If you’re one of the many souls who live and breathe video games, you’ve probably thought about how you could leverage that love into a career and make some money from video games. Maybe you’ve wanted to be a game tester, a streamer, a pro gamer, or even a designer.
But what if that’s not where your skill set lies? What if you have no idea (or desire) how to design a game, or even work on some of the more technical elements. The good news is, there could still be a place for you in the video games industry. Video games are big, complex endeavors, with numerous aspects of development, and even if you have no technical skills to speak of, chances are there’s still a place for you. This is especially true if you’ve chosen to pursue your communications degree, which — believe it or not — can open up a lot of opportunities for you.
1. Public Relations Manager
PR is one of the most communications-centered careers there is. A public relations manager’s job is to help keep a game company’s image and narrative in the popular consciousness and their name in the media. A PR manager’s job includes pitching stories and taking questions from the media, organizing press conferences, putting together press kits and press releases, and develop advertising and marketing material. It will also be your job to handle problems like negative publicity.
2. Game Community Manager
A game community manager’s job is to act as a bridge between a gaming company’s development team and the community of players devoted to that game. This can be especially important for successful ongoing franchises, which can accumulate a passionate (or even fanatical) following over time.
Having good communication skills and a close familiarity with the game(s) in question will be key. This is where having a communications degree can be a huge advantage, and can be an excellent career choice if you’ve enjoyed being an admin or moderator for an online gaming group and want to take the next step.
3. Content Manager
The gaming industry moves fast, and a content manager’s job is to make sure the game-related content out there remains fresh, informative, and relevant. A content manager will spend a lot of their time producing and publishing good content, whether it’s through blogs, video content, website copy, or other creative work. A good content manager should be artistic in their own right, as well as able to work with and coordinate teams of other content creators.
4. Gaming Journalist / Blogger
If going all the way to the role of content manager doesn’t sound appealing, there are other ways to make a career from writing about games. Video games are a huge and still-growing industry, and the need for articles, stories, and news about video games is unending. Whatever type of game or field of interest you want to talk about as a video game journalist or blogger, there’s a publication out there that needs what you have to offer. Strong communications skills are a big plus, since your primary work will involve conducting interviews and writing articles.
If you’re a video game enthusiasts who also happens to speak an extra language or two, this can be a great way to have a career in video games. Internationally distributed games will need translations for each country they’re shipped to, and with over 10,000 games a year released on Steam alone, that’s a lot of words that need translating. As a games translator, you could either work freelance, or try to find a position in-house with a gaming company — each approach has its advantages.
Writing for video games isn’t just limited to writing story and dialogue. There are plenty of other opportunities for writers who aren’t particularly fiction-inclined. For example, gaming companies need writers to handle things like:
- Instruction manuals
- Game and strategy guides guides
- Product descriptions and ad copy
- Promotional materials like blog posts, email campaigns, and social media content
- Articles with tips, tricks, and walkthroughs
- In-game text like dialogue, character bios, and even game menus.
All these elements require a skilled copywriter with strong communications skills to provide the clearest, most effective content possible to players.
If you’re a truly hardcore video game enthusiast and are looking to take your passion for the medium to the next level, you might consider the role of video game consultant. As a consultant, your job is to provide your expert advice to game companies for a fee. Your aim will be to help gaming companies understand and engage with their audience, develop games that cater to that audience, and provide feedback on things like narrative, UI, level design, and more.
Gaming companies want to make the best games possible — because that sells the most units and makes them the most profit. Consultants help companies make the decisions that let them meet that goal. Audiences get a better game, companies make more sales, and the consultant gets paid. Everyone wins.