What does a Video Game Designer do? Where does a Video Game Designer work? ACR takes a look:
About Video Game Designers
Video game design is one of the most exciting and competitive careers in the world. For people with a passion for technology and interactive entertainment, video game design is a dream job, but even those with a slight interest in video games would jump at the opportunity to become a member of this fascinating industry.
Video game designers use a combination of technology, science, engineering, mathematics, design, art, and animation skills to create realistic action packed video games that rake in billions of dollars in sales around the world . In addition to the entertainment industry, video game designers create interactive games for the mobile technology industry, education, advertising and marketing, web design, and many businesses.
Schools to Consider:
Video Game Designer Jobs
Video game designers perform a number of tasks as a part of the design process. They design user interfaces, create storylines and characters, and role-play mechanics and gameplay prototypes. Video game designers collaborate with artists to fine tune the visual style for games. They map out missions, puzzles, and other challenges for players to face during game play.
While most video game designers work in gaming studios, some work at advertising and design firms, web design firms, multimedia companies, mobile technology firms, and software development firms. They may hold titles such as lead designer, game developer, game designer, interactive designer, lead mobile game designer, lead game developer, senior game designer, and many others.
Video Game Designer Salaries
Video game designers belong to the broader career group “Applications Software Developers.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for applications software developers is $90,060 per year. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $55,190 per year, and the top 10 percent earn more than $138,880 per year, says the Bureau. Several employment and salary websites report that video game designers (as a single career group) average between $70,000 and $90,000 per year.
While video game designers are among the highest paid professionals in the world of entertainment, individual salaries vary greatly depending on experience, education, area of expertise (video games, mobile technology, interactive games for education), company, benefits, industry, and geographic location. For example, the top five highest paying states for developers are California (average $112,180 per year), Washington ($111,380), Maryland ($110,160), Virginia ($103,680), and New York ($103,390).
Becoming a Video Game Designer
If you are interested in becoming a video game designer, there are several paths to take. A bachelor’s degree or higher in games and interactive entertainment, game design, game development, game design and development, game programming or computer science, software development, software engineering, computer systems, animation, or mathematics with an option or focus in games.
In addition to a degree in any of the fields listed above, employers require a minimum of two years’ experience for intermediate positions. For upper level positions, employers typically require an advanced degree, plus three to five years’ professional experience in the industry. For entry-level positions, a degree plus experience through an internship or other support position is acceptable.
Job Trends for Video Game Designers
Employment growth in the software development industry is projected to grow 22 percent overall for the 2012-2022 decade. This is much faster than average for all occupations. Even more promising is employment levels in some states are higher than others. Further, 10 metropolitan areas currently offer the highest employment levels of all metro areas across the U.S. The top five states with the highest employment levels for developers are California, Washington, Texas, New York, and Virginia. The top five metro areas for developers are Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA.; New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA., and Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the main reason for the rapid growth in the software development industry is a large increase in the demand for computer software. Mobile technology requires new applications as well. Further, consumers will continue to demand more realistic video games as studios continue to push the envelope. The result? The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and Economists Incorporated report that the game industry is growing four times faster than the U.S. economy and annual job growth increased more than 13 times the rate of the U.S. labor market between 2009 and 2012.
Awesome Game Fact: Did you know that games began to appear almost as soon as computers appeared? In the late 1960s, Spacewar! was created, partly as a way of experimenting with one of the earliest computers, the PDP-1, developed by Digital Electronic Corporation. -Gale Cengage Learning, Macmillan Reference