When most people think of video games, they only think of them as entertainment, but they can be a very viable way to make money. The video game industry is estimated to be worth nearly 257 billion dollars by 2025. Ever watch the credits to the ending of that game you just beat? There are a ton of names that float by you. Each one had a hand in making the game what it turned out to be, and you could be one of those people.
The video game industry has a plethora of interesting 9-5 video game jobs, but there are also less traditional prevalent ways of making money playing video games in todays world. They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life, and if you love video games, why not make a living making video games or playing video games?
Not a tech geek? No worries, there are plenty of non-technical jobs that are needing when making a video game. Here are just a few examples of video game jobs you could pursue.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way here. When most people think about creating a video game, they think of coding, which is a huge part of creating a video game. Software engineers are the ones that put together the code that help make your favorite video games possible. Video game programmer could be one of the more challenging jobs to get, but with the right skills and experience, you can have a lot of fun being the game programmer behind the next big hit!
Animators use the images created by artists and specialized software to create different aspects of video games. Artists and designers first create characters, environments, weapons, and any special effects. The animators bring those ideas to action by bringing them into the game world. As an animator, you could make a game as life-like or fantasy-like as possible, setting the stage for the entire game’s feel and aura.
As the animator, audio engineers take the music created by a composer and bring it into the game. Soundtracks for different aspects of a game and any additional sounds effects are made specially by the audio engineers. Being an audio engineer is a perfect job for anyone who loves the musical details of video games.
Video Game Tester\QA Tester
Want to be the first to play a new game, be a game tester! Sure the game might be a bit buggy, but that’s half the fun. Throughout a games development, it will go through several rounds of beta testing. Testing jobs like a quality assurance tester or beta tester are essential to making sure games are free of bugs for the best possible gaming experience.
Game testers don’t just play video games to find bugs, but they give feedback on how well a game plays, flows, and overall how much fun it is to play. After the initial game design, you’ll have the first crack at shaping the game to a more fun and player-friendly format.
Technical Support Specialist
No game is perfect, so if you want to be involved with helping people and video games, you can become a technical support specialist. Help users when things go wrong and get them back on their gaming way.
As with any software development, producers and project managers are as important as the game developers themselves. Project Managers are in charge of the team of people it takes to make sure a game is being developed correctly, on time, and within the specs of the designs. Design, planning, and project management is an essential part of the development of any video game.
Do you like managing others and keeping people on track? Then try out being a video game producer. Producing games means you make sure that all the different aspects of a game are getting completed and bring them all together. Keep track of updates, changes, development status, and all other elements of a game. You’ll be in charge of one or many different groups within the video game development team, making sure they are all aligned, and everyone has the same vision as to where the game is going as a whole.
Video Game Designers
At one point or another, all gamers have ideas on how to make the perfect video game. You can bring your ideas to life by becoming a video game designer. Take your original video game design and concepts or come up with a spin on a classic and design your own game around it. Help develop new characters, plots, and any other aspects of games and then see them come to life. You’ll get involved with every team and aspect of the game from start to finish making the game exactly how you envisioned it.
Similar to game designers, level designers are a bit more granular. Understanding what makes a good level, dungeon, or side quest can make or break a game. Level design is a crucial part for any video game design. You can be the person that makes that super fun level or challenging dungeon. Bring your creativity and love of video games to the table and make each game the best it can be.
No technical skills, no problem. There are still plenty of ways to make a living making video games without knowing how to read or write a single line of code. Here are just a few examples.
Most people don’t think about all the math that goes into making a video, but without math, video games would be practically unplayable. Mathematicians put together all the complicated formulas and physics behind every jump, shot, punch, or other game actions. They make sure the games remain consistent and make sense within the world of the game. No math, no game, simple as that.
Games on all platforms need their characters to have a voice. Some may require short clips; others may need entire scenes acted out. As a voice actor, you can be the voice of a video game character. Just like turning a book into a movie, casting the right person for each character can be essential in making it a hit. Take that beautiful voice of yours and be a part of the video game world.
Video Game Writer
Storytelling is a big part of video games. A bad story line can stop even the best developed game in it’s tracks. Game development companies want and need great stories to keep players coming back over an over again. If you love science fiction, fantasy, horror, sports, action, really any kind of writing, there is a video game genre waiting for your next great story.
Game Artist\Graphic Designer
Game Artists could fall into either the technical or non-technical side depending on the role, but I’m putting it here because the emphasis would be on your artistic ability. Coders and computer-animators don’t make up the characters in video games out of thin air. Gaming companies go through dozens and dozens of artist renditions to capture what the creators feel characters should look like before a single line of code is written. Video game art isn’t limited to characters either. Every building, weapon, skill, ability, and other significant parts of games are drawn out to make sure they fit the game just right. Sure, in the end, the character will be created by a computer, but the initial brainstorming is still done by an artist first.
Sometimes what separates a good game from a great game has nothing to do with the gameplay at all. Instead, you can amp up a game’s effectiveness with a great soundtrack. Music and sounds can capture so many different aspects of a game and bring out our emotions while playing. The more emotionally connected we feel to a game, the more we’ll love it. Composers can bring a game to another level with the right music.
Video Game News Writer
As mentioned before, the gaming industry is enormous and only getting bigger. Video game news is a very popular topic. Gamers are constantly looking for information on the latest reviews, release dates, DLC, and much more. Just like any other industry, someone needs to update the masses on this information. There are tons of websites out there dedicated to just that. You can work for one or write freelance for many. Either way, you can make a good living by writing about video games.
Interpreters and Translators
Games aren’t limited to only one country. Video game developers will need someone to not only translate the game’s dialogue but any in-game instructions as well. Interpreters convert characters’ dialogue into other languages. Translators change instructions and other documentation from their original languages to others. For anyone that is bi-lingual and loves video games, this is a great place to show off both skills.
Even the biggest of titles need some marketing, and there have never been more ways to advertise than there are today. The traditional methods of TV, Radio, Magazines, and other print methods still exist. On top of that, you now have in-app ads, social media, online in general, and a slew of different approaches to market your new game. Get on board with the latest and greatest game by promoting it every way you can as a marketing manager.
As with most industries, there are plenty of non-traditional jobs out there to be had in the video game industry. Having the 9-5 is still great, but there are many options out there for gamers to make their way on their own.
It’s estimated that Twitch has more than 15 million daily active users and has between 2.2 and 3.2 million monthly broadcasters. That’s a lot of eyes on a lot of broadcasters. The income of a broadcaster can range anywhere from nothing to millions of dollars. Think of this as becoming a famous actor; it will take skill and a lot of luck to become the next big star. I certainly wouldn’t bank on it as your primary source of income, but using it as a side hustle is a great way to incorporate your love of video games into making some cash.
Very similar to broadcasting on Twitch is creating your own Youtube channel users can subscribe for to make money. You could record yourself playing games, give tips on defeating a tough boss, or give reviews on your favorite games. Again, I wouldn’t recommend relying on Youtube becoming your primary source of income. Still, it’s another good side hustle for video game lovers.
These aren’t your daddy’s video game tournaments anymore. These are full-blown events. Hundreds, if not thousands, of players are looking to take home a top prize in either team or individual format. The prize pools are not to be overlooked either. Some of the biggest tournaments have prize pools north of 30 million dollars to be handed out. You’ll be going up against some of the best players in the world if you want to take enough home to be a professional video game player, but you can certainly give these tournaments a try to make some side cash as well.
How to Get a Dream Job in Video Games
Depending on the job you want to have in the video game industry will determine the path you’ll need to take. The more technical jobs like a game developer typically need formal training in computer science and will require you to invest your time and money. In the past, this meant getting a bachelor’s degree from a four year university. Today, there are many in person “bootcamps” or online courses that will give you the specific skills you needed for video game programming. In these courses, you’ll not online learn the coding language and best practices, but all about game design and development, problem solving skills, development software and anything else specific to the job you are looking to obtain.
If you are more passionate about the creative side of the game development process, you might want to consider design school or animation school. You might also consider art school or taking courses in visual design as well.
Video game development goes much deeper than game programming with coding alone. Whether you’re creating a console game, pc game or arcade came, having the right video gamer programmer is important, but there are a ton of other people needed as well. No matter your skillset, there is a place for you in the video game industry. You might be the more creative type and be better suited for a non-technical position, or you might be a computer geek and want to be a great software developer. Maybe you don’t want to work the 9-5 at all and take a swing at one of the more modern video games jobs. In any case, if you love video games and want to make a living through them, there are plenty of options available to you. Game companies need people with all sorts of skills. Now go out there, get your game career going and make the next big hit!
Jeff is a fan of all things finance. When he’s not out there changing the world with his blog, you can find him on a run, a Mets game, playing video games, or just playing around with his kids.