We take a closer look at the video game industry, looking at the current state of the industry, the types of employment available, and the skills required to get started. Since the early 1970s, video games have been around. Despite being a relatively specialized business for many years, the video game industry has evolved into a global powerhouse that continues to grow. We take a close look at the state of the industry and some of the distinct professions that exist within it. We’ll look at the size and growth of the games industry, as well as some of the skills you’ll need to get started and why people choose to work in this business.
The worldwide video game industry
Let’s start with an overview of the current state of the global gaming industry. As you might expect, considering the advancements in technology over the last few decades, the video game industry has evolved dramatically.
What exactly is it?
It’s important to define what the game industry entails. Video games have evolved from their basic origins to include personal computers, consoles, arcade games, mobile devices, virtual reality, handhelds, and more. Those who design and program games, as well as those who develop, test, and publish them, are all part of the industry. As we’ll see, there are numerous professions in the game industry that span a wide range of disciplines. The business is dominated by large corporations, and video games and consoles are sold all over the world. However, because to advancements in technology such as digital distribution networks and crowdsourcing, indie developers can now reach a wider audience than ever before.
What is the size of the industry?
Video games are a multibillion-dollar industry. According to reports, the global market was worth over $151 billion in 2019. It is predicted to increase at a rate of roughly 12.9 percent per year over the next few years, reaching a value of nearly 296 billion by 2026. These startling figures indicate that the video gaming business generates more income than the music and film industries combined. Much of this expansion can be attributed to advancements in technology and software, as well as increased internet accessibility. In terms of revenue, data from 2019 indicates that mobile gaming takes the lion’s share. They brought in roughly $64.4 billion in sales, compared to $21.1 billion for free-to-play PC games, which came in second.
What influence has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the gaming industry?
COVID-19 has had an impact on almost every industry in some way. When it comes to video games, there has been a mixed bag of results. On the one hand, lockdowns have resulted in more people playing video games than previously. With theatres and cinemas closing, gaming appears to be one of the most popular kinds of entertainment. For example, during the first lockdown, game sales jumped by 44 percent. Particularly impressive profits were seen by certain businesses. Nintendo’s profits increased by nearly 400 percent during the first phase of the coronavirus epidemic due to high demand for the Nintendo Switch. Sales of the Animal Crossing video game, which debuted on March 20th, 2020, accounted for a large portion of this. However, COVID-19’s impact on the games industry and people who work in it has not been entirely good. There have been delays in the release of games and the supply of hardware across the industry. Because of the abrupt move toward remote working, game studios and developers were attempting to collaborate on projects with their workforce working from home. Employees on high-profile titles like Cyberpunk 2077 were forced to work in ‘crunch’ conditions for months in order to finish the game. Even yet, a catastrophic debut in November 2020 resulted in a deluge of refunds and angry customers. Similarly, due to component shortages in supply lines, consoles like the latest PS5 and the in-demand Nintendo Switch have been difficult to come by.
What types of positions are available in the industry?
As you can probably guess from the many topics discussed thus far, the game industry has a wide range of career roles. Even within the numerous niches, there are a variety of work opportunities in the gaming industry. With so many options and game career routes to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which one is ideal for you. We’ve selected some examples from a variety of specializations to provide an overview of some of the employment available:
These positions in the games industry concentrate on the visual aspects of games. This could be the field for those with a creative streak and a passion for video games. Here are several examples:
- Artist for video games. This position is responsible for conceptualizing and visualizing how a game will appear. Characters, textures, and environments will all be created in 2D or 3D art. It’s an important position in the gaming industry, whether you’re at the idea stage or designing for production.
- Animator. Animators bring elements to life in the game after they’ve been created by artists. It’s a technical as well as a creative professional since you’ll be using programming and gaming engines to add personality and emotion.
- Writer. A video game writer might work on a variety of aspects of a game’s development. You’ll assist with narrative development and dialogue creation, as well as proofreading and playtesting your work before it’s published
Job opportunities in video game design are also diverse. Some are more technical or hands-on, while others are more focused on the overall concepts of games. If you have a passion for design, you might want to consider a career as a:
- Designer of video games. For video games, game designers concentrate on developing intriguing concepts and systems. You’ll learn about the plot and character development, map and level design, and user interface design, among other aspects of the creative and technical process.
- Designer of video gaming systems. While many of the other jobs are concerned with the games themselves, this one is concerned with the machines that power them. This position will require you to work in the engineering and electrical fields.
- Designer of levels. The pace and objectives of video games are the primary concerns of level designers. You’ll fine-tune gameplay components to ensure that levels are enjoyable, engaging, and just difficult enough.
Jobs in video game development frequently include combining ideas and effort from other disciplines to create a playable game.
- One example is a game developer. In this position, you’ll be responsible for turning creative teams’ concepts, stories, and art into a playable game. The code that operates the games is written and refined by game developers (or game programmers).
- Producer. Game producers are similar to project managers and overseers in the game development process. As a producer, you’ll collaborate with publishers, manage budgets, and maybe oversee the day-to-day operations of game production.
- QA (Quality Assurance) tester Game quality assurance (QA) testers look for flaws in games under development. In this position, you’ll normally collaborate closely with the technical team to identify and report any issues or glitches.
What makes you want to pursue a profession in video games?
There are a variety of reasons why you would desire to work in the video game industry. There are many options available if you have a passion for gaming and creativity, especially if you have the necessary talents. Here are a few reasons why working in the video game industry might be worthwhile:
- You can work in a field that you enjoy. Creating your own games may seem like a pipe dream if you’re a big gamer. Working in a sector that you are passionate about can be extremely rewarding.
- It’s a booming business. As we’ve seen, the video game business is anticipated to keep growing in the future years. For talented individuals, there will be many employment and possibilities available.
- You have the ability to produce something that will benefit others. If there’s one thing the numerous lockdowns have taught us, it’s that video games can assist individuals in escaping. Games can also be instructive, emotionally engaging, and, most importantly, entertaining. It can be gratifying to create art in such a medium.
- You can learn a variety of talents. In a career in the games industry, you’ll collaborate with a wide range of people. As a result, you’ll have the chance to work on a variety of projects while learning from a variety of professionals.
What is the best way to break into the games industry?
If you’ve made it this far, you’re undoubtedly eager to start working in the video game industry. But where do you look for work in the video game industry? That depends entirely on the type of job you’re applying for and your present level of talents and expertise.
- Working in games, like many other businesses, necessitates a combination of education, experience, and know-how. Here are a few locations where you might wish to begin:
- Education might be a fantastic approach to break into the games industry if you have industry-recognized credentials. These will, of course, vary depending on the employment you want to apply for. A computer science degree, for example, could be a good place to start if you want to work in a more technical field.
- Training. Apprenticeships in gaming, for example, can be a good method to get on-the-job training and experience. Many large game publishers will provide such apprenticeships, albeit they can be competitive to get into.
- Experience. You should begin developing your talents as soon as possible if you want to work in video game production. Making mini-games, games, mods, and other game assets can help you build a portfolio of work, whether in an organized context or as a side project.
- Networking. The games business is notoriously close-knit. Raising your profile can be as simple as getting your name out there and connecting with the right people. You should try to network with as many individuals as possible, whether through forums, conventions, or expos.
If you’re interested in learning more about a career in games development, our free How To Start Your Career In Games Development course is a great place to start.
Finally, some thoughts
That brings us to the end of our look at the video game industry and everything it has to offer. Clearly, it is a large and diverse industry with several career chances. If video games are your thing, you might discover that working in the industry is a fun and gratifying experience. You may start preparing for your dream job with the necessary education, abilities, and experience.