The video games industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing areas of commerce. Its popularity exploded towards the end of the last millennium when online gaming became a reality for increasing numbers of gamers. Today, the video games industry is estimated to be worth around $196 billion and employs hundreds of thousands of people in the myriad of roles that are needed to produce a triple-A blockbuster game. Gaming is truly a global phenomenon, with approximately 2.69 billion players regularly enjoying their favorite games from nearly all areas of the planet. It is common knowledge that the biggest game producers take years to design, polish, and finally release their next game, and budgets often stretch into millions of dollars. In this article, three of the key roles in the video games industry will be described in detail.
One of the key roles in the video games industry is that of the coders. Put simply, today’s games would not exist in the quality or scope of imagination without having dedicated experts to write all parts of their computer code. Game programmers work to exceptionally high standards of accuracy and must have highly advanced programming skills in a variety of programming languages. This level of expertise is matched by attractive salaries. A base salary for a programmer starts at around $69k, and significantly higher sums can be earned when rising to lead programmer, and by working for some of the world’s best game developers. One key skill that is needed in coding is the ability to modify existing code to make it more efficient, easier to read, and less likely to contain bugs. This process is called refactoring, and it is a vital ability needed in game programming.
All games that are entering the beta phase of their development need to be thoroughly tested. Teams of game testers will work for hours at a time going through every part of the game. The aim of this is to check that there will be no bugs, glitches, crashes, or other problems with the stability of the code before it is released to the public. A recent high-profile game that suffered much criticism from the public on release was Cyberpunk 2077. It had spent years in a troubled development process but seemed to have been rushed to market without adequate testing. As a result, the finished product had a variety of bugs, glitches, and crashes that resulted in a dissatisfying experience for many gamers and needed several patches to improve, following its release.
The best games in 2022 are those that truly immerse the player and one way this is achieved is by using sound within the game. The game soundtrack, incidental sound effects, and dialogues between in-game characters help to create the perfect gaming experience when it is programmed into a high level of quality. Early games relied on low fidelity sounds and sparse effects due to the small amounts of memory that could be used in developing the full game. Today, game memory can often top over 100GB, which gives sound engineers far more freedom over the scope and depth of sonic soundscapes within their games.