If you're a passionate gamer, it's only natural to wonder if you might be able to pursue a career in the video game industry. As long as there is a demand for new video games, entertainment companies are going to keep developing them. That means they'll continue to need employees with the vision and talent to bring them to life. Consider the kinds of opportunities that exist so you can start preparing today to develop the skills you need to pursue your ultimate dream job!
Video Game Producer
Video game producers oversee the production of video games. Think of them as project managers for the gaming world. Video game producers oversee the many aspects of bringing a game from an initial concept to market. They are responsible for coordinating between the teams that work on different aspects of a game, monitoring progress toward milestones, and keeping things on track toward completion. This is not an entry-level job. People usually have hands-on experience in game design or development before moving into this type of job. The average compensation for video game producers is around $78,000 per year.
Video Game Designer
Video game designers come up with concepts for video games and work with a team of technical professionals to bring them to fruition. They come up with the overall story and characters. They also fine-tune game details, such as each character's specific traits, the rules for playing, what obstacles characters will face, and other key game elements. Everything they do has to be done with an eye for creating a game that people will want to play. They need to be knowledgeable about visual elements of design, as well as functionality, coding, and user experience. The average annual pay for video game designers is around $67,000 per year.
Video game developers are sometimes referred to as video game programmers. People who do this kind of work are hard-core computer programmers who write the code that makes video games functional. Working as a video game developer requires strong object-oriented programming (OOP) skills, including mastery of C#, C++, Java, Python, and more. They also have to be able to work effectively in a team environment, as they must coordinate with other developers, as well as designers, producers, and others who are part of the game creation and testing team. The average compensation for video game developers is around $75,000 per year.
Video games involve animation, so gaming is a good career option for skilled computer animation professionals. This specialized art career is a good option for artistic individuals with strong multimedia design skills who enjoy working in a highly collaborative team environment. Their role on a game development team is to bring the characters to life, including those that are controlled by players and non-player characters (NPCs). Their work impacts how characters move and behave, as well as the personality elements that come through in the context of the game. The average salary for video game animators is around $72,000 per year.
Gaming Audio Engineer
Video games can't be created without the skills of an audio engineer. People who work as audio engineers are responsible for all the sound-based elements of a video game. This involves much more than characters' voices and background music. The best games have comprehensive soundtracks complete with sound effects, background noise, and other sounds that are unique to individual characters and the overall concept of the game. The work of audio engineers directly impacts every aspect of the "world" in which the game is set. Their work involves close collaboration with video game designers, developers, and artists. The average compensation for a video game audio engineer is around $53,000 per year.
Video Game Writers
Creating a video game isn't all about programming and animation; they also involve a story and words. Video game writers are important members of the team behind every video game. They flesh out the story, write descriptions for each character, pen the script, and more. They work closely with the technical members of the game team, which helps them ensure that what they write enhances the game experience. In addition to creative writing skills, video game writers also need strong technical writing skills, as their responsibilities include creating technical documentation, such as instructions and tutorials. Some also write marketing materials to promote finished games. The average pay for video game writers is around $71,000 per year.
Video games are marketed on a worldwide basis, which means they have to be translated into multiple languages. As a result, there are opportunities for highly skilled translators to work with video game companies. Doing this work requires a high degree of fluency in multiple languages, including the ability to use formal and informal terminology and to translate it into spoken and written language. The average salary for video game translators is around $54,000 per year. There are opportunities for translators to work with video game companies as staff translators, as well as to work as self-employed independent contractors.
Video Game Testers
Video game testers are quality assurance professionals. How do they test the games? They play them. But, their job isn't just fun and games. Their role is to identify issues with the games they test so they can be fixed. So, they basically focus on trying to break the games as they play them in order to find problems. They look for bugs, logic errors, glitches, and other issues that could interfere with users having a positive experience with the game, then communicate their findings to the developers who will be responsible for fixing the issues. The average pay for video game testers is around $46,000 per year.
Gaming Tech Support
Video game technical support workers provide technical assistance to customers who are having issues with gaming hardware or software. Some work directly for gaming companies, though many are employed by businesses that specialize in providing gaming-related tech support, such as call center companies. This type of work can often be done remotely from home via telephone and/or chat. It's a good way for gaming enthusiasts to enter the gaming field as entry-level employees. To work in this field, you need to be knowledgeable about video games, be tech-savvy, and have strong communication skills. The average pay for video game tech support jobs is around $35,000 per year.
YouTube Gaming Expert
Video game enthusiasts with entrepreneurial ambitions may be able to find success creating gaming-related YouTube content. This type of work doesn't provide guaranteed pay, but if you're willing to put in the work required to produce a steady stream of valuable videos and are able to build a strong, loyal following, it is possible to make money this way. Some gaming experts earn a living doing this, though realistically it's probably a better path to pursue as a way of earning a second source of income beyond your regular job. The most successful YouTubers post videos multiple times each week, have a strong presence on other social media sites, and often sell or promote products (via affiliate or influencer programs) that are relevant to their brands.
Is a Gaming Career Right for You?
As long as people play video games, there will be career opportunities in the gaming industry. The video game industry is booming, and that's certainly not expected to change. Now that you know some of the different types of jobs that exist in the video game industry, you'll be better able to decide if gaming is a good path for you to pursue to do what you love as a career.