So You Want a Job in the Game Industry…   Leave a comment

Earlier today, the news broke that an unspecified number of employees at Turbine were laid off. This after Zynga cut a number of jobs in multiple offices. This after Bioware doing massive layoffs starting in May. There are other studios that shut down entirely, such as Big Heap.  I swiftly pinged my two favorite Turbine employees to make sure they were safe (they are, whew), but my heart goes out to those suddenly in need of work. How much warning people are given is always a thing, especially in the middle of having to pay bills, etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes, when we players complain about the games we play, we sometimes forget that these game employees are real people like you or I. They have lives, they’ve got bills to pay, families to support.  Sure, their work gives us something fun to spend our time doing, but working in gaming seems to me (as someone who has had a job with the same company for nearly 10 years now, 8 of them in the same department) almost like being a military family. A number of the people affected by all of these layoffs have had to move to accept jobs in other cities (or countries!), and some still haven’t found new employment after months of searching.

These aren’t people who’re slacking off and thus unhireable. These are damned talented folks who would be an asset to any company.  It’s all down to money, and I get that, but anyone who thinks that folks in the gaming industry have it cushy haven’t had to deal with not being able to buy a house and settle down properly because they have to be able to relocate (at their own expense) in order to take a job in another city.  They don’t have to deal with the concern about layoffs due to the nature of the industry – they get to deal with that plus people somehow thinking that they don’t have it so bad because it’s games!

Sorry, they don’t sit around playing games all day.  Not even the ones whose jobs it might be to test the games before the public gets to break them. It’s srs bsns.

Like with many industries today, there are far more qualified candidates than there are jobs for them. One thing I found admirable is that as soon as a new round of layoffs gets announced, those already in the industry start doing posts saying ‘hey, we’re hiring over here!’ to try and get the newly-free potential employees something new. We don’t do that in my industry. There’s a definite community amongst gamers to some extent, particularly the community manager sorts. Witness the holy smackdown people put upon the internetz when trolls started mocking the recent Zynga layoffs. The only omission I have seen, and I’ll admit I haven’t looked too much into it, is that no one really makes any posts or announcements anytime Blizzard lays people off. I know it happens, because it happens to nearly every studio during the life cycle of their IPs after launch and whatnot, but Blizz is kinda treated like they’re not ‘one of us’.  Again, perhaps I’m simply missing the posts and wagon-circling. I’ll admit my bias is to the two studios that I have friends working at, but it seemed a curious omission.

At any rate. Not an unlimited number of jobs in the gaming industry, lots and lots of qualified people to fill those jobs.  I hope everyone lands on their feet.

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Posted October 25, 2012 by druidsfire in Uncategorized

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