If you love games and you have a passion for coding or drawing, you may be drawn to the gaming industry. A multi-billion market where new products are released every day, you will be in no shortage of professional opportunities as long as you have the skills or willingness to work hard and acquire those. Today, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) estimates that over 32,000 people work in the gaming industry in the United States and 120,000 more are dependent on this in one way or another.
The number of studios has been growing, too – from indie games, to console developers, mobile gaming solutions and of course the established long-time companies, such as Blizzard/Activision and Electronic Arts (EA) that have come to dominate the market and the world.
To make your way into the gaming industry and turn your love for games into a legitimate career path, you will need to obtain the necessary degree first. If you choose to draw, an Arts or Design degree will be your go-to option and for coding, a Programming degree will help you gain the knowledge you will need.
Of course, the costs of education will vary, too, ranging between $18,000 and $35,000 for the undergraduate degree. However, this will hardly suffice as the industry is seriously competitive and the best jobs will only be offered to those with the most experience and knowledge. Therefore, we highly recommend investing into additional educational materials while working through your undergraduate degree in an effort to get a leg up on your fellow students. Another popular suggestion is to start building your portfolio well before college.
Most of all, you will need to market yourself well by attending events that allow you to demonstrate your interest in the industry, and also meet people that are already working in big vendors or looking to hire. Alternatively, you may even be a professional eSports athlete.
Take, for example, Lyubomir “Splendour” Kozlovski, a professional Heroes of the Storm (HotS) player who has an undergraduate programming degree from a UK University and who is now considering to drop his career as an eSports athlete to pursue a post-graduate degree in game developing.
While you will notice that particular specialists of specific backgrounds are in higher demand, there are many jobs you can hold within the gaming industry. Game designers are at the top of the industry, as they work with artists, programmers, engineers and everyone involved in creating the separate elements of a game. The game designers are the individuals who manage to put all those parts together.
You can be a programmer as long as you love to code and don’t mind collaborating with the designers who will help you make the game come to live. Speaking of visuals, animators are equally important as they breathe life into the concept art.
If you love the written word and you are brilliant at creating stories, you may find yourself a place in the video game world, creating all the dialogues and perhaps even the story behind the entire game. Rhianna Pratchett, the daughter of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, is one of the most successful writers for the gaming industry, having worked on notable titles, such as Bioshock, Overlord, Mirrors Edge and others.
Even if you have only played a single game in your life, you will know that one of the most important aspects of the authenticity of the experience is voice acting. There is a strong demand for voice actors in the gaming industry, although these jobs are mostly on a freelance basis rather than full-time.
Esports are becoming a main source of monetization for game developers. Tournaments are now fairly frequent, and developers are even pushing for more local presence of their games as opposed to online events and streaming, although these will still constitute the bulk of the offer.
Even football clubs are breaking into the eSports industry where popular games are prompting gamers to become dedicated athletes and compete at the highest level. The competitive titles of choice are varied and includes Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBA), Real Time Strategies (RTS) and most commonly First-Person Shooters (FPS). There has also been an increasing interest in iGaming for real money skill-based games such as poker due to the gradual adoption of the legal activity across the US states. With the huge prize pools, this makes it a legitimate career path for those who have a high IQ for the game.
Game developers are also using other technologies to help bolster the gaming experience. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already defeating professional gamers, with Elon Musk’s OpenAI project routing a series of professional teams. Meanwhile, blockchain is offering different streaming and content-creating opportunities.
The video gaming industry is constantly changing and the latest advancements in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are becoming more viable and genuine experiences by the day, meaning that if you have an interest in studying this particular aspect of the industry, you may give yourself a serious leg-up career-wise. Still, it’s important to differentiate between the two and make sure you understand the technical specifics.
If you invest in VR and AG training, though, your chances of landing a career in the gaming industry may increase. However, as a fairly new field in the gaming industry, you still need a solid understanding of the main aspects of the industry and use your knowledge of VR and AG as an additional skill on your portfolio.
Gaming careers can be as diverse as coding, drawing or even professional gaming. Even though the industry is competitive and you may have a difficult time breaking in, it is a career choice well worth pursuing, both in terms of remuneration and opportunities. Even if you fail to break into the industry, much of the skills you will have acquired are absolutely transferrable to other professions, so you shouldn’t worry about your investment and efforts going to waste.