Working in games
About the Games Industry
Games are now developed for many different platforms – PC, console, and mobile – with mobile games being the main growth area for the sector.
Publishers still commission games from studios, but with new, easy-to-access platforms studios increasingly self-publish. In addition games are increasingly being commissioned by advertising and marketing companies who are starting to enter the market looking for developers and designers.
Games employers are currently experiencing skills shortages in development and scripting, art (including cinematic and technical artists), and design (including technical designers). The growth in online distribution has also generated a need for more expertise in online publishing and marketing. Independent and self-published studios in particular have skills shortages in marketing, social media and PR.
Develop your skills
In addition to academic qualifications, employers are looking for skills and experience you will have been developing over many years. They seek energetic people and those with passionate interest in something they have pursued. They want to see what you’re capable of and how you might develop, and the best indication of that is what you have already achieved.
Having a portfolio demonstrating your enthusiasm, initiative and ability as a maker of games. A preferable online portfolio can include playable scenes or levels, artwork and video captures. Ludum Dare competitions and game jams can be great ways to meet new developers and artists, as well as a way to quickly test concepts and technologies without investing too much time. You can also build an interactive community as a swarm on Hiive, the professional networking site for creative people.
Don’t wait until you’ve made a complete playable game to get started on your portfolio, tech demos can often be a deciding factor in an interview stage, as they can show off your speed and skill, whilst showing that you’re willing to experiment and continue learning.
Facts and Figures
Games are now a major mainstream entertainment medium, enjoyed by 70% of the UK population across multiple platforms and recognised as an art form in their own right.
The UK is a world leader in the games industry, home to 23 of the world’s top 100 games development studios and the largest games development market in Europe. There has been significant growth in recent years with a 22% increase in the number of UK companies between 2011 and 2013.
Many major games franchises have been developed in the UK including Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider, Little Big Planet, Fable and Runescape. It is a substantial export industry with 95% of games companies selling products outside the UK.
Major successes include Grand Theft Auto V, produced by Scotland-based Rockstar North, which in 2013 achieved the fastest $1 billion sales gross of any product in entertainment history. One of the most popular games on mobile platforms is Mind Candy’s Moshi Monsters, which has over 60 million registered users.
There are close to 2,000 video games companies in the UK, contributing as much as £1.7 billion to the UK economy.