The game development industry outlook in 2023 shows it’s a large and fast-growing part of the entertainment industry. Online and digital access make gamers out of many, with games easily accessible on phones and many other devices. The numbers are truly astonishing.
Truelist reports Statista’s information that PC gaming alone is set to pull in over $45 billion by 2025. It is also noted that 41% of gamers in the US prefer a console while 37% prefer a PC. Almost three quarters of U.S. parents regularly play video games with their kids, up from 55 percent in 2020. Numbers like those mean a promising 2023 gaming industry outlook for employers and candidates alike.
Gaming Industry Trends
Metaverse, cloud gaming, block chain and P2E, indie games, remakes and reboots, films based on games are some of the most prominent gaming industry trends going into 2023 according to Kevuru Games. Those who want careers in the gaming industry will have a wide range of jobs to choose from, including gameplay producers, software engineers, technical designers, and more!
Indie games excite players and small developers alike with new gaming challenges and profits. Remakes and reboots are wildly fun and profitable, giving players refreshes of their favorite old school games. Recently, crossovers between the video game world and popular films have opened up many new possibilities in the industry. Fans can now see their favorite movie characters appear in their favorite video games, and vice-versa.
Roles in the Gaming Industry
With so much going on in gaming, there are many and varied roles in the gaming industry. Becoming a video game developer, video game designer, or starting video tester careers are just a few of the avenues one can take for a game developer career path. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) discusses gaming industry careers in its guide Work for play: careers in video game development.
BLS describes many programming roles for gaming, including graphics programmer, network programmer, artificial intelligence programmer, and user interface programmer. Artists have many roles in gaming, such as concept artist, modeler, animator, and motion capture artist. Other roles in gaming are audio workers, quality assurance testers, and producers.
The Metaverse brings virtual reality to entertainment and business with grand expansion plans. Cloud gaming is enabling gaming without bulky and expensive equipment. Block chain and P2E incentivize avid gamers even more with the possibilities of earnings with game play.
Qualifications required to work in the gaming industry vary widely by position. College degrees and certifications in game design, game development, programming, computer art, and technical training in specialized areas like audio and computerized music are all needed in the gaming industry. BLS explains that working in teams is a common requirement in gaming industry roles.
Training or certification in computer science, programming, web design, and technical skills are normally needed. Serious industry knowledge is required for game designers with big responsibilities like core elements, characters and themes, gameplay quality, and leading development teams. They need knowledge of system hardware capabilities, developer roles, budgeting, and software technologies.
The video game developer salary guide by GameDesigning.org quotes Glassdoor’s 2022 national average salary of $61,292 for junior video game designers and $70,750 for game designers. Video game developers 2022 national average salary range is $52,000 to $127,000, and junior game developers average $71,724. Video game artists 2022 national average salary is $67,628, with the highest salary average at $92,000. Level designer/editor salary is very similar.
Graphic designer salaries vary widely by geographic area, from $38,841 starting salary in North Carolina to $52,960 in New York. Top salaries for industry veteran graphic designers can top $110,000. Junior graphic designer salaries start at $50,722.
Gaming Industry Employer Challenges
According to Statista, mobile gaming has become the driving force behind the explosive growth of the global video gaming market. In fact, smartphone games made up 45% of video gaming revenue. Due to the rapid growth of the mobile gaming market, more gaming companies are shifting their focus to console and PC where there is less saturation and competition and can have stronger opportunities for revenue growth.
Game development employers need a range of talent to fuel the rapidly expanding and lucrative industry. Design, computer engineering, art and animation, and more. But Noah Rigsby of Activision Blizzard, writing for GamingTrend.com, describes talent shortages in the gaming industry. Rigsby quotes 30,000 to 50,000 game engineering openings globally that are much more than the number of qualified applicants.
Rigsby explains that the gaming industry’s legacy recruiting practices are part of the problem. Many gaming job descriptions require certain skills that are just not used widely in the roles and are keeping many qualified applicants out of the running. For example, engineers don’t use graphics skills that are listed as required. It’s the same for artificial intelligence and machine learning skills.
Gaming industry employers facing thin talent pools and skills gaps may want to copy Activision Blizzard. Their Level Up U training program offers part-time and four-year degrees or self-taught. It has helped them reskill existing teammates and improve hiring women and underrepresented ethnic groups while growing headcount by 25 percent.
It’s clear there’s plenty of room for gaming professionals of all stripes in 2023’s growing and profitable world-wide industry. The key to gaming industry hiring and job search success points to preparation, in both career and workforce development.