Since 1972 when Pong, a primitive tennis-themed simulator with simple two-dimensional graphics, was created, the video game industry has come a huge way. It has evolved into a multi-billion dollar business comparable and at times even competing with the movie and television industry, in terms of sales and production budgets. In fact, a constantly increasing number of adults who grew up as children playing video games, have ended up pursuing a career within the gaming industry earning salaries in the range of medicine practitioners, lawyers and bankers. Gone is the old misconception that video gamers are a bunch of grown-ups who refuse to face reality and put away childish activities. Furthermore, game developer opportunities are still on the rise and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates occupation growth of 6% until 2024. If you are confident you are passionate and talented enough to dedicate your life to video games, you might want to pursue some of the following professions:
Playing video games for fun can be a great thing but playing video games for a living can drive nuts even the most faithful. Competitive gaming is an actual career, nowadays, with professional gamers amassing thousands through sponsored tournament winnings. Obviously, you either have to be amazingly talented or incredibly entertaining to make it big. Creating Let’s Play videos on Twitch or Vlogs on YouTube has provided some gamers with more dollar bills that they can fit inside a house. Further, professional gaming teams exist and some even offer a monthly salary, just like a regular 9-5 job, with pro gamers earning between $1,000 to $5,000 per month. The highest paid earn up to a sweet $15,000 apart from the money they receive from activities like being sponsors to computer peripheral companies or tournament prize money. Next time then when your mum complain about the mess of your room and gaming habits, tell her you are actually working and maybe she will leave you be… or not.
Believe it or not video game testing is an incredibly popular job due to its relatively-low educational requirements and the belief that testers get paid to sit in the couch and play video games all day long. Sounds fantastic, yeah? Well, it is really not only fun and games. Think of it like this; Do restaurant employees get to eat for free the fancy dishes customers order or must compromise for a basic staff meal? Unfortunately, game testing is on the same lines. It is more about checking out every nook and cranny for glitches and bugs (not the flying ones) and less leisurely thumbing ranking up on the latest Call of Duty. You may also managed to become Criminal Mastermind in GTA Online but that does not mean you would make an amazing video game tester or make tons of money. At least you will be part of the industry so kudos to that! And if you do succeed as a tester please do a favor to the gaming community and help to avoid another Cyberpunk fiasco.
This is one of the most prestigious jobs in the gaming industry and perhaps one of the less heard-of to the uninitiated. Generally, video games are media productions in a similar fashion to movies, with some having even bigger production budgets than Hollywood Academy Award winning films, and therefore apart from visuals, they need music. To be ahead of the competition for this job though, it would be wise to be a composer as well as a musician. And since not everyone will ever become like Koji Kondo or Nobuo Uematsu, both highly acclaimed video game music directors who have created the music of legendary Super Mario, Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy game series, it really comes to down to whether you are musically inclined and how many instruments you can master, obviously including the fabled Ocarina from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Theoretically, you could settle and become an audio engineer, an equally superb gaming industry job. Audio engineers are responsible for recording mainly a game’s sound effects and voice overs by working tirelessly to create that perfect ambiance throughout the game. Finally, some of the most accomplished music composers and audio programmers can cash over $100,000 yearly for their work and even perform their video game music at actual concert halls.
Now we are getting at the ultimate aspiration of the wannabe gaming industry workers. This is definitely the most popular job on Google’s search engine while looking for gaming jobs although opportunities might be limited due to the sheer interest of so many game enthusiasts. Work site Indeed points out that the amount of game developer openings have seen a 65% drop since 2014 while searches for game developer have increased by at least 50%. However, to be even eligible for applying for such a job you would need to be exceptionally good at coding and probably to have a major in Computer Science. In case you do land a position, be aware that you will be held responsible for the creation of artificial intelligence that makes interacting with non-playable characters (i.e. NPCs) as realistic and bug-free as humanly possible. Salaries are around the $95,000 mark, making game developers some of the most well-paid professionals in any career field. That is if you are able to make designers ideas come to life through your computer monitor.
Learn how to get a job as a Game Developer from our post here.
Perhaps you find computer coding too boring and complicated, and cannot draw well too (if you could you could earn up to $50,000 though), but ever since you were a toddler and played through the first levels of Super Mario 64 (looking at you King Bob-omb) that unique idea for a new type of video game had been engraved to your brain. As a game designer, your job would be to assemble a creative team that can execute all that specialty work and give reality to your dream. You will have to indicate to your team the overall purpose of the game and describe in detail the characters, the environment, and the gameplay, and guide them as they do their work. It will not be easy and perhaps you will need to attain college education to get on rolling or secure funds through crowdsourcing, but if you really believe in yourself and your idea, it could happen. And you will quickly be reimbursed for your efforts as well by the $90,000 you could end up earning.
As a game producer you will be responsible for the budgeting and project management of upcoming video games, that boring office-related work, but also you will be the one to put your passion for the industry in the spotlight. In addition, you will be tasked with marketing your games to industry hardware giants such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft as well as to the actual gamers themselves. There is a good chance that you will become extremely popular among fans, a public figure even, like Rockstar’s Terry Donovan and Nintendo’s Shigeru Miymato. Successful producers are rewarded with hefty salaries reaching up to $100,000 and more depending on their experience and qualifications.
Check out our Game Producer jobs here.
We decided to add bonus content to the post as not every game enthusiast out there is bound to favor computer science-related skills and education. Customer service is an ability that needs patience, dedication and determination, but it is also a skill that can be applied to almost every industry gaming-related or not. It is also a job that can be done to an extend from the comfort of your home and personal computer without the need to commute to or from a dedicated work office. People working as customer support agents for their favorite gaming companies enjoy a private inside view and feel like a true part of the worldwide gaming community. Lucky them, right?