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Video Game Design Careers

Updated on January 5, 2016
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Is a career in video games a good option?

Absolutely. the video game industry is booming and blooming - just think about all the amount of games coming out and that most of those games take years to make. Now think about all the people that work in each game - now go back at thinking about the amount of games coming out each year, yeah that's a lot!

To give you a better idea of the size of the industry, a research made by First Research Inc. shows that every year 45$ billion are spent on video game software. It also shows that the average age of a gamer is 37 showing that gaming isn't only for kids.

With this industry booming and overcoming the piracy problem with rising profits, video game studios are in constant need of good professionals. Hopefully, this hub will point you out in the right direction to becoming a video game designer.

Video Game Industry: Salary Averages

Position
Average Monthly Salary
Average Annual Salary
Quality Assurance Tester
$2500
$33,030
Sound Designer
$3065
$39,870
Video Game Designer
$3346
$43,500
Artist/Animator
$4500
$58,510
Producer
$5364
$68,440
Programmer
$6963
$90,530
Business Marketer
$8931
$116,110

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data published March 27, 2012;

If you were given the choice...

Would you work for a big game studio, or go solo?

See results

How to become a video game designer

Well, your first step should be getting qualified! You should find a school and study some areas like:

- Drawing, Painting and Sculpting: Not only are these forms a great help when designing (for obvious reasons) but they also help in learning about proportions, about simulating mass with shadows or visual illusions and using color to hide or empathize details.

- Physics and Maths: You may have some issues with this courses, but you are not becoming a video game designer without having to pass trough these... sorry about it!

- Mythology: Game designers have to dominate Mythology - in the gaming industry you will constantly get griffins, chimeras, hydras and other creatures in the way. More often than not, video game professionals seek mythology for inspiration.

- History and Literature: You cannot make historical errors, and the characters must appear natural - not forced! You have to know the difference between the renaissance swords and the medieval swords and other details like this, don't be unprepared.

- Computer Hardware and Software: Duh!

Other areas you will have to study in order to be a good professional are: Screen Writing, Psychology, Acting, Public Speaking, Marketing, Leadership...

Hey! Nobody said it was easy!

Start your career in the video game industry

Now that you are graduated and educated, you have to start your career. Now is the time to search for a video game design opening right? WRONG!

You will have a hard time if you try getting in a high paying position just starting, unless you are the "creme de la creme" of your area. You will probably have to start low. Try to get into a more modest position in a gaming studio, the plan is progressing inside. Don't be afraid to tell about your ambitions on the job interview - most interviewers look positively to the ambition of rising in the ranks of their company.

Now you have to perform well and, if you can, help the designers once or twice. Helping or not, each month you pass on the company makes you a better candidate for the opening, as companies prefer to hire internal people than taking the risk with unknown folk.

How to get a Gaming Sponsor

A great plus into starting a gaming developer career is to have a sponsor that will help pay or just broadcasts your work.

As a sponsored game developer, you can promote a certain entity or grant that entity exclusive rights to your work in exchange for a salary, a budget or even a promotional channel that you wouldn't otherwise have.

Some tips on how to get a gaming sponsor are:

  • Write a sponsorship letter: You have to write an amazing sponsorship letter letting the target company know of your interest and just how you can benefit the company. Why should they invest their resources on you? What do they get in return? What's the amazing way you are going to repay them?
  • Aim, don't just spray and pray: You have to know if it's worth it to send your sponsorship letter to that particular company - do they have the resources or means to sponsor you? Are you able to provide them benefits? Do you even stand a chance?
  • Tailor your gaming sponsorship letter: Don't send the same letter to a lot of companies in the hopes of getting a "bite". Tailor each letter to each company, making them feel you really want to be their sponsored gamed developer and telling why you didn't go to their competitors.
  • Think outside of the box.

A day in a Game Designer's Life

Things that affect video-game designer salaries

Educational Level: This may be a formality for some, but it is a plus in negotiations for a better salary.

Location: Studios in larger cities yield better pay

Employer: Working for a larger company is the best - games nowadays are too complex to go solo!

Job Experience: As in any other career, the longer you are in the business the better is your credibility - the better your credibility and experience the better terms you are going to get in a negotiation.

Steam Game Wall
Steam Game Wall

Steam for Indie Games: Pre-Release and Early Access Games!

You should really consider getting into Steam if you want to be an Indie Game developer as they really support Indie Game developers.

In fact, there are lots of good games on this platform that are made by an Indie Studio or even just one man.

Another great perk of being a developer there is that you can open your game for early-access, so users can choose to buy access to the game to play the unfinished version and help you out figure out the bugs and weak points of the game while you get paid!

Steam Indie Early Access Games
Steam Indie Early Access Games

Follow the Trends: Early Access Survival Games!

If you want to be a Game Designer, you really have to keep your eyes peeled to know how the game industry develops.

For starters, if you haven't been sleeping in a hole you now know that survival games are in big demand, and that close to 90% of them are Indie games, games from one person or just a small studio.

Know that there's plenty of chances for you now that this industry is flourishing, but there's one thing you can't skip - work!

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    • Rui Carreira profile image
      Author

      Rui Carreira 5 years ago from Torres Novas

      I didn't knew about that.. I definitely have to check it out!!

    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      I am glad I read this article because it was absolute true. You can also learn a lot about making games for newgrounds.com because they provide music you can use, voice actors, artist willing to help you, testers and even programmers.