It's no secret that the major, blockbuster game developers are slimming down. More and more studios are popping up, and closing down thanks to big publishers taking most of the profit of the video games.
On the other hand you have the exploding "casual" game market thanks to all the mobile devices. Games like Angry Birds are hitting the market by the thousands every month. Rather than $60 bucks for a game that took years and millions of dollars to create, people are buying these games for less than $5 most of the time.
This is leading to two things:
1. The market for blockbuster games is narrowing.
(Yes I know the success of Call of Duty but it's a successful franchise. Most other games don't get nearly that much success and still cost as much to make.)
2. The market for casual games is exploding.
This begs the question:
What is the best career path for teens wanting to get into the gaming industry?
Teens could dream big and get hired on by major publishers and studios to work on the cool game titles like Call of Duty or God of War. But the reputation of working at places like that is pretty bad. From what I've heard, it's long hours, a lot of stress, and not enough money to make it worthwhile.
To actually be fulfilled in that kind of environment (if it's really like that) someone would have to be very passionate about what they were doing.
On the other hand, a teenager could virtually learn programming free from home using sites like Empower.me
, Khan Academy
, or Code Academy
, and create a game for Android or iOS systems from their bedroom. If any of their games are successful, they could literally be in the gaming industry before graduating high school.
Both options sound good to a gamer. But realistically, there are pros and cons to consider. Getting a career with a major publisher could be easier for a niche programmer, writer, or other occupation that wanted to be involved in games. While an "indie" casual game maker might have to have luck to get noticed. But the upsides for making your own games seem inviting as well. Especially if they went viral.
What would be the best career path for a teenager to consider? Getting involved in the growing casual game industry or go for the hardcore gaming career in console or pc gaming?