Job Prospects: Poor

Jay Moore had the opening speech at IMGDC, and it included a point I think many people need: getting a sustainable job in the gaming industry is hard.

Many people want a job making games, which is great if you are an executive. No matter how low the salary, how many hours, or how poor of working conditions, people will apply. As fast as you burn through employees, more will be graduating with minimal training and dreams of making the next WoW or Halo. Elder Game hypothesizes that MMOs could be a refuge from this, because they need survivors to run the live game, but much of the industry is self-cannibalizing. Every highly caffeinated 20-something in perpetual crunch mode makes it that much harder for you to make a career.

That ignores the little problem of revenue. 90% of everything is crud, and there is a good chance your game will not break even. Not you, you did a great job, but those other guys screwed up, or management destroyed it, or the market was not ready for your product, or you got lost in a big release month. However it happens, sustainable applies not just to your ability to survive the job but for the job to keep existing.

With high labor supply and limited demand, the pay is low, the jobs are few, and your players will complain about you at least as much as you complain about the current developers. You face a fickle market where faked screenshots and bribed magazines can trump good gameplay. But you do get to have your dream job.

: Zubon

2 thoughts on “Job Prospects: Poor”

  1. Thanks for the reality check Zubon. I hope some of those caffeinated 20 somethings read this and stay out of the game industry or at least demand better working conditions. The game industry seems to be stuck in adolescent Peter Pan mode and never wanting to grow up. Thats good for some things but not for promoting the long term job stability needed to continue getting more and more experienced people. Certain stellar companies do buck the trend but by and large it seems “churn and burn” is the way to go so after applying to a gazillion game companies and fortunately not getting a job I went and got a “boring” job as a flash developer at a nice investing company and play games for fun instead. Granted I am looking at doing some spare time game making but thats it. Making games is more fun when you’re the one in charge anyways.

  2. Some of the magic is lost when you just start analyzing MMOs. I wonder just how badly the magic is lost when you are making them?

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