About Me I work in Redmond, WA, right outside of Seattle. Redmond is the home of Microsoft and is just a couple miles from Kirkland, where Google is.
I work at a new startup called Empower.me. We focus on keeping kids in school, doing really well in school, and preparing them for their lives.
We accomplish this by finding what they love to do and allowing them to learn through what they love. Everyone loves different things and is talented in unique ways. Why make everyone learn the same way?
We change that! We empower teenagers through their passions.
As Steve Jobs said, "The only way to do good work is to love the thing you do."
When it comes to gaming, my age starts to show. I was on the cutting edge back when Half Life came out. I loved that game. My friends used to network computers on a "hub" (long before they were called a switch) because our dial-up internet was too slow. Now, I'm older and slower, and so is my gaming.
Games I Play(ed)
Almost all Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis games.
Air Warrior Classic (AOL/Gamestorm)
Air Warrior 3 (Kesmai/Gamestorm)
Half Life / Day of Defeat (still play)
Half Life / Counterstrike
Half-Life / Team Fortress
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?