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Want to break into the games industry? Just do it!

By on August 17, 2011
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Last week, I was asked to give a talk on how to break into the video games industry as part of the public sessions at the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival.

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I nearly declined. I’ve never worked in recruitment for a major publisher or developer. Hell, I’ve never been employed directly by a major publisher/developer (except as a consultant).

Then I realised that was the point. I’ve worked with lots of studios. I’ve written a book called How to Publish a Game on doing it for yourself. I’ve spoken to lots of people in the games industry about how they go about recruitment.)

In short, I was an observer, looking in, and helping people who want to get into the industry have a shot. So I gave the audience just one piece of advice:

Go. Make Games.

I asked a developer who is aggressively recruiting about their advice. He said:

When we recruit, we have three piles for CVs:

  • Not a chance
  • Interesting
  • People who have a link to a game

So, if you want to make games for a living, start making them for fun now. Just as you would be foolish to become a writer unless you really, truly wanted to write, the same is true for games. Make games because you have no other choice.

And if you really want to break into games, read my presentation on how to do it.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • They definitely take more notice. If you are entry-level, i think that a finished game says more than a finished degree (although there is no harm in having both).

    The clearest feedback I got was that people who made games were much more interesting than people who claimed to be interested in making games.

    So good luck looking for the job.

  • MH

    Great article: I wrote this on gamasutra, so I apologize if this seems redundant. My question is: How do recruiters view entry level (no industry experience) who have finished games? Do they take more noticed if you have something on a portal or app store? Thanks for the insightful post. 

  • Allen Cohn

    There are a whole lot of vital roles in the games industry that aren’t actually making the games. How do people break into those roles?