I’ve never been a gamer.
In fact, in my younger years at Uni and shared housing, I would actively avoid the FIFA tournaments or Call of Duty all-nighters. Drinking-based Mario Kart competitions were also a favourite of the time, yes, I am that old.
Now it’s not that I wasn’t interested in drinking-game related forfeits or pulling all-nighters with my mates – quite the opposite – I just wasn’t any good at any of the games.
From playing those FIFA-ers who pass, pass, pass you to death – we all know the ones – to those who had a god-like handle on the N64 controller, I simply hated losing.
And I think most salespeople will agree that, as those who hate not being in control, partaking in something which you’re no good at (and don’t enjoy!) isn’t much fun.
However, whatever my opinion of playing games, I can’t argue with the number of opportunities for technologists in the industry right now.
Games businesses of all shapes and sizes are busy, and actively hiring, and in the current climate that’s rare.
We’re seeing several industries consolidate when it comes to hiring, replacements and niche hires rather than growth, but the games industry couldn’t be more different.
From mobile gaming, peer-to-peer titles, and big budget AAA games, seems to me the industry is booming.
What about the crunches, I hear you say? Or the pithy salaries?
Well yes, back in the day, both of those were true. And in some instances, cash is still a challenge today, but speaking generally things have changed.
I spent a large part of my early recruitment career trying to extricate engineers from the industry, offering the bright lights and riches of finance in return. And to be honest it generally worked.
Far better money, a little more ‘organised’ or ‘sensible’ environments, and similarly challenging work.
However, these days we’re seeing just as many people looking to go in the opposite direction.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happy to take sizeable pay cuts, but the industry has caught up when it comes to cash, and the work is just as cool, often cooler.
The Covid pandemic is thankfully far behind us, but people being able to communicate, interact, and compete remotely, and within a game setting, is here to stay.
Again – not a gamer – but from what I can see peer-to-peer and interactive multi-player games are all the rage and the tech challenge behind them is vast.
Concurrent users, latency, performance, scalability, up-time, resilience, all – in my experience – technical challenges engineers love.
From a quick Google, Fortnite has a peak of c15 million players per day, Roblox c66 million, and Call of Duty c30 million.
Of course, they are some of the bigger names, but we’re working with several smaller studios that are seeing serious growth.
And back to that tech challenge, that can only mean one thing, they need more technologists.
Engineering-wise that’s often in the C++, C#, and Unity worlds, sometimes combining all three.
But we’re also seeing serious hiring in Art, UX/UI, and Design teams, and as studios build upon existing and create new titles.
Crunches seem a thing of the past, and for the chance to work on something you’re genuinely passionate about, money isn’t everything.
What we’re also seeing – and this is a real shift in my experience – is the flexibility of hiring studios in the space.
Back in the day if you wanted to work in Games then you *must* be up all night building your own title, spend your weekends at games hackathons with fellow enthusiasts, and wear a – insert favourite title – t-shirt to every interview.
Oh, and you needed multiple years of experience building AAA games to even get an interview.
These days, however, that’s not the case.
Yes, the passion for the industry is still a must-have, but what you’ve been working on in your career to date is a little more open.
Whether that’s simulation software, graphics and image processing, or even real-time financial systems, if you can exhibit a passion for all things games and be close enough when it comes to tech skills, clients will speak to you.
And that was absolutely not the case when I was on the tools.
So, if the above sounds like you – yes you may need to get that passion into the CV – but it’s worth looking again at the games industry, you may be surprised at what you find.