It is no secret that the younger generations of Americans have played their fair share of video games. But did you know that there are some very lucrative careers within the industry? What if we told you that some of these jobs can easily pay six figures, and you’ll have direct involvement in either development, testing, production, QA, finance, sales, or customer service? When you are just starting out your career, you won’t be earning a grandiose salary. But if you stick around and make yourself a manager of whatever you specialize in, you will eventually be very well-remunerated. Video games are big business all over the world, and the successful companies can generate billions of dollars in revenue each year. If you are considering taking a career in the video game industry, you need to have a clear picture of where you could end up after you get the proper education and work experience. Sticking around and following the right path could pay big dividends.
1.) Player Relations
For the major video games companies, a job in player relations combines customer service skills with analytics and strategy. You will be answering player requests and inquiries, but also analyzing large sets of data, and making appropriate adjustments on the business development end. Player relations is a broad category, as it also deals with billing, fraud, and audience development. The salaries in this area are very skewed, but you can expect to make somewhere around $40,000 per year as an entry level employee. This figure approaches six figures for management roles at the larger and more prominent companies.
2.) Video Game Developer
Behind every good game there is a talented set of software / video game developers that work hard to provide a great customer experience. Quality development means long term repeat business. When you are just starting out, you will likely work very long hours for low pay. However, once you develop a solid reputation amongst your peers, this salary will rise along with your overall value to the company you work for. The average salary for this career is $55,000 per year, but there are many who make six-figures. It depends on how successful the game you are developing will be, and your dedication / work ethic.
3.) Video Game Producer
Producers are concerned with every aspect of creating video games. Their duties span from sales and marketing to production and QA. Producers need several years of experience, so it’s best to get your foot in the door in another role and work your way up the ladder. The average salary for video game producers is $62,000 per year, and there are many who earn six figure incomes.
4.) Quality Assurance
There really is no educational requirement for video game quality assurance roles. The hours will be long, especially as your game nears its release date. QA professionals play games for hours on end, and often put in large amounts of overtime in order to diagnose issues and glitches that arise. They have an important job, because they make the game better for users, which in turn generates higher overall sales. The average salary for QA is only about $35,000 per year, but it will give you the chance to excel and ascend to a better role at a later date.
5.) Musician / Composer
For the artsy and musical types, there are plenty of creative musical and audio positions in the video game industry. The starting salary is great at around $55,000 per year. If you get some experience and perform at a high level, a six figure income could lie in your near future. Some video game musicians earn well over $100,000 per year for the bigger game titles. It’s important for overall user experience and aesthetics of the game.
Many people in the younger generation have past or current experience playing video games, so pursuing a career in this industry can be competitive since the interest is high. However, there are definitely ways to make yourself stand out, such as educational merit and high quality entry-level experience. There are plenty of entry-level jobs that do not require an education, but in order to take on a high level position at a large video game developer, you’re going to need to make your resume as strong as possible.