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  • Cheat Mode: Choosing a Career in the Games Industry

    [03.05.13]
    - Dan Jacobs

  • Other departments:

    There are so many people involved in a video game that I can't possibly mention them all here. Many people make their living in or around the actual creation of the game. So many folk aid us in creating, marketing, managing and selling a game; it's wrong to think that a games career must involve development in some way.

    Games journalist:

    You read their reviews regularly, you've read the breaking news they present, and they're the number one communication method between creating and consuming a game. So what does a games journalist actually do and how can you become one?

    I do mostly news and features really, but also I do co-ordination of stuff for events with companies and things like that. So we'll sort out media partnerships or just arranging stuff with TIGA to get on board with their awards and various other things, so sort of relationship building as well. But day-to-day it's mostly writing news in the mornings, getting on with features stuff in the afternoons and occasionally getting on with more long term stuff.

    -Dan Pearson
    Senior Staff Writer, Gamesindustry.biz

    Recruitment agent:

    The specialist recruitment agencies and agents provide a valuable service to the industr,y so what advice can they offer someone starting out in the industry?

    Recruiters are really useful in a number of different ways, they manage your interviews, they are usually first to hear about new jobs or jobs that perhaps aren't public, they can give you vital advice on your C.V. and general career advice so I would say you could use a recruiter at any point.

    -Eamonn Mgherbi
    Managing Director, Avatar Games Recruitment

    P.R. Manager:

    P.R. managers run all the publicity for the games we make. From when details are made public to how these details are presented, everything comes through the P.R. manager.

    I'm a publicist, which means it's my job to make sure that the games I work on are as visible as possible. If you read about one of my games and it's not an advert, I was almost definitely involved in that coverage in some way.

    -Leo Tan
    Senior P.R. Manager, Capcom

    Community Manager:

    A Community Manager is often the public spokesperson for the game. These guys manage the game after launching, ensuring that customers have an open line of communication with publishers and developers.

    You act as a bridge between the person consuming whatever it is your guys are creating. So if I was working on a game, say I was working on the new F1 game, I'd be the guy who was the voice between the people playing that game and the guys who were making it...

    -Tom Champion
    Community Manager, Eurogamer.net

    Conclusion

    So far we’ve covered how a game is made, and hopefully, I’ve shown you a little about the daily lives of those who work in the industry. We should now consider other elements of their working life.

    There are many articles regarding the hours worked in the industry and what is called "crunch." Crunch is usually when a game is nearing completion or an important milestone, and a final push is needed to get the game completed and released on time with the highest possible quality.

    To do this, companies require their staff to work much longer hours to achieve the highest quality product they can deliver. This can easily be 10-14 hour days and weekends. A lot of the time there will be little or no reimbursement for your efforts. You may get paid, but more likely, you will be reimbursed with food and time off for the extra time worked, sometimes known as TOIL.

    I personally have done 3 days and 2 nights without leaving the office, and I regularly pulled 24-hour shifts. Crunch is without a doubt the number one reason people leave the games industry. However if you’re willing to pull out all the stops and make every sacrifice you can for the sake of the game, then crunch can also be a fun, rewarding time which could make the difference between a temporary position and a permanent contract.

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