Should you quit your job to make video games?

By Jos ยท 4 replies
Jul 24, 2016
Post New Reply
  1. Your boss just pulled you into another surprise meeting. You’ve got a case of the Mondays. And your raise got rejected. Why not leave it all behind and roll the dice on a new career in video games?

    Aside from the design, art, and programming jobs we often think of, the “games industry” includes everything from grips setting up motion capture studios to psychologists studying microtransactions. There are endless reasons to take the risk of quitting your job, and just as many reasons to tough it out and stay the safe course. The tricky part is figuring out which apply to you. Regardless of if you can write a single line of code, or if you have a hundred or a thousand YouTube subscribers, you first need to look at what you’ll be leaving behind.

    Read the complete article.

  2. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 390   +669

    It's a nice article that sort of positively boosts interest in the industry, but quite honestly, unless you've got an awful existing job, a spectacularly unique idea and personally know the right people who can help you pull it off in advance, the video game industry is often horrible to work for. Very long hours, high "salaried" competition vs outsourcing / freelancing, unreliable income from smaller publishers and horrible working conditions / expectations / high levels of stress from the larger ones. Best way in is hobbyist, ie, you work for free in your spare time and hope that whatever simple game you make takes off.

    Most salaries quoted in "industry advocacy articles" are generally inflated by quite a bit. Eg, most "audio professionals" certainly don't "average" anywhere near $96k (avg salary for an audio engineer is more like $44k with only a very few near triple digits). The Gamasutra figures on which the quoted $96k figures were based asked only 33 people (all salaried), freelancers (your real competition starting out) were not counted, and as other sites found the real industry figures are lower:-

    "Employed game audio professionals make an average of $70,500 per year, have been in the industry about 8 years and worked on an average of 3.8 games in the past year."

    ^ So that's an average of $70k for people with 8 years of experience with multiple games under their belts = you quitting your job and just starting out fresh-faced will be more like $20-40k.

    You also can't "train" for creativity. No amount of musical degrees or training or reading positive thinking articles will magically turn you into a Jeremy Soule or Inon Zur just because you fancy a change in career. Composing is an innate talent that you either already know you have by the age of 18 (eg, having spent childhood attaining 9th grade on piano with a deep passion for music), or you don't.

    Don't want to sound pessimistic, but there are many "lower stress" career changes I'd consider first (including lion tamer, wing walker and bomb disposal) than video game development, especially if your existing career has zero overlapping experience with whatever you're aiming for, and you have a family to feed...
    SirChocula and jackal2687 like this.
  3. jackal2687

    jackal2687 TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +12

    As someone who separated from the military and decided to go the Video Game/ Movie magic route of visual effects. I can definitely say the work is unreliable and unless as stated above you know someone high on the food chain, don't expect to get a regular job. If anything, expect to work for as few as an hour per gig to max,2-5 years as contract. I don't know anyone who had an industry job longer than that unless they worked at a school teaching people about visual effects.

    Not to dissuade people altogether. The only way you will make it, is if it doesn't feel like work. Otherwise, the hours and the low pay will get to you quickly.
  4. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,877   +1,297

    "Do that before you take a $30k job for the free games and swag."

    Where I live that would be a dream job. Unfortunately, professional game studios are never in places where this is the case. And you have to ask yourself..why? If you think about it, what do you really need besides good Internet to operate a development team just about anywhere? You could base your operation in Columbus, OH or any of the less "urban" cities and not be especially inconvenienced - all while saving a fortune. Also, while it makes coordinating things a big tougher, much of your team could telecommute and wouldn't even need to live in the same area. Outsourced pros do most of their work this way so its more than feasible.
  5. PinothyJ

    PinothyJ TS Guru Posts: 460   +22

    What about the 4A Games team living in the highly unstable Ukraine during Russia's little invasion?

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...