Hoorah for my first post! Welcome wayward travellers, you might be in for a treat or it might be that you’ll start snoring before I finish this fairly well written sentence. Either way, I figured I would get started with a frequently asked question:
“How do I get into the Gaming Industry?”
Disclaimer: If you are IN the Gaming Industry, your results and mileage might vary. I’m not saying I know it all and there aren’t any other ways to get into the biz – so share your stories as I would love to hear them. These are very general non specific ways that just might help someone out there.
In other words bust your ass, go to school, eat your vegetables and don’t forget your gummy bear vitamins either. Find what you are good at and apply yourself. Want to be an Artist? First, make sure you can draw then make sure you know how. Want to be the guy/girl in glasses staring at code everyday then programming might be for you.
The thing is, be realistic. If you expect to come out of High School with the attitude of “Man, I play on all types of systems – I know games and any company will love to have me.” Well, perhaps if you want to start from the bottom up – they just might.
Know The Product
Gamers are competitive by nature. They love the game they are playing and they generally want to be the best-whatever-is-out-there-for-your-class type dealie. So, if you are going to interview, make sure you know and understand the product no matter what position you are applying for. The biggest mistake you can make is talking about how much experience you have with a competing game for the place you are trying to get hired.
Maybe you can’t stand that company’s games but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be playing it every waking hour until your interview. You need to get into the industry somehow.
Get Your Foot In The Door
If college just isn’t for you, but you love games the next best place to start is in Customer Service and Quality Assurance. (No offense to those types that are damned good at what they do in those departments – my hat goes off to each and everyone of you. It’s not an easy role in any company.) Most of the time, the lower level entry positions are hiring as they have a decent amount of revolving headcount.
Just a warning though. Be prepared to pay your dues. You might get lucky or you might end up being in a position you don’t necessarily like waiting for your big break as a Developer. It could take months and even years. It depends on what positions are available and on you specifically.
Know Someone Who Works There
It might seem obvious, but the best thing you can do is Network. Know someone from the company? Or maybe it’s a friend of a friend of that friend over there. You know the one. Find ways to get invited to their gaming sessions. Hang out and show your knowledge in how you talk the walk. Just remember don’t stalk them. Like hang out in the bar the go to every Wednesday night and just watch them as they get trashed and play pool.
It seems silly but Networking has gotten many people a job in the gaming industry. The old addage of it’s not “What you know, but who you know.” certainly does ring true sometimes.
It’s incredible how small the Gaming Industry is. I mean, in all the years I’ve been involved with the industry, the same faces seem to appear on a cycle. Being a small community is nice in some ways, but if you run into a problem you might just get blacklisted and I’ll tell you knews travels quickly.
Gamers are creative enthusiasts that sometimes get lost in their own virtual reality. Their time schedule could be a realistic thought every 15 minutes or the next time they need to use the bathroom. You can get into the gaming industry but realise it will not happen over night. Well it can, but chances are it won’t.
You need to be persistant. You need to be remembered (in a good way, not the creepy stalker dude).
If you are certain that game development is where you belong, then you’ll get there. In time.
Many a good luck to you in your pursuit of gaming awesomeness.Follow smashedkeys