How to Get Into the Video Game Industry

An illustration of a man seating in a couch holding a video game controller or electronic device.

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How to get into the video game industry looks different for everyone. Especially with the countless opportunities from just having an internet connection, you could invent the newest way to dive deep into gaming. 

What are the most tried-and-true methods in recent history that have helped many get into professional video games? It depends on what you want your role to be, whether an e-sports pro, an artist or a game developer. These are ways to get connected and grab experience along the way.

Get Involved Online

Online spaces are more vibrant than some in-person communities. Some budding game developers started by posting in online forums, while others started at Twitch mods for streamers who have connections with the gaming industry through sponsorships. The variety of online avenues anyone can take is as expansive as your willingness to discover communities in a search engine.

Micro-communities exist on TikTok, Discord servers, and the most esoteric message boards. Talk about what you’re working on with others — you never know when someone on the message board is looking to hire for their company. Become a community leader for game industry-related discussions and events within a Discord with participants worldwide. 

person working on his computer with video games

Build a Game

Do you know a programming language like C++ or JavaScript? Have access to a game engine like Unity or Unreal Engine? You may have RPG Maker in your Steam library. These are signs to start your first video game. Whether or not you finish it is entirely up to you, but it is excellent interview material when you inevitably land a spot at a video game company. You will have first-hand insight into the creative process alongside practical hang-ups and how to overcome them.

Try modding if you don’t want to dive deep into building a game from scratch. There are strong modding communities for countless games in all genres and all art styles for you to experiment with. You don’t even have to publish your mods — though we recommend it — to get a taste of how to manipulate code.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could do a game jam. They are perfect environments for those who love the insanity of speedruns or amping video games to the hardest difficulty for achievement hunting. Game jams are competitions to make a game within a specific time limit within a theme. Even if you don’t win, you will be inspired by the creative juices flowing around you.

Start a Blog or Video Series

It is one of the oldest tips in the book, but if you create online content and work on optimizing it for viewership, someone in the industry may come across you and offer you a job. You can do anything from writing video game reviews, doing art analyses, posting Let’s Plays, doing tier rankings or any other form of content. New formats and ideas arise daily, especially with the proliferation of TikTok trends and memes. If you stay on top of what people are talking about, that’s half of the SEO battle.

video game controller

Sneak Your Way In

OK, don’t literally break into a video game developer’s office, but you can sneak into the thick of the industry by getting a job slightly outside of the inner circle. For example, you could become customer service for a producer, or you may be the personal assistant to a high-ranking developer. Have you ever thought of getting an internship at a gaming company, even though the job description is mostly filing and making coffee? At least you’re on the inside. You can only go up from there.

An alternative path is to become a video game tester. These are slightly competitive, and an online presence may help your chances. However, if you prove you have valuable feedback about a game’s development, superiors may see your skills as helpful in more integral parts of the video game industry. 

Attend Conventions and Conferences

These are the gathering places of the industry’s most influential minds. It might be a competitive e-sports event or a developer’s conference. Regardless of the content, these events bring hundreds of thousands of hobbyists and professionals worldwide to discuss what’s next in the video game industry. It’s the perfect time to network and get insider knowledge. 

You don’t have to immediately try and connect with the heads of Sony or Nintendo, though props to you if you somehow land that opportunity. Instead, see value in every corner, even with up-and-coming indie developers. How did they get started? What anecdotes and life advice can you pull from event organizers or industry volunteers? 

It’s time to exchange social handles and be unafraid to express your dreams about finally getting into the sector. These events are the highest concentration of like-minded people in your search for professional gaming, so take advantage of them.

Never Stop Playing

In the video game industry, in-house experience is terrific. But, a passionate, life-long dedication to playing various games you care about is equally relevant experience. The industry wants to hire people who know what makes a good game, and much like great writers must be great readers, people in the gaming industry dedicate themselves to analyzing and playing quality games.

You don’t have to play every popular game under the sun, though knowing industry meta may be helpful in your quest for how to get into the video game industry. You may even find a niche you love, such as 3D puzzle platforming adventures or grand real-time strategies. 

Maybe you’re passionate about making 64-bit graphics relevant again, even though it’s 2023, because your favorite games are in this art style. Have you played every visual novel only to find it is time for innovation? These revelations only come in time, and by “time,” we mean logged hours in these fantastic universes.

person with headphones playing a video game

How to Get Into the Video Game Industry

Dedicating gamers and advocates for the hobby sometimes get a bad rep. Articles are all over the place about why you should stop playing games or how they have a negative impact. It’s time to prove with your dedication to the video game industry why they bring positivity, art, and joy to players worldwide. 

Want to know how to get into the gaming industry? Stay determined and find what avenue works best for you as you constantly send out those applications and emails. Something is bound to happen soon.

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