Video Games

Sam Barlow, Kate Edwards, and Andrea Rene discuss how now is the best time to be into video games — with top gamers earning millions, and indie developers challenging major companies, we learn about the careers within the growing gaming industry.

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So let’s go to our next topic:
Working In the Industry.

And when it comes to opportunities,

at least for some, it seems
to be working out pretty well.

Check out these numbers.

42,000 jobs, that’s how many
opportunities there were

in the U.S. videogame
industry in 2014

and the average paycheck

for someone working
in the industry was $95,000.

Sam, that still doesn’t
really sound like a lot of jobs.

Is it really competitive
to get into?

Those numbers are interesting

because I think there’s definitely
some averages at work there.

I think the salaries of
the executives are probably

inflating some of those numbers.

That number actually sounds
pretty conservative to me.

Which number, the number of jobs?

-The 42,000 jobs.
-Okay.

It depends on how you define
who a game developer is.

There are so many different
facets to the game industry,

not just programmer,
not just game designer,

and so if you’re
including all of those,

then I would say that number
goes up significantly

and also of course
with indie development now,

it’s like there is such a spectrum
between hobbyist,

amateur, professional.

Andrea, what are some
of the parts to becoming

one of those 42,000?

For me, my career in games
started with media,

I went to school
to become a journalist and,

instead of going into
entertainment news,

which is where I thought
I was going to go,

I went to videogame news.

So that’s one way,
is to get into media,

and another way is art.

If you are an artist,
if you want to do concept art

or if you want to do
animation or modeling

of some of these characters
that you see inside games,

if that part of the business
really excites you,

you can go to art school.

Or if you’re into computer science
and you want to write code,

that’s another way.

Or if you’re in marketing and you
have a really good eye for graphics,

you can go into that
department as well.

So we have a breakdown
in recent salaries

which is pretty interesting

so let’s bring up
this next statistic.

In 2014, the top salaries
went to business and management,

over $101,000, all of you guys
really nodding your heads.

-No surprises there but audio
-Management.

Yeah, always, but audio
professionals came next

at $95,000,

programmers at $93,000,

and producers and game designers
come pretty close to the bottom

with designers hauling in
less than $74,000 a year.

You’re lucky that you don’t have
the QA technicians on there

as a category.

What's a QA technician?

A QA technician would be
what many people assume

is the dream job,
which is to test the videogames.

Quality Assurance
is what QA stands for.

It’s often considered
entry level job in the industry

even though there are people
who do it professionally for years

so it’s a legitimate function in the
industry that’s really important.

But it’s very low paid?

-Well, it’s lower paid, yes.
-Okay.

So you think the pay levels
don’t actually reflect

the skills that are required
to do those jobs?

If you are the director
or creator

or inventor
or chief programmer

or head artist on a
successful, big franchise,

something like “Call of Duty,”

you were not necessarily
rewarded in the same way

as the director of the movie.

Do you think that’s unfair?

Do you think those people
are being exploited

because they have
a lot of passion?

-Absolutely.
-It’s definitely an industry,

that benefits from the passion
of the people working in it.

Well yeah, absolutely.
We do an annual developers survey

and the results we get
consistently every year is that,

when we ask them about
their level of passion

for making games,
it’s off the chart.

That is a driving force for most
people who are in the industry,

whether they’re
a writer or an artist

or whatever they might do.

So let’s go to our next topic:
Working In the Industry.

And when it comes to opportunities,

at least for some, it seems
to be working out pretty well.

Check out these numbers.

42,000 jobs, that’s how many
opportunities there were

in the U.S. videogame
industry in 2014

and the average paycheck

for someone working
in the industry was $95,000.

Sam, that still doesn’t
really sound like a lot of jobs.

Is it really competitive
to get into?

Those numbers are interesting

because I think there’s definitely
some averages at work there.

I think the salaries of
the executives are probably

inflating some of those numbers.

That number actually sounds
pretty conservative to me.

Which number, the number of jobs?

-The 42,000 jobs.
-Okay.

It depends on how you define
who a game developer is.

There are so many different
facets to the game industry,

not just programmer,
not just game designer,

and so if you’re
including all of those,

then I would say that number
goes up significantly

and also of course
with indie development now,

it’s like there is such a spectrum
between hobbyist,

amateur, professional.

Andrea, what are some
of the parts to becoming

one of those 42,000?

For me, my career in games
started with media,

I went to school
to become a journalist and,

instead of going into
entertainment news,

which is where I thought
I was going to go,

I went to videogame news.

So that’s one way,
is to get into media,

and another way is art.

If you are an artist,
if you want to do concept art

or if you want to do
animation or modeling

of some of these characters
that you see inside games,

if that part of the business
really excites you,

you can go to art school.

Or if you’re into computer science
and you want to write code,

that’s another way.

Or if you’re in marketing and you
have a really good eye for graphics,

you can go into that
department as well.