When you were just a kid addicted to your Playstation or PC games, it probably never crossed your mind that gaming would one day be something out of which you could realistically make a living. Afterall, if you knew about the vast number of job opportunities the industry would some day offer, you might have been able to convince your parents not to chastise you for the many hours spent on your favourite console.
Assuming you probably don’t have what it takes to become a pro gamer and enter esport tournaments to win million dollar prizes – here are the next best career fields for a fun and lucrative role in the gaming industry. From virtual reality engineer to mobile app developer – what in-demand role might you be able to study for?
Virtual Reality Engineer
The world of VR has opened up a whole new gaming experience and, with it, a whole bunch of jobs aimed at making those experiences as immersive and entertaining as possible. Creating a VR game is, as you might imagine, quite complex. Many different elements have to come together, with each aspect often requiring a different type of specialist. Then of course, there’s the actual game concepts and storylines that need to be optimized for the VR experience. Whether you’re interested in the technology behind VR games or want to help make the experience more realistic with creative art or modelling – there are so many ways to get involved in the new and exciting field of virtual reality gaming.
Artificial Intelligence Expert
From unpredictable yet realistic NPC (non-player characters) to procedural generation, many of the components that make modern video games so great can be attributed to the incorporation of artificial intelligence. Of course, A.I. is an incredibly broad term which includes everything from the type of machine learning you’d see in Black and White, to the choice-driven storylines in games like Until Dawn. Also known as cognitive computing, artificial intelligence is a complex field where technology is advancing at an incredible rate. If you’ve got what it takes to make it in the field of A.I., you can rest assured the salary will be worth the many years of study required.
Mobile gaming is practically taking over the world in unprecedented levels. Children and grandparents alike are spending hours tending to virtual farms or collecting digital jewels in their spare time, on the bus home, or in line at the store. When they’re not gaming, they’re using some other type of app on their device. We have an app for everything – making a grocery list, recording our diet, reading up on celebrity gossip or finding out when the next bus will arrive. Thinking of an original app idea could be the most lucrative thing you ever do. If you’re not the creative type, then you can still earn big bucks by working for app developers. Companies like Zynga and Appster make billions of dollars in revenue each year – and they’re always hiring.
With big states like California and New York in talks of reintroducing legalized poker, the igaming industry is eagerly awaiting the day it can swing back into the US with full force. Though unlikely to ever be worth as much as it was in its heydays, online poker is still a multi-billion dollar industry that has seen great growth in recent years. With VR technology, mobile apps and widespread global legalization all contributing toward its increased popularity – now is a good time to get involved in online poker. One doesn’t have to be directly involved in online poker game production, however. Online poker affiliate marketing can be very profitable – though a competitive field. Alternatively, most of the biggest online poker sites are always looking to recruit marketers, customer support, content writers, front end developers, salespeople and graphic designers for their various offices around the world.
It’s impossible for anyone even remotely interested in gaming to have missed the global phenomenon that is esports. In just ten years, competitive gaming has become a multi-billion dollar industry with tournaments that boast prize pools of over $20 million dollars. How did this come about? A variety of factors allowed for esports to become the next big thing, ranging from Twitch’s transformation of gaming into a spectator’s sport, to big gaming studios like Valve pouring money into hosting and promoting tournaments. Whatever the reason for esports’ huge success, the fact is that the industry is hot and looking to recruit people in the field. Events organizers, bookmakers, marketing and sales – professionals in each division are needed to ensure esports gets maximum exposure and makes maximum profit.
It’s a good time to be an avid gamer – and an even better time to be someone with skills suitable in the industry. In an ever globalising world, video games are only looking to become better and reach more people at a rapid rate. With the right education and ambition, you can be part of that movement!