When Jamie Sefton head of Game Republic was a lad his dad told him he would never get anywhere playing games. Those days of parents saying such ludicrous things are long gone we hope. If not, they should be. So if you are having to convince yourself or anyone that working in games is a good career choice then read on…and check out Game Republic educational partners providing games courses to get you started too.
The UK Consumer Games Market Valuation showed the game consumer market in 2022 was £7.05bn. Globally it’s estimated at over 200 billion. But if there are those that still don’t quite understand the value of the games industry, there are many reasons beyond the pure economics of working in the games industry that make it a good place to work. We asked leading lights in the games industry to tell us why they thought working in the games industry was good…
Ever since I started in games, I have been overwhelmed by how open, welcoming and friendly people are. It is packed full of kind, talented people who have a genuine love for the work they do.
Nina Cliff Sumo Digital
The games industry is a friendly place
Seen as you spend most of your lives in work, it is a good thing to get on with the people you work with. It’s something Simon Iwaniszak of Red Kite Games talked about in the Northern Lights panel at Develop in Brighton. Luckily it seems that the games industry has friendlier people than most other sectors, and we say that without one iota of bias. Nina Cliff, head of business development for Sumo Group says that her reasons for working in games is very much about friendliness, explaining “it’s the people who make it for me. Ever since I started in games, I have been overwhelmed by how open, welcoming and friendly people are. It is packed full of kind, talented people who have a genuine love for the work they do. I have made so many amazing friends throughout my time in games, and that makes it an industry that I can’t ever imagine leaving. It’s still a relatively young industry which is always learning and growing, and that’s really exciting to be a part of. We’re so lucky to get to do something we love for work every day and I think it really shows.” For Nick Keynes Co-founder of Tileyard North he thinks it a very sociable industry adding “The other day I met a gamer who said that for him social media was really anti-social, it’s very individualistic, there is lots of ranting and seems to be designed to rile you rather than reward you. But gaming, that is proper social media. It is collaborative and engages so many people and pulls like-minded people together in a really positive way. That felt like such a brilliant way to describe the industry. The games companies we work with are growing at a fast rate and engaging with audiences, it is great to see it and be part of that growth.”
Games are a creative and dynamic space
Every hour and every day a new game launches, and a new bit of code or tech is released. It makes it a very dynamic and creative space, which thrives on change which makes it according to Elaine Dowman at Barclays “Elaine Dowman “such a creative and innovative industry”. That part is what makes it so attractive to Simon Barratt of Cooperative Innovations “The industry is in a state of perpetual evolution with both hardware and software techniques consistently advancing. This constant innovation provides a never-ending source of novel approaches and perspectives. Even after almost 25 years in the industry, I still find myself learning from new research papers, dissecting mechanics, and rendering techniques from other games. It’s a field that never ceases to inspire and stimulate the mind.” It is perhaps the combination of creativity and friendliness in the form of collaboration that is also attractive according to Noirin Carmody at Revolution Software “It is such a creative and dynamic space. Everybody is so friendly and we all help each other. Whilst in some ways we are all competing for players, we have our own unique ways of achieving what we need, which makes it far more collaborative. We share our struggles and can see we are all not perfect, so we all help each other.” Part of the attraction for Andrew Crawshaw at Thunkd is the constant challenges to be overcome. He explains “It’s the continuous challenge. As I work alone, I have to fix the bugs, meet the challenges to get to what I want to achieve either for my own games or for client work. Developing games is like playing games, you are constantly learning and improving – levelling up.” The challenge is what drives motivation for Stephen Hey at Radical Forge who enthuses about its constant evolution “It continually changes, reinvents, and evolves, this is a challenge, but also, as an industry, it means you can never stand still. Experience is necessary but not essential, and as tools like Unreal Editor for Fortnite become available, it enables even more people to create games, and it becomes even more exciting.” For some it is the process, the ability to be agile that is a big part of the industry benefits and the way it also combines with other disciplines. That’s very much the case for John Rose-Adams of XR Stories who explains “I love the process, the agile way of working that the games industry has developed. I am seeing that agile practice working more in other sectors and we are helping different sectors adopt these practices, from theatre practitioners to TV companies. Games engines are increasingly interesting for other sectors so there is incredible work and knowledge that can be used across multiple sectors because of games.”
Multiple sectors working together outside and within companies has proven to be a big benefit for many of our interviewees and very much part of the draw for pursuing a career in games.
“The games industry is one of the few, if not the only, place(s) where art and science collide so completely that anyone of any ability in either field can contribute and make a difference.”
Adam Clewes-Boyne BetaJester
Games bring different disciplines together
Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director of the National Science and Media Museum sees Yorkshire as a hub for game development and that it is one of the most vibrant and creative industries in the world. But she is most impressed by how the industry crossed into so many other disciplines. Jo explains “Video games are one of the most playful and vibrant forms of media and sit at the cross section of science and society. Video games have infiltrated our lives and our homes and whether you’re a gamer or not, video games are shaping our lives and the world around us. Video games are far more than just entertainment – the associated technologies are used across industries including construction, healthcare, engineering, the list goes on and on. So for us, video games are a great way to connect with people who might not think science is for them.
Adam Clewes-Boyne of BetaJester Ltd who also runs Playing Attention (@ADHDinGames) thinks the combination of disciplines is what makes working in games so exciting “The games industry is one of the few, if not the only, place(s) where art and science collide so completely that anyone of any ability in either field can contribute and make a difference. Only in a game would you find a programmer pulling together code and systems and artists painting beautiful images coming together to create an emotional and meaningful experience that could resonate with people all over the world.” Simon Barratt of Cooperative Innovations feels similarly enthused about working across boundaries “The gaming industry represents the pinnacle of multidisciplinary fusion, encompassing a vast array of skills and disciplines. This means there’s always an engaging problem to solve, an opportunity to innovate, and a pathway to surpass the existing norms. My personal drive to push boundaries, regardless of the project, finds a home here.”
Kimberley Turner DoubleEleven believes that it is the learning combined with passion that makes games so exciting. “The passion that people in the game industry have is just incredible. They chose to embrace a career in games to offer other players great experiences and they’re always looking at ways to grow and innovate, learning new things in and out of work. It’s a fast-paced environment, and supporting technologies and trends evolve fast. It’s never boring!” Co-CEO of the National Videogames Museum John O’Shea believes the industry’s relative youthfulness is a key part of its growth “Videogames have only been around for 50 years or so – they are a relatively new cultural phenomenon – and therefore nothing is completely set in stone: There are always opportunities for innovation, improvement and thinking differently… I’m always astonished at the creative and cross-disciplinary aspects of games-making – how the music, design, coding & narrative etc all combine to be more than the sum of the parts – especially within the independent and smaller-scale parts of the sector.”
Dr Jake Habgood of Sumo Digital loves that games brings together so many different perspectives “I’ve always enjoyed being part the eclectic community that make up our industry. There’s something magic about the interaction between creative people of different backgrounds and perspectives that is exciting to be part of.” Of course all of this mixing and blending of disciplines and meeting creative people means that according to Jo Quinton-Tulloch that “working with the games industry is just fun! People are so passionate about what they do, and are always generous with their time.”
Put simply, games are fun! Playing them is fun and making them is fun. Getting to make games that provide millions of people with entertainment is a worthwhile endeavour. At Red Kite we get to be creative and play with cutting edge technology each and every day. Also, the people, in our industry are just the best, you can make lifelong friends, doing something you love. Simon Iwaniszak Red Kite Games
Working in games is cool (and fun)
There are not many sectors where leading industry figures would describe their work as fun or cool. Not the case for the games industry. When describing her attraction to the games industry Nina Cliff, Business development director for Sumo Group explains her reasoning for joining the sector “I mean, first of all, games are cool! That novelty never wears off for me. The games industry is exactly how you’d expect it to be. It’s often compared to film and TV, but I think it’s so unique given the interactive nature of games and how we can push boundaries and change expectations in so many ways.” Similarly Simon Iwaniszak of Red Kite Games sees the industry as fun “Put simply, games are fun! Playing them is fun and making them is fun. Getting to make games that provide millions of people with entertainment is a worthwhile endeavour. At Red Kite we get to be creative and play with cutting edge technology each and every day. Also, the people, in our industry are just the best, you can make lifelong friends, doing something you love.” In a recent panel at Develop:Brighton Bobby Thandi of XR Games enthused about his early gaming experiences as a child driving his passion. In an interview he shared “When I think about games, I remember moments of joy – whether playing a single player game or sharing the experience with a friend. One of my fondest memories as a kid was playing Bubble Bobble 2 with my childhood friend Steve – we had an absolute blast! Every element of it was meticulously crafted – from the narrative to the mechanics, visuals to the audio – with the aim of engaging the player on every level. The game itself was only half the fun for me – playing cooperatively with my friend, sharing the joy of winning, or throwing a playful punch in the ribs if they messed up felt like something special. … For me, working in the games industry is creating art to inspire joy in others.”
It might be the friendliness, the meeting of different perspectives or the general fun of being in the sector that drives it growth, but the games industry is also seen as an increasingly welcoming and inclusive space.
Other industries may profess to have this, but the games industry has a community that supports and advocates. John Sanderson PitStop Productions
The games industry is a welcoming and inclusive space
Adam Clewes-Boyne who runs BetaJester Ltd and Playing Attention (@ADHDinGames) believes the industry is very welcoming “The games industry supports all of these diverse and wide-ranging careers, making the industry a very accommodating and supportive environment with all the opportunities afforded in industries of comparable commercial size!” Stephen Hey of Radical Forge sees that whilst not there yet, the games industry is becoming more inclusive “I love the industry and the games it makes now, even more than I did 30 years ago when I started in it. And, although we have a way to go, it is a more inclusive, accessible and accepting place to be.” PitStop Productions CEO John Sanderson also believes that the industry is heading in the right direction and further than most other sectors “Other industries may profess to have this, but the games industry has a community that supports and advocates. It has a whole foundation, a network. I think it is because it is a relatively new industry, most of the time we are still learning and are open to new ideas. We need more diversity in the industry but we recognise this. The industry is open to a whole variety of ideas and issues and is not afraid to tackle them head on.”
Elaine Dowman of Barclays feels that the industry is very open “there is always something new and exciting happening or launching. The people are what really make an industry, and not only do we have exceptional talent but broadly speaking, I feel the industry is very supportive of one another.” For Laura Harper of Lewis Silkin agrees “It is a really inclusive, helpful, supportive industry that extends regionally, nationally and globally.” It is the global nature of the industry that has impressed Kimberley Turner at Double Eleven “People have come from everywhere to work at Double Eleven on the games they love. We have over 30 different nationalities represented in our studios in the UK and Malaysia. Some of our colleagues have come from very different industries. They bring an interesting perspective and knowledge to the table.” For Rosie Taylor at Safe in our World, the connecting factor for the games industry is its common interest adding “it’s an industry full of enthusiasm and passion for games.”
So if ever there was any doubts, cast them out. Working in games can take you to many places indeed. More importantly you can be included in a welcoming community of people that work on anything from art to programming, from finances to business development, from AI to VR. It also brings together people working in different sectors too. So if you are considering what to do next whether it is your first job or you are in a different career, have a look at games – it’s growing, it’s friendly, it’s fast and it’s fun and we have some fantastic educational partners who can help get you the skills you need too.
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