Careers in Video Game Development


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VIDEO GAMES HAVE COME A LONG WAY since the days of Pong and Spacewar! Within just a few decades, the global video game industry has grown into a $ 180 billion a year behemoth with players all over the world buying games for their Xbox systems, computers, smartphones, and handheld game consoles. It is still growing, at a rate that is four times faster than the growth of the overall US economy. It is not unusual for major studios to have 200-plus teams working on a single game with a $ 20 million budget. Yet, this industry is unique in that anyone - even a single self-taught home coder - can make a new game and potentially get into the action. Game development combines art and science to create games for entertainment and education. On the artistic side, a designer comes up with the idea for a new game, artists add visual elements like characters and environments, and audio engineers flesh out the ambience with sound effects and voices. On the technical side, programmers bring it all to life with coding that tells the computer what to do throughout the game. A game developer is defined as anyone who makes games. That could be someone who does it all, from beginning to end. It is more often someone who is on a game team, performing a specific job function such as concept artist or quality control tester. The workday is usually spent either in front of a computer or in meetings to discuss the next steps. There are two kinds of employers in this field: independent studios and AAA studios. Indie studios can be as small as one person, but they usually have a small team and a small budget. AAA studios are big corporations with millions to spend and best-selling titles to their credit. The demand for developers is steadily increasing in both, however, there is a certain element of uncertainty in the business. Layoffs are common due to intense competition in the marketplace that often causes a project to fail. As a result, developers need to be prepared to move on to another job at any time. On average, a developer will hold three or four jobs within a five year period. On the plus side, the pay is excellent even for beginners. Entry-level salaries start at around $ 50,000 and experienced developers can command upwards of $ 150,000. Due to the differences in job roles, there is no prescribed way to prepare for this career. Learning the necessary skills can be accomplished in one of two ways: informal (self-study) or formal (college). Which one you choose depends on the type of work you want to do. Self-taught developers learn their skills through books, workshops, and online courses. Much of it can be acquired for free. Developers who go the college route usually pursue bachelor's degrees in computer science, art, or video game development. There are also a few specialty vocational schools that are focused on training game developers. The video game industry employs thousands of people from around the world, with almost 8,000 new positions opening up each year. It can be tough to land one of those jobs, regardless of education and experience. Like most creative fields, many people are attracted by the money and the perceived glamor. There are millions of kids who grew up on video games who dream of spending their entire lives with games. Despite the competition, it is possible to break into this field. The key is to work really, really hard to sharpen your skills and learn every aspect of the game development process. Prove you have done that with an excellent portfolio that demonstrates talent and a genuine interest in the work itself, and employers will be interested in you.

Binding / Paperback: 32 pages

Publish Date: 12 January 2020