Today's teens —13- to 17-year-olds (Gen Z) — make up 27% of all gamers. One generation ahead of them are millennials (18 to 34-year-olds) who represent 29% of all gamers. If you are a member of either of these generations, you may have thought, or even dreamt of, a career in the video game industry. Fortunately, there are many options from which to choose, both on the technical and business sides of this industry, that will take advantage of your passion for gaming.
At the top of the list of dream jobs for gamers is video game designer. Those who work in this occupation come up with the concepts that eventually become video games. They see those ideas through to fruition by developing storylines and characters and then guiding them through production. They collaborate with other members of the development team including artists, programmers, and audio engineers. Job titles include game designer, lead designer, and level designer.
As one of the most desired positions of all video game jobs, competition is stiff. You may have to gain experience over several years of working in other roles.
Software Developers and Computer Programmers
Software developers and computer programmers implement game designers' visions for their final products. Developers design software that makes video games work the way the designers want them to. Programmers create the code that converts those designs into instructions video game systems can read.
Animators and Other Artists
As an integral part of the video game development team, animators and other artists make video games come to life visually. Using specialized software, animators create the series of pictures that form the images in a video game, including the characters and the environment. Artists also design packaging that makes games stand out on store shelves.
Audio engineers use computers and electrical equipment to create soundtracks for video games. They are responsible for everything you hear when playing a game. They give voice to characters, create sound effects, and record background music.
Writers fill multiple roles within the video game industry. Scriptwriters create the stories upon which games are based and write dialogue for the characters. Technical writers create the accompanying documentation and instructions.
Interpreters and Translators
Interpreters convert characters' dialogue into other languages. Translators change instructions and other documentation from their original languages to others. Their work is what allows companies to market games to an international market.
Video Game Testers
Game testers provide quality assurance (QA) for the companies that produce video games. They make sure games function correctly, and that instructions and documentation are clear. They identify problems and bugs and report their findings to designers and developers.
Technical Support Specialists
Technical support specialists are the link between video game companies and the public. They staff call centers where they help customers who have problems operating games and related equipment. Support specialists answer questions via phone, online chat, and email.
Business Jobs in the Video Game Industry
Video game producers tend to the business and financial details involved in developing products and getting them ready to be marketed to consumers. They oversee all personnel and keep production of games within time and budget constraints.
Marketing managers coordinate video game publishers' marketing activities. They formulate a strategy for selling their products to consumers, including deciding where they will sell them and how they will promote them.
Market Research Analysts
Market research analysts design surveys that they will use to determine prospective customers' buying preferences. They use the data they gather to help video game publishers decide what products and services to sell, how much to charge for them, and where and how to sell them.
Sales representatives sell video games to wholesalers or retailers on behalf of publishers. They need extensive knowledge about the products, the video game industry, and potential customers.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.
- Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor. O*NET Online.
- Electronics Arts Jobs. Electronics Arts Company Web Site.