If you have a lifelong passion for video games, the idea of being able to make a living making video games might seem like a pipe dream. But, the reality is that the video game business is huge and now could be the best time to get in.
Gaming has extended well beyond established consoles and virtually anyone can develop and publish a video game these days, even with very limited resources. There are many ways that you can get into the video game business, whether you want to be independent or work for a major developer. Here a few of them.
Go the Traditional Route
The best way to get into the business is to get the credentials and try to apply with one of the major studios. Not only that, but your college will give you opportunities to get in through internship and employment opportunities. When you have the credentials, it’s not only easier to get your work respected, but you’ll be much better at your craft as well.
You can get into the business through various programs. You will need to have a degree in computer science or software engineering to get into most studios. You should also consider advancing your studies after you get a bachelor so you can access more positions and work as an executive.
One of the ways you could do that would be to get a masters in software engineering online. This would allow you to keep learning without skipping a beat and get higher credentials as you gain experience in the field. Not too many developers in this business have a master’s and this will definitely make you a force to be reckoned with in this industry.
Showcase Your Work
One of the simplest things that you can do is start on your own project and showcase it wherever you can. Many big developers started by developing small games and it’s a great way to learn booth about video game programming and the business side of it.
One of the best ways to show your work is through discussion boards. If you’ve been thinking of developing before, you probably know a few of them already. These boards don’t only have people who want to learn how to develop games, but industry players as well. This could be the perfect opportunity to get your work seen by people working for studios. Even if you don’t end up getting a job right away, you could make valuable contacts and they might come to you if they hear about an opening somewhere. They might also be willing to put in a good word for you.
Start a Gaming Blog
Starting a blog is also a great way to make a name for yourself and showcase your work. The beautiful thing about a blog is that it doesn’t have to be about you and your projects only. It can be about anything pertaining to the gaming business, or programming business if you decide to make the scope of the blog broader.
The more high-quality work you produce and publish through the proper outlets, the more attention you will start gaining. You can then start pushing your work more and hopefully have the right people see it. This could also be used as a platform to launch your own games.
Become an Indie Developer
There’s also nothing that says that you have to wait for a studio to give you attention. Unless you have the credentials and experience, getting noticed by a major studio will be an uphill battle. But if you want to experience, all you need to do is make your own games and publish them.
Mobile games are the perfect opportunity to start, and you could end up earning some income as a result. And, even if you don’t, you will have learned some of the most important principles of publishing and selling games.
You’ll have a better understanding of the development process, some of the issues that can delay projects, issues that can happen at launch, security issues, etc. So, if you decide that you do want to work for a major developer at some point, you’ll have more than enough experience to show for.
Work as a Game Tester
Another thing you could do is look at entry-level positions as a game tester. Game tester is the easiest job to get in the whole industry. That’s because having a college degree is not required and testers often end up working in other departments, so there’s always a need for new blood to fill vacancies.
You’d be surprised at how many developers today started as testers. If you can show your eagerness to learn and work, you might be offered a better job on a production team. Some were even able to work their way up to associate producer, but you have to be able to show that you want it and have the skills as well.
The thing is that working as a game tester is about much more than testing. Being that close to the game development process will give you so much inside information. You will also have the chance to make valuable connections and speak with people you’d have no chance of talking to otherwise.
Become an Intern
Another option would be to work as an intern at a video game company. Here, you’ll work directly with the programming team, though you will usually have to be able to show some expertise. Studios usually don’t have official internship programs for developers but will love to have cheap (or free) employees working for them. All you have to do is do the legwork and get in touch with the right people and you could get a chance at an internship at the studio of your choice,
As you can see, there is more than one way to get into the video game business. We suggest that you consider all of these and get as much experience and expertise as possible if you want a realistic chance at making it.