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Getting Into Games – the Other Side
As Cliff Harris pointed out on GAMESbrief previously, it is incredibly difficult to get into games as a developer. The reason for this is rather simple:
- A lot of people working in the games industry like games.
- Nearly everyone who likes games has their own idea about the perfect game.
- Ergo, a lot of industry workers secretly want to be a designer. And, unlike newcomers, they have the connections, the experience and the reputation to make their dream true – or at least are more likely to do that.
- Everyone wants to be a game designer, just like everyone wants to be an astronaut.
But creation and selling of games also has several less glamorous positions available. Every studio needs testers for quality assurance. Online titles require constant support from customer service representatives and gamemasters – the people who tell you why your Farmville Cow suddenly died, why your World of Warcraft epic gear disappeared, and what’s in the next patch. Larger companies have a dedicated department for marketing, public communications, or the creation of trailers and other graphics.
And it is incredibly easy to get into the games industry.
Where to start
A customer service representative only needs to speak two languages to qualify for a position: The corporate language (English in a non-cringeworthy way, usually) and the language of the company’s customers. For World of Warcraft, for example, this means you should know your way through Azeroth reasonably well.
Here in Europe alone, there is a massive need for customer service people who speak English, know games, and speak at least one other language fluently. Have these, and you very nearly have a guaranteed entry job in the gaming industry. Especially if you are willing to relocate with Europe – in London, Dublin, Cork, Hamburg and Paris are developers and publishers who are desperate looking for a large variety of entry level positions.
You may not make the jump to developing your own game. You will be underpaid and overworked. But if you really want to, anyone can make it into the gaming industry and start building their connections, and reputation.