The odds of finding a games job are far better now than they were at the start of the year.
According to an analysis of Dice job postings, employers posting games-related jobs on Dice held back adding new bodies during the first two months of the year. Outside of Dice, that was illustrated by actions at companies like Blizzard Entertainment, which in February cut 600 employees from its worldwide payroll, though 90 percent came from areas outside of game development, PC Magazine said.
March Roars In
Come springtime, however, game-related companies went on a hiring binge, with a notable amount of activity in areas other than the traditional console, online or mobile games. Where? Try casino game makers and game makers for enterprise companies.
It makes some sense. These are areas looking for skills that are completely transferable if you’re a game developer, artist or product manager, say executives and recruiters in the space
“We’re a casino game maker but we’re growing and hiring people from the (companies in the) system gaming industry, like the Sony, Disney Interactive or Blizzard world,” says Mara Flores, recruiting manager for Multimedia Games, a provider of game content and systems. “BioWare (a division of EA) just laid off a bunch of people and we’ve been interviewing them. It’s a different vertical but the same technology.”
Based in Austin, Multimedia Games is currently looking to add 30 people to its workforce of 400, especially folks with Java and C++ development skills, and artists.
“A lot of people know about slot machines, but they never think of the technology behind them. And when we tell them about our company, they say, ‘ah, you’re the same as us,’ ” Flores explains. “But our industry has a better work-life balance. We’re not at the whims of publishers and the changes they want to make.”
Another promising area is in the development of games for corporate use. Yes, the development of games for corporate use. For example, “(we) make serious games to help companies do market research,” says Luke Hohmann, CEO of the firm Innovation Games. His company produces virtual market and visual collaboration games and sells them to the likes of enterprise software behemoth SAP.
Mario Herger, senior innovation strategist at SAP Labs, has this to say about games in his blog on the Gamification of CRM:
Marketing (and branding) have been some of the earliest adopters of what we understand today as gamification. Gabe Zichermann (and others) have covered game-based marketing extensively in their books. Advergames, like the Magnum Pleasure Hunt, QR-codes, SAP’s Paul the Octopus, or the Jay-Z Decoded scavenger hunt that found quite a following, are common examples of how games and game design techniques have been used for engaging customers.
“People have a romanticized view of the gaming industry,” Hohmann says. “They think it will be always cool and fun and great, but there are elements of the job that are less fun, like getting user feedback in tests and making changes based on that feedback.”
Both traditional game companies and the system gaming guys are in hiring mode. While BioWare has had layoffs, its vice president of recruiting, Nellie Peshkov says EA is looking to fill 600 positions. And 40 percent of them are for engineers, especially those who have digital talent or mobile expertise.