Working in the Videogames Industry

Did you know what you wanted to do when you left high school?

I mean, do you really know what you are going to do with your Bachelor?

Do you have a goal that you are pursuing with all your might- a dream that you’re chasing? Or are you confused and overwhelmed like me, with what the world has to offer? A little bit afraid, perhaps, knowing that any moment you could get dragged into something exciting that shakes awake that rusty compass in your heart but the very next moment an adamant obstacles could appear between you and that faint feeling of belonging, blocking the promising light it emits and eventually directing your attention at something… something less, something that you will regret choosing though you have to keep up with because you must pay your bills or want to offer your partner a satisfactory life?

I’ll tell you something: I have been afraid of choosing the wrong path. But I have been more afraid of not choosing anything.

If you haven’t figured out yet where you want to work and what you want to do with all that energy and passion let me recommend you a place to contribute your competences:

The Videogames Industry

Economic Power

The numbers on the Videogames Industry are part of a forecast by DFC Intelligence and are a reason for Sharise Cruz to name it one of the fastest growing industries of 2012. Both she and a writer for eskills4future see technological advancements as the main drive for that growth. In detail, Sharise quotes three advancements:

• the invention of biometrical sensors that allows for new game controls and experiences
• the opening of the mobile and social market
• the increased interactivity of games causing an immersive experience

Videogames are so successful; they even take an equal footing to the Movie Industry. Just compare the Game Blockbuster “Grand Theft Auto 4” with the Movie Blockbuster “The Dark Knight”, both released in 2008, both record setter for their respective art:

Though GTA4 made in one day revenue of $310 million compared to $161 Million that Batman collected at the opening weekend; in the long run, through DVD Releases and Television Licenses, Batman still beat the game in total revenues. Nonetheless, game productions can be far more than the typical garage project that they were in the beginning. The production of a game is a complex matter and brings together different people of different professions. Naturally, the demand for qualified Production Manager, Producer and Product Owner is high and the salaries are good.

What is in for me? Salaries

But I have to be honest with you; the profit margin for games is not as big as for other products. AAA (Triple A) titles yield a net income of 3%. With such a low value, there is not much room for ridiculous salaries that movie maker or musicians rake in. But nonetheless, the salaries are good and increasing as a study from the Games Developer Magazine’s 2012 fall issue shows:


Although the salaries are not exorbitant, they are fair. Unfortunately the jobs are not so safe. The layoff rate is high. As a game hits the release status, many workers who aren’t needed until the next production, are fired. However, according to the Game Developer Magazine, from the 13% of employees who are fired, 58% immediately find a new employment in the industry, 19% move to contracting or consulting, 10% use the opportunity to found their own company, 13% do that in the independent game development sector and 13% don’t find a new job. Often enough those who are fired will be rehired by the same studio.

Working Conditions – A double edged blade

Before I’m going to tell you how great it is to work in such a modern, growing, international, young, creative and cool industry, I want to share with you the opinion of Andy Grossman who lists seven reasons why you don’t want to work in the video game industry:

I already mentioned that it is very likely to get fired and if you have already asked me what I studied you will know that it’s like trying to explain a blind person the different color contrasts.

The fact that you can’t complain is ensured by NDA’s, no disclosure agreements forcing you to keep everything secret about the production. Obviously nobody wants leak details about the technology or plot before the game isn’t released, but you are also forbidden to talk about your working hours or conditions.

Does that scare you?

It does scare me, but luckily, we, as a future manager or producer will have a more convenient position than the artists and technicians underneath us. Ha!

But seriously…

…working in the Videogames Industry is worth all the hardships and sacrificing the dollars you could make in the same position in a different industry.

There are only a few working environments with such a variety of professions coming together, so openminded, pushing the limits of technology, creating a product that combines visuals, logics, fun, challenge, music and culture.

What you create is a game that can reach millions of player who- if hooked- then write fanfiction or draw fanart about it, tailor costumes for conventions, or form entire communities criticizing and helping you to make the sequel even better.

The satisfaction of having this kind of unique consumer feedback and creating something that is a mirror of today’s culture in many aspects is a strong motivation. And with the expanding market more and more possibilities, more paths will be available and it will just get more exciting to explore this media.

Working in the Videogame Industry is a choice worth considering, don’t you think so?