaming, acquire the required skills, and establish your own professional network at the earliest to achieve your dream.
Aimee Wilson is a freelance writer who specializes in the gaming world, technology and everything arty or creative. Keen on the arts in her spare time, Aimee shares her home with 5 dogs.