The video game industry has continued to see unprecedented growth over the past few years, and there does not seem to be any indication it will be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, with the advancement of Web 3.0 and the progress of technologies like virtual and augmented realities, the interest in video games is only expected to grow for the foreseeable future. Studies show that nearly 40 percent of the world’s population plays video games at least occasionally, and this places estimates of the total number of gamers worldwide at approximately 3.2 billion people. Along with the growth of gamers comes the need for studios to respond by stepping up their game in coming up with fresh and exciting ideas to keep players interested. According to agencies hiring developers for video games and other industry recruiters, new gaming jobs have grown by almost 13 percent from 2021 to 2023. In response, studios are ramping up their hiring efforts to meet the current and expected coming demands.
The demand for new hires is largely driven by the number of new gaming companies that have been growing at a steady rate of approximately five percent a year since 2018, with there being well over 3,000 gaming studios in the U.S. alone as of 2023. Long-established studios are also increasing their footprint to keep up with the growing interest. Because of the continually increasing interest in games, the gaming industry is seemingly one of the few sectors immune to economic downturns, and this is resulting in many people wanting to enter the gaming industry. If you are one of those people, to help you get a leg up on your competition, here are the five top tips from game industry recruiters on how to break into the game industry:
1) Acquire the Needed Skills
The vast majority of studios will require new hires, even for junior positions, to possess at least some experience in creating video games. While this can be a tough requirement for entry-level employees to fulfill, there are things you can do to tip the scale in your favor. A degree in a related field will go a long way to helping you get your foot in the door if your education is paired with some type of real-world experience. This experience can be in the form of games you made on your own or that you collaborated on. You can take online classes and attend in-person boot camps that will provide you with hands-on experience in game development. You can also show potential employers your initiative by putting together a team to collaborate on building a new game and post the finished version to an online portfolio.
2) Post on Forums and Blogs
There are plenty of online video-game discussion forums where users share their knowledge, and participating will allow you to obtain valuable insights into the inner workings of the gaming sector. These forums are also great places to create an industry network that can lead to job offers. A number of these boards will allow you to publish your own video games and receive feedback from the community. These boards are perfect places to get your work noticed by studios, as many company execs frequent these types of forums looking for fresh ideas and new talent, and they have been known to provide feedback on how games can be improved. You should also write blog posts on your areas of interest, as this will also help generate feedback and impress the right people.
3) Build a Network
Building a network of gaming community members will provide you with a number of benefits. Not only will a solid network help you create your own team of collaborators, but your contacts can provide information on new job opportunities. This may, through the grapevine, introduce you to other contacts that can help you in various aspects of your search for positions in video games and other industry jobs. For example, a contact you made through a discussion forum may have a contact on LinkedIn that works for a big-name studio that just happens to know of a startup offering a paid internship. This is not as far-fetched as it may sound, and these types of scenarios happen all the time. Networking is also invaluable for keeping you up to date on industry trends. Begin building a network by searching online for discussion groups, forums, and meetups that fit your interests, and join as many as you have time for. Don’t forget social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Getrr, and Gab. Putting up a free portfolio on GitHub is also a good idea.
If you are trying to break into the video game industry, don’t be too fussy about your first position, as getting your foot in the door is both the toughest and most important step in the process. Perform research to find entry-level jobs and internships. Many of these positions involve testing new game prototypes, and these types of video game jobs typically don’t require a degree or industry experience. Taking an entry-level position will not only get your foot in the door and help you become acquainted with how studios operate, but it can also get you started climbing the ladder and lead to a design or developer job within the company. Internships are also a great place to start if you have a degree in an art discipline, sound design, basic computer programming, or a related field.
5) Register with a Recruiter
One of the most effective career moves you can make as an aspiring game developer is to register with a video game recruiter. It is important to realize not all recruiters are created equal. Video game industry recruiters provide a host of valuable services to candidates seeking video game jobs, and the most reputable recruiters do not charge job seekers a fee for their services. This is because the studios that retain the recruiter to help find talent pay the studio’s fees.
The single most significant benefit of working with a video game recruiter is having access to unpublished job listings, which can be substantial. This allows you to apply for positions without having to compete with the masses at cattle-call-type interviews. Reputable recruiting agencies such as DAM provide interview preparation and career counseling to job candidates.
Breaking into the video game industry can be a challenge, but it is nowhere near insurmountable. By following these tips, being consistent in your efforts to find openings for video game jobs, and registering with a reputable recruiting agency, you will have a leg up on your competition and have the best chance of getting your foot in the door with a studio. When it comes to selecting a video-game recruiter, DAM is the top recruiting firm in the world, and they have access to hundreds of unpublished job listings that are not available to the general public. DAM also offers interview preparation as well as career counseling, and the agency never charges a fee to job seekers.