About the games industry
From PONG to PUBG, the global video games industry is almost 50 years old and now worth close to $138 billion according to some estimates.
Hardware heavyweights like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo battle to get their latest super-powered consoles into living rooms and bedrooms across the globe whilst Tripple-A games publishers and developers push the entertainment envelope with ever more life-like, high-definition virtual experiences and blockbusters that certainly give cinema a run for its ticket money. Thousands of other large, medium and smaller studios additionally deliver an almost uncountable number of gaming experiences to computers and mobile devices as part of this booming industry that has something to offer to almost every demographic.
It's not just explosive action that's making an impact anymore either - the content and development of games is evolving to be much more inclusive from a consumer and career perspective. Where once we had only space invaders, games now come in all varieties from mesmerising puzzles to moving, emotional narratives and experimental abstract experiences. Whether you're into action, character development, simple relaxation, role playing or grand strategy - the industry has something to offer everyone considering a creative career. What themes and worlds would you like to explore, what stories would you like to tell?
Is it for me?
You must really have a desire to know about how games come together: liking to play -while also pretty essential- is not enough. You will benefit greatly from a wider interest in the industry rather than being just a consumer of games, whilst a basic understanding of game concepts, terminology, genres and history will give you a good starting point.
Working in games is very often about being part of a larger studio, so being able to work in teams is important. Freelance and remote roles are available but you will still need to be able to contribute to a larger project. You should also be aware that the industry has historically been known for long working hours during 'Crunch Time' - when games are approaching completion.
Careers broadly encompass four general areas of game creation:
- Design & Development (e.g Designer, Creative Director, Producer, Writer)
- Programming / Coding (e.g Programmer / Coder)
- Art & Music (e.g Concept Artist, 3D Artist, Animator, Audio Producer)
- Testing & Localisation (Tester, Quality Assurance Tester, Translator)
You'll need to think about where your talents lie within these areas and also understand that the games industry moves at a rapid pace: Having an aptitude for picking up new skills and being a quick learner are almost essential traits.
How are you practising your skills now?
Lots of people say that they want to work in the games industry or be a 'video game designer' - when all they are actually doing is playing them. Whilst experience of playing is crucial, you should be developing and practising skills in one or more of the four areas listed above right now in order to give yourself the best chance and head start in this dynamic career. There are lots of educational and largely free or inexpensive resources listed in the links boxes below to start you off, so get using them!
The world of gaming perhaps offers creative opportunities like no other! Have a look at the links and job role ideas that we've listed on this page to help you explore further opportunities and check back here as we update the page! You might also want to explore Design, Software & Web.