G. Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, once said, “One of the most difficult tasks men can perform, however much others may despise it, is the invention of good games.” History states that the first ever video game was developed by a physicist, William Higinbotham, in the 1950s. Today, about seven decades later, the gaming industry has become a major contributor to the global entertainment economy. This sector poses interesting and challenging opportunities for prospective employees.
Video games have seen it all, starting from arcade and single gaming consoles to making their way into our mobile phones and daily lives. If you are looking to enter the gaming industry, this article is the perfect guide to help you begin your journey.
What is the scope of the gaming industry?
The gaming industry has an array of career choices to offer. It makes up for a large segment on the employment front too. According to statistics shared by the American Gaming Association, game industry jobs provide employment to as many as 1.7 million individuals, with the employment rate growing by 62,000 jobs (on average) every year.
Jobs in the gaming industry
The most common myth about game industry jobs is the lack of options. However, game careers are not limited to game design and game development. Here are some game industry jobs that you can take up as a profession:
- Video Game Designer: you don’t code and cannot sketch, but you have a million-dollar idea for a game that could be a breakthrough. Well, you are not in for a disappointment. The job of a video game designer is to create a blueprint of the characters and the purpose of the game.
- Video Game Artist: drink some coffee, grab your sketchbook and wake up the artist in you! Video game designers need to work around animated characters to design the game. Here’s where a video game artist’s talent comes into play. So, go ahead and draw your imagination!
- Writer: almost every video game has a background story. Take for instance the popular game, “Marvel Contest of Champions”. The dialogue depiction is a major part of the game and, of course, needs writers. Today, many games incorporate scripts to make the games look more interactive. Moreover, writers are also responsible for the manuals and the in-game menus.
- Audio Programmer: a major element, and one of the USPs of any game, is the background score. Long gone are the days when music was just part of movies and plays. In fact, the sound effects in a game have proven to be as important as the game’s visual appeal. This is where audio engineers play their part in making the gaming experience worthwhile.
- Game Programmer: to become a video game programmer, you need two things – a knack for coding and a love for video games. For your support, you will need the whole ensemble of the video game designer, writers, video game artists, audio programmer and a slew of other video game professionals. However, you will be responsible for bringing the game to life on a device.
- Game Tester: Imagine getting paid for playing games? Well, that’s what a game tester has to do - for a living - almost every day! Though it sounds merry and fun, the job of a games tester is not any easier than that of a video game designer or a game developer. Game testers have to pay attention to minute details while playing the game so that they can take notes on the user interface and glitches (in case there are any).
- Professional Gamer: though it sounds unbelievable, playing games can make you rich. With YouTube videos becoming a major source of income for many, “All play and no work” doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all. The trending “Let’s Play” videos have earned competitive gamers enough to live a comfortable life.
- Game Producer: It may seem like the industry is run by video games designers and game developers, however, that is not the case. A vital element in getting a video game up and running in the market is the job of a game producer. Game producers are responsible for handling the budget, project management and marketing of video games.
The gaming industry and its perks
Financial motivation can drive you ahead in life! The game development industry is known to pay well and is one of the many illustrious professions in the world. Though the salary of a game development professional varies depending on the organisation, we have come up with an estimate. So, before you step into the gaming world, here’s an overview of what your bank balance will look like.
A video game designer and an audio programmer are most likely to not have the same set of skills that are instrumental in a game. However, their worth in the market, in terms of average salary, is estimated to be around £30,000 per annum. A video game artist’s average salary is around £40,000 per annum, while that of a game producer varies from £40,000 to £80,000 depending on the success of the game. A writer’s average income also depends on the game’s success and can go up to £150,000!
It is evident that game development careers are top-notch, in terms of thrill as well as financially.
What are the personal traits required to enter the gaming industry?
The video game industry is diverse and competitive. Hence, it is important that you know the pre-requisites before you grace the gaming world. The personal attributes that will carve your path for entering the industry are:
- Enthusiasm: video games are all about fun and excitement, therefore, it is important that you are enthusiastic and passionate about video games in general. The video game development profession comes with its share of hardships and it will only work out if you really believe in the idea. Ralph Baer, the Father of Video Games once said, “It's like I'm basically an artist. I'm no different from a painter who sits there and loves what he does.”
- Life is a learning curve: As you go along the way, you should be open to learning new things. Given the rapid pace with which this industry is growing, it is only fair to say that the world is just starting to understand the fundamentals of the industry.
- Game, gamer, gaming! If you love gaming, it will give you an edge over others in terms of understanding the intricate details of the gaming industry. After all, only a gamer knows how video games fit in people’s lives.
- Tick-tock, tick-tock: Like any other profession, deadlines are crucial in this profession. Hence, time management is a skill that is imperative for a video game developer.
- Educational skills: It is paramount to have sound technical knowledge for a successful career in the video game development industry. You should know your worth and you should be able to contribute to the best of your capabilities in order to make the game a success.
What are the educational qualifications required for entering the gaming industry?
The stepping stone for a successful career in any industry is having the right educational qualifications. So if you want to ace this field, make sure you have the appropriate technical skills to give you a great start.
Since game development is not limited to programming, there are a variety of courses that are being offered in this domain. To help you choose the right profession, some of the major game development courses are listed below:
- Bachelor of Game Art and Design
- Bachelor of Game Software Development
- Game Art/Interactive Media Design
- Video Game Development and Programming
- Computer Animation
- Software Engineering
- BS in Computer Science and Digital Audio
- BA in Music and Sound Design
The above mentioned are only a few of the various degrees that will help in your quest to enter the world of video game design and development.
London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA) offers a course in HNC/HND Computer Game Animation to help gaming fans realise their dream. So, wait no more and enrol for the course now!
This article was written by Meghdeep Patnaik and edited by Anisa Choudhary.