7 myths about the video game industry and game developer jobs

Is a career in the video game industry all fun and fun? Find out what is really required for a career in the video game industry. Gaming chair not included.

Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff

Thanks to a combination of growing popularity, particularly in the mobile sector, the release of a new generation of consoles, and encouraging the public to find social connections at safe distances, the video game industry is booming for 2021 and beyond. According to Statista, the value of the global video game market in 2021 will reach nearly $140 billion. Job seekers in the next few years should expect the video game industry to play a major role in their search strategy.

However, job seekers unfamiliar with the video game industry may have some misconceptions about how the industry works and what positions are available. After all, just because an industry is growing fast doesn’t mean there are great job opportunities. So, let’s dispel some of the myths surrounding job hunting in the video game industry.

SEE: Gaming career overview: Industry overview and jobs for IT professionals (TechRepublic Premium)

Myth: Video game development is all about fun and games

It doesn’t matter if you’re the lead programmer of a game in development or its producer, or the lead animator, or the music composer, or a beta tester, video game development is work. Work is often satisfying and fulfilling, and perhaps even lucrative, but it is work. The mythological idea that game development is about playing games can be completely and completely dispelled here.

Even the people tasked with playing and testing the game during its development process approach their role as a deliverable that must be completed on time and within budget. In these situations, noting an in-game activity as “fun” is simply part of their professional role – something to note in their daily reports.

Reality: Developing video games is hard work.

SEE: Job Kit: Game Engine Programmer (TechRepublic Premium)

Myth: Only programmers succeed in the video game industry

As mentioned in the previous section, there are many professional roles associated with video game development. Artists, musicians, writers, producers, accountants, bookkeepers, designers, testers, marketers, engineers, etc. all play an important role in the video game development cycle. So while coding and programming are certainly important, these roles are by far not the only career paths available in the video game industry.

Reality: You don’t have to be a programmer to succeed in the video game industry.

SEE: Job Kit: Video Game Programmer (TechRepublic Premium)

Myth: You have to be a gamer to work in the video game industry

The idea that you have to be a video gamer to have a successful career in the video game industry is pure myth. While video game experience can help the artist, musician, writer, or puzzle maker produce better content, it’s certainly not an absolute necessity. A cost management accountant working on a departmental budget doesn’t need to be a ranked FPS player to work effectively for a video game developer – what’s important is their skills in their role.

Reality: You don’t have to be a gamer to succeed in the video game industry.

SEE: PS5 Supply Shortage: Disruptions Hit Gamers and Developers Alike (TechRepublic)

Myth: The gaming industry only attracts juvenile misogynists

Video games in general, and the video game industry in particular, attract people of all ages, genders, creeds, skill levels, and ethnicities. Play is a universal activity for all mammals – play is hardwired into our brains. Whether in a gaming environment or in the collaboration of a team of developers, the diversity of ideas and approaches improves life in the industry.

However, like in any other industry, there are still troublemakers floating around in the gaming industry. Unfortunately, these problem people also tend to be loud, bold, and have a misplaced sense of self-worth. Their antics generate headlines and horrific stories of abuse that have no place in civil society let alone a gaming environment. On the happy side of the equation, this kind of childish behavior is specifically prohibited in a work environment for all industries, including the video game industry.

Reality: The work environment in the video game industry complies with all applicable standards.

SEE: Digital Gamer’s Guide: 10 Tips to Help New Online Gamers (TechRepublic)

Myth: Story and quality don’t matter in video game development, only the formula

Many so-called pundits in the mainstream press and on Wall Street believe that the only way for a video game, developer, and publisher to succeed is to strictly follow the success formula of the games that came before it. They believe the risk of innovation is simply too great. This is obviously false.

The video game industry is full of independent startup development studios pushing artistic and technological boundaries at every turn. And, like any other entertainment business, while not everything produced will be a blockbuster hit, the story and quality will always win out in the long run. The expansion of what is possible in platforms and in storytelling is the greatest strength of the video game industry.

Reality: History and quality always count.

SEE: Recruitment Kit: Game Tester (TechRepublic Premium)

Myth: Game developers are or will be very rich

Don’t be fooled by the big billions of dollars in gaming industry numbers – not everyone will get rich producing a successful video game. Like any other company you work for, especially a publicly traded company, shareholders are likely to see most of the monetary benefits from a highly successful game. This is how capitalism works.

However, as part of your job search strategy, you should always consider compensatory benefits beyond just salary. Companies in the video game industry are likely to offer incentive packages including stock options and other rewards that could result in a lucrative and mutually beneficial deal. Don’t be afraid to shop.

Reality: Game developers aren’t likely to get very rich, but they should be compensated adequately.

SEE: Want a job in video games? Look at these skills (TechRepublic)

Myth: When it comes to job security, the video game industry is ruthless

Recent headlines about massive developer layoffs at several major gaming industry companies may give the impression that the gaming industry can be tough on its employees. Unfortunately, for some companies this is a reality and not a myth. Job security can be directly linked to a development project.

However, for many video game developers, including some coders, artists, and musicians, this mercenary transitional style of taking on work based on one project and then moving on to the next project is their preference. The flexibility of being able to move on to something more interesting or lucrative is appealing. If you’re that type of person, the unforgiving work environment is where you thrive, so its existence isn’t a bad thing.

And fortunately for everyone, the video game industry extends beyond a few very large companies to include many small independent developers with new ideas and new ways of looking at employees and how jobs should work. . Job seekers looking for a semblance of job security may want to limit their search to smaller developers.

Reality: The video game industry can be fierce with employees, but not all companies.

SEE: Recruitment Kit: Video Game Producer (TechRepublic Premium)

Myth: All jobs in the gaming industry are in California

The final myth to dispel regarding the video game industry is that all the jobs are located in California, and specifically in Silicon Valley. While many companies in the video game industry are based there, the satellite studios of these companies are often located all over the United States and sometimes around the world. Many game development studios are also located around the world – it’s an international industry.

More importantly, the video game industry and the nature of how game development works means that much can be accomplished from a dispersed workforce connected by a communications network and cloud-based assets. Remote working was standard operating procedure in the video game industry even before a global pandemic made it standard operating procedure for everyone.

Reality: Not all jobs in the video game industry require a move to California.

SEE: How cyberattacks are targeting video gamers and businesses (TechRepublic)

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A job seeker would be hard pressed to find another industry that is growing as fast as the video game industry. Jobs of all kinds are currently advertised and open in this industry and likely will be for the foreseeable future. Regardless of your education, training, expertise, or experience, any successful job search strategy should include at least a glance at the video game industry.

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