Thursday, September 15, 2011

XNA and Breaking into the Games Industry

The video games industry is a multi-billion dollar business. A recent analyst report suggests that the worldwide market for video games will exceed $60 billion in 2011. The report also expects the video games industry to generate more than $80 billion in 2014.

The video games industry is dynamic, innovative and exciting. Consequently, game development itself has diversified: capitalizing on digital distribution, mobile devices, new free-to-play business models, cloud gaming, next-generation game consoles and social networking sites.

Expected growth in the video games industry creates demand for talent, particularly as video games become more complex and require larger development teams. So, this all sounds great, therefore...

How do you break into the games industry?

One common theme to help break into the games industry is simple: Just do it. Go. Make Games.
Quote: if you want to make games for a living, start making them for fun now.

Making your own game shows initiative. It showcases your talent and demonstrates commitment:
That you can produce a complete game! This is where technologies like XNA can help.

XNA is an exciting technology that allows independent game code to be developed and deployed to the Windows PC, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360. The App Hub provides tools, information and assistance
to help create games for these devices.

Completing your own game is a rewarding achievement. Plus you create opportunities to blog about your experience and take advantage of social networking sites to: promote your work, share information and build reputation as a bone fide game developer.

In my experience, the transition from independent to professional is difficult, but not impossible.
Here are some further recommendations on how to break into the games industry:

Learn C++:
Play video games:
Focus on skillset:
Subscribe to job sites:
Follow the industry:
Join associations:
Prepare to relocate:
Recommended reading:
C++ is currently the dominant language for game development.
Play tons of games and really get to know the hardware / software.
Target your core strengths and search for jobs with the best fit.
Receive daily emails to guage trends in games skillset requirements.
Keep up-to-date with industry events and read online magazines.
E.g. IDGA / TIGA. Attend conferences and network with professionals.
Consider moving closer to games studios / games related companies.
Game Engine Architecture, Game Programming Gems, Effective C++, Game Scripting Mastery, 3D Math for Graphics / Game Development.

In conclusion, the video games industry seems poised for a bright future. New education policy, company grants and improved Research & Development tax breaks are significant for continued industry growth.

Therefore, if breaking into the games industry appeals to you then just do it. Go. Make Games.
And, of course, the best of luck to you J