The following is a series of anonymous feature blogs which have been written by a former member of the sports video games industry who wishes to remain anonymous. We have verified proof this individual is who they say they were and did work at a major publisher.
So you want to work in the video game industry?
Working in the video games industry is the goal of a lot of gamers, casual and hardcore alike. What seems better than turning your passion into a paycheck?
This was my mindset, and even though I had very little industry experience, I was determined to find a way in at a full-time capacity. I figured in an industry worth over $10 billion, and there had to be room for me.
I had been gaming since the days of the Atari 2600, and game as much today as I did back in the days of Pitfall and River Raid. As one gets older, the idea of turning one’s passion into gainful employment is an opportunity that rarely presents itself. You have to network and create relationships, and perseverance will need to become a lifestyle, not just an attribute one possesses inside.
There is a multitude of ways that one can work in the industry, from developer, to designer, marketing and advertisement, the amount of jobs the gaming industry creates is a vast one, but video games still one of the hardest industries to be a part of. Do you want to work for a publisher, a developer, a marketing company? The choices seem endless, and one needs to truly understand where their talents lie, and then choose a path that offers the best chance at success.
I chose the field I felt best suited my talents and experience, and proceeded to accept a position with a large company. As you can imagine, my level of excitement was through the roof and I was ready to revolutionize the industry. The excitement lasted for about 2 weeks, as I realized that my job responsibility was less about what I wanted to do and was seemingly brought on to do, and more about doing what I was told to do, so it would reflect upon the company in a positive way.
"While toeing the company line is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a very hard thing to follow through on when you know the customer base is the group being neglected..."
I had heard stories before I joined the industry about the level of corporate involvement, and how it will almost always supersede that of employee creativity, well I am here to tell you, those stories are true. While my expression of ideas were never frowned upon, it was always about keeping the investors happy and most decisions were based off of that singular idea.
While toeing the company line is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a very hard thing to follow through on when you know the customer base is the group being neglected by some of your decisions. It’s even harder when the “gamer” in you still lives, and you remember what it was like on the other side in the world of retail consumption and expectation. It wasn’t just myself who had these feelings, and I feel comfortable saying the majority of people I worked with felt the same. People who make these games are passionate and dedicated, they are just bit by hard reality when the time comes to plan out how to maximize investor dollars.
While I am not trying to give the impression that corporate suits sit around the conference table tapping their fingers together, and discuss world domination, it’s not far from that imagery when you really get down to it. It was not very long before I started to understand the inner workings of a major publisher and developer and its minds, which led to continued conflict within me both personally and with my peers.
Part II of this series is coming soon!