Newcastle College provide insight into the creative roles that are helping the gaming industry to grow, and the career opportunities that potential students may not have known existed
In 2016, the global video game market was valued at £113 billion. Today, that estimate stands at £126 billion and by 2027, the industry is expected to have a revenue forecast of £219 billion. That expected almost doubled growth in a decade means that the sector is one of the fastest-growing in the world. With an increasing demand for jobs, should gaming careers be a focus for creative students?
One educational provider of gaming courses, Newcastle College, reports that they are seeing an increased enrolment to creative courses with a focus on gaming. According to the college, enrolment in gaming courses for further education increased by 40% between 2019 and 2020. Similarly, for higher education, there was an increase of 17.5 per cent of enrolments for students studying gaming at a degree level.
Scott Bullock, Principal at Newcastle College, said: “Here in the North East, we are home to a rapidly growing gaming cluster that has evolved over the past five years.
“Newcastle College responded to this emerging sector and worked with leading digital employers and a Digital Advisory Board to develop a number of games design and games development courses – all of which offer our students the right technical skills and experience to succeed in this fast-paced and competitive industry.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of students enrolling onto those courses at both Level 3 and degree level in the past few years, and the recent news that games developers are amongst the UK’s top employers is evidence that the courses we offer lead to real employment opportunities for our learners and continue to align well to the skills needs of our region.”
The gaming sector is one of the most exciting working environments. Anyone can kickstart their career in this growing industry. Here, we look at the creative roles which are helping gaming to grow, and how they are universally useful.
While at first glance, this career may seem perfect for any gaming fan, the skills required to fulfil this role mean that workers need a keen eye for detail. Gameplay testers work on quality assurance. They must ensure that not only are visual details of games are up to standard, but that the instructions for the game can be followed and that any audio or documents are viable and clear.
An understanding of programming is also key, as gameplay testers must recognise bugs and glitches and be able to report them. You may have to play the same level of a game multiple times. But these workers enjoy their job not for the games, but for the problems and puzzles they solve. This job is essential to ensure that games are ready for the wider public to play.
Quality assurance reporting is a universal skill, with many more industries looking to ensure their products and services meet the highest of standards.
This role needs a real creative spirit. From creating storylines, characters, and new worlds to explore, a game designer takes the first step on any good game. Of course, unique ideas are harder to curate than you may think.
Game designers must understand the ambitions and limitations of developers, while also formatting a cohesive piece of work with solid story structures. The interactivity between game characters and the player also means that stories must be more immersive and reflect real-life experiences in more depth than in movies or books.
Immersive design is quickly moving into the mainstream. With the rise of digital, companies outside of the gaming industry are exploring how their products will work in the future of augmented reality. Game designers may have a role in immersive map design, which blends into the real world. Even refrigerators may utilise this creative technology, displaying what is in your fridge on a screen or your phone. There are limitless potentials.
Animators have the important job of visualising a story. Character movements, settings, and all interactivity must be designed and animated. From small nuanced movements to earth-shattering scenes, animators must carry an in-depth understanding of the natural world and human behaviour.
Specialist software can be used to determine the effect of physics on objects. Newly developed character interaction is moving closer into the uncanny valley. Ultimately, animators bring life to a game.
Of course, animators are not limited to the gaming industry. Roles can be found in a multiplicity of sectors, including filmmaking, app creation, and digital marketing.
Games are moving up in the creative world. Their 8-bit origins have transformed into masterpieces of art which are often held in competition with movie visuals and the likes. The job of an artist is various, from creating detailed material texture to digitising vast landscape concepts.
While an eye for detail is essential, many games develop their own individual style. The artist is responsible for curating this style which will shape how the game feels. Whether abstract or realistic, there’s a role for every kind of artist in the gaming industry.
The Global Art Market Report shows that new artists are joining a growing sector. Between 2008 and 2018, the art sector grew by 9%. The UK also holds a 21 per cent share of this market. Digital art is expected to have further growth, meaning that artists in the gaming industry now hold a lucrative position.
The gaming sector is quickly being recognised as one of the fastest-growing in the global market, with creative roles in demand to sustain its expansion. Of course, roles in the gaming industry are not limited to gaming. Artists, animators, and assurance officers can be found in a broad range of creative businesses. Studying for these roles may gain you the perfect position in this growing industry, or as a lucrative asset to another business.