Careers in the video game industry
When most people think of careers in the video game industry, they immediately think of video game developers. As video games grow more and more popular each year, more jobs open up in the field.
Some people don’t even know there is a “video game industry.” There are tons of careers in the video game industry, and there’s something for almost everyone.
A lot of people, composers included, don’t think about composing music for video games. When I attended Pax East this year, Composer Greg Edmonson (Uncharted, Firefly), said that he never thought about composing for games until Amy Hennig at Naughty Dog asked him if he would be interested.
If you or someone you know is interested in composing music, video games are a great place to look. After all, a lot of video games are a lot like movies nowadays. A great way to get started is to compose music for a friend who is making a small indie game.
This one is the most obvious: If you want to work in the video game industry, make video games. While going to school to become a triple-A game developer is an option, it is becoming easier to be an independent (indie) developer nowadays.
The OUYA, the first Android-based gaming console, is an excellent tool for creating games. It’s absolutely free, and it’s a great way to get started making games.
Microsoft has been tossing around the idea of making it possible to self-publish on Xbox Live, which would be wonderful for up-and-coming indie developers. Steam Greenlight is another way to get your game out there.
With so many new games coming out every month, marketing is very important in the video game industry. If you don’t promote your game enough, even if it’s good, it will fall in the shadows of the big games with a lot of PR behind them.
According to what I have read, game publishers are the ones who hire for marketing and PR positions in the games industry. If you're interested in working in video game marketing, you must first know about marketing in general if you hope to land your dream job.
“Video game journalist”: to those who don’t know anything about the gaming industry, sounds like a made-up job. It is in fact very real and is becoming increasingly competitive. Getting into games journalism is all about who you know, and of course your writing skills and knowledge about games.
As you probably already know from reading this column, my dream job is to be a freelance video game journalist. I run a video game blog at poppycockreviews.com, and I also submit all of my articles to GamesBeat, a site that allows the community to upload their own articles. If you’re lucky, an editor will pick your article for the front page of the website and promote it through Facebook and Twitter (I have been fortunate enough to have six articles promoted on the front page).
I would advise anyone who is interested in games journalism to submit their work (feature articles are best when getting started) to a site like GamesBeat, start a personal blog where you can display your work, and most importantly, read articles written by professional video game journalists. Reading others’ work will help you understand what you need to do to improve, and possibly give you inspiration for a new article.
A lot of people see this as a dream job; “I can play video games for a living! Sign me up!” However, in order to be a video game tester, you must be very good at playing all kinds of video games, have outstanding attention to detail, and have lots and lots of patience.
A lot of people forget that ideo game testers don’t just play the good games — they also have to play the really, really bad ones. They must be able to find the flaws in games in order for developers to fix them before the game releases. This job isn't easy, but it can be a great fit for some.
This one is similar to composing for video games in that a lot of voice actors only think of television and movies when it comes to voice acting. Look at Nolan North: He is one of today's most popular voice actors, and most of his work has been in video games. In today’s day and age, a lot of video games aren’t much different than movies. If you're interested in a career in the video game industry, there are many options to choose from. My best advice would be to make sure you know exactly what you're getting into before you start pursuing a serious career in your chosen field. A lot of people are naive when it comes to the games industry, as it is relatively new. Whatever you choose, good luck and happy gaming!