With each year, the multi-billion dollar gaming industry grows more encompassing, profitable and accessible for those interested in pursuing a gaming career. How has a field focused on digital entertainment become one of the most interesting means of making a living for software developers, technicians, graphic designers and actors?
Firstly, the demand is greater than ever before. Gone are the days of having to join a famous game studio to make your mark. Today, platforms like Steam and Twitch have made it easier for smaller indie studios to sell and promote their work.
Furthermore, the player base is growing every day. Younger generations, irrespective of gender or interests, see gaming as an obvious pastime and universal hobby. Gaming is no longer exclusive to children.
Finally, fast advancements within gaming technology has allowed for game developers to build upon the code of past developers, meaning the output of games is faster than it was back in the 90s. Naturally, these advancements have also allowed gaming experiences to become more impressive, now featuring a range of exciting components like artificial intelligence of virtual reality
Let’s take a look at the new and interesting careers recently made possible in gaming thanks to the above factors.
Artificial intelligence, or ‘machine self-learning’, is used in everything from search engines to voice recognition software. It is also used in gaming, where AI mechanisms help personalize games, randomize play, and provide a real strategic challenge to players.
From the early days of computer-opponent Chess to the groundbreaking procedural generation in No Man’s Sky or augmented reality in Pokemon GO – artificial intelligence has continued to become increasingly important in helping shape gamer experiences. As such, the industry is in need of engineers and technicians who understand the workings behind a self-learning machine. For those experienced in robotics and A.I., the gaming industry could provide a highly lucrative career.
With gaming having become a spectators sport in recent years, bookmakers are looking to cash in on the emerging esports scene by allowing keen fans of games like WoW, Dota2 and LoL to use their knowledge in placing bets. The new form of gambling brings with it a need for odds compilers, risk specialists, traders, marketers, affiliates, web developers and many more professions necessary for making esports betting as popular as that for horse racing or football.
General igaming, which includes online casino and lotto, has not been legalized in many parts of the world – but that may soon change for online poker. While poker was considered predominantly a form of gambling in the past, attitudes are changing. With consistently successful poker pros and machines that can learn the game – people are increasingly seeing that poker is as much a game of skill as it is of chance. Consequently, California and New York are looking to legalize online poker within the very near future – likely prompting other states to follow suit.
With the resurgence of online poker that will surely follow, the already lucrative igaming industry will be in search of game developers, marketers, business analysts, affiliates, lawyers and other professionals necessary in rebuilding a mainstream US player base. For those who can land a job at one of the bigger online poker sites right now, there’s a lot of money to be made in the near future.
It’s clear to see that virtual reality gaming is the next big thing for gaming. VR headsets are fast becoming the new way through which to experience gaming, with consoles like Samsung Gear and HTC Vive making serious money since entering the market a couple of years ago. For the first time ever, VR gaming is properly immersive, comfortable and affordable.
As such, gaming studios are clammering to adapt their titles for VR consoles. VR technology is complex, however, and requires experts with a very specialized skillset to incorporate the technology into gaming. The demand for VR engineers is subsequently growing considerably, making them amongst the most well-paid individuals in the gaming industry right now.
Mini games like Farmville and Candy Crush on Facebook make billions of dollars in revenue alone. Add to that the massive profit that successful app developers make, and mobile gaming is one of the most lucrative fields in the gaming industry. The social aspect of these games calls for experts in online marketing, customer support and social media platforms, while consumer psychologists and graphic designers are paid for making mobile games as enticing and addictive as possible.
Voice / Reference Actor
One only needs to compare the early version of Lara Croft with the most recent to see how fast graphics have improved in the past few years. One of the ways in which game developers make the appearance and movements of their characters so realistic is by basing them off real life actors. Reference models and voice actors are very valuable in the production of video games, yet this is an often overlooked career specialisation for aspiring actors.
Video game voice actress Laura Bailey says that; “depending on the game, you get to portray different aspects of a character based on player choices. The interesting about portraying a character in a video game often times is that you have to have an established idea of who this character is, but it has to be malleable, it has to be movable enough that when the player is making those choices, they still feel natural coming from out of that character you’ve created.”
Nuts about gaming? Like making money? Got a creative idea to share? These days, a whole range of skillsets and talents go into making games successful, and finding ways to contribute is easier than ever before.