# Expected Revenue

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I have been considering the gaming industry for some time now and I can't help but think how much revenue there really is to be made. There was a study done in 2009 claiming that Americans alone spent $25.3B on games, which is probably an understatement and has definitely risen since then. However, there is also a ridiculous amount of competition and realistically a very small percentage of released games end up being successful. Before I go any further, let me explain why I am here talking about this right now. I am in my early 20s and have no college education so I don't believe my chances at this stage of my life are very high for getting a job at any of the gaming giants. Now of course I could go to college but, to be blunt, I don't find any point in it, I feel as though I have easily been learning at a much faster pace on my own then I ever could at school. So I am at something of a cross roads. Should I join / start an indie game company or should I try and push myself through 4 years of college and be in my mid 20s before I even start my career? Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those [i]nerdy[/i] people that love to learn, but I'm also very eager to start my life and another 4 years of waiting doesn't appeal to me at all. So I guess my question is can one really make a living off being an indie game programmer? I started thinking about the numbers and it doesn't look too great. Assuming that I spend a couple years on a game then get lucky and sell 10,000 copies of it, where does that leave me? I would imagine that, for an indie game, I will be charging roughly$10 per copy which [i]should[/i] leave me with $100,000. There's a couple problems though. First of all - I would have to pay my team of course, it's unlikely I am making a game that sells 10,000 copies on my own. Then I would have to look at partner expenses such as shared profits on Steam if I choose to sell my game through that platform. Assuming that I'm left with$40,000, that's really not a lot of money for a few years work and who knows how long until I make another game that actually sells.

Unfortunately even the above situation is pretty unlikely, I imagine that my first few games will sell next to nothing. I am not being pessimistic, just realistic. So I ask you, the professional community, what your suggestions are. I love programming and I really want to break into the industry but I obviously need money to live as well. Do gaming giants like Blizzard, EA, Valve, and Epic take programmers without a degree if they have enough experience? Is a degree really necessary to go anywhere in this business with the exception of the lucky few that manage to grow their own? Should I sacrifice another 4 years because it will be worth it in the long run?

Thanks.

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[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']
So I ask you, the professional community, what your suggestions are. I love programming and I really want to break into the industry but I obviously need money to live as well.
[/quote]

Your choices aren't restricted to 'make indie games' and 'go to college'. What are you doing for a living now? What is your professional experience?

Breaking into bizdev is easier than gamedev simply due to more options/less competition. And most places offer tuition reimbursement if you're in a situation where night/weekend schooling while getting professional experience is an option. Not saying that's what I recommend, just pointing out that options exist.

[quote]
Do gaming giants like Blizzard, EA, Valve, and Epic take programmers without a degree if they have enough experience?
[/quote]

Some do, some don't. If you're in your mid twenties (read: don't have a lot of professional experience) and don't have a few indie games or a wildly impressive portfolio, they won't.

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']
Is a degree really necessary to go anywhere in this business with the exception of the lucky few that manage to grow their own?
[/quote]

It certainly helps. As an entry level programmer, you don't really have much else to show. Given the choice between a good programmer with a degree and good programmer without, the programmer with the degree is the likely better candidate in many eyes.

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']
Should I sacrifice another 4 years because it will be worth it in the long run?
[/quote]

You're not sacrificing them, you're investing them to become a better, more well roundedly educated person. If you've learned a bit on your own, check for schools that will give credits for testing out of classes or 'life experience'.

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[quote name='Telastyn' timestamp='1333033946' post='4926363']
You're not sacrificing them, you're investing them to become a better, more well roundedly educated person. If you've learned a bit on your own, check for schools that will give credits for testing out of classes or 'life experience'.
[/quote]

Perhaps sacrifice wasn't the best word. I was pointing to the fact that 4 years is a lot of extra time to spend at my age, it would be different if I had gone straight from high school to college. I also have never even heard of schools giving credits for [i]testing / life experience[/i] before so I will look into that. My current job is free lance programming, I'm only making slightly more than I would full time at a minimum wage job. I admit I haven't looked into every possible option at this point but, as I said, I'm very eager to actually start working on game programming which is the primary reason I'm not very interested in college.

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[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']
Do gaming giants like Blizzard, EA, Valve, and Epic take programmers without a degree if they have enough experience?
[/quote]

If they have enough [url="http://www.igda.org/games-game-october-2006"]experience[/url] and a great portfolio and resume. Yes.

But this is a Breaking In question, not a Production question. The question of how much revenue a business can make is a Business question, not a Production question. I think this thread is more of a Breaking In topic than a Business topic, so I'm moving this to Breaking In.

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[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1333038151' post='4926381']
[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']
Do gaming giants like Blizzard, EA, Valve, and Epic take programmers without a degree if they have enough experience?
[/quote]

If they have enough [url="http://www.igda.org/games-game-october-2006"]experience[/url] and a great portfolio and resume. Yes.

But this is a Breaking In question, not a Production question. The question of how much revenue a business can make is a Business question, not a Production question. I think this thread is more of a Breaking In topic than a Business topic, so I'm moving this to Breaking In.
[/quote]

It should perhaps be noted that actually getting experience without a degree is hard, (professional experience is the only experience that really counts). an impressive portfolio on its own will often not even get looked at (If you have neither professional experience nor a degree you need something else on your resume that will make whoever looks at it get interested.) (a important position on the development of a good, [b]well known[/b] freeware game or mod can be a ticket past initial screening for example, don't expect the HR person to actually download and look at your game though, if they havn't allready heard of it then it won't help much)

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']
I started thinking about the numbers and it doesn't look too great. Assuming that I spend a couple years on a game then get lucky and sell 10,000 copies of it, where does that leave me? I would imagine that, for an indie game, I will be charging roughly $10 per copy which [i]should[/i] leave me with$100,000. There's a couple problems though. First of all - I would have to pay my team of course, it's unlikely I am making a game that sells 10,000 copies on my own. Then I would have to look at partner expenses such as shared profits on Steam if I choose to sell my game through that platform. Assuming that I'm left with $40,000, that's really not a lot of money for a few years work and who knows how long until I make another game that actually sells. [/quote] Try a cheaper market, web and mobile games can compete with lower budgets (a 2-3 man team can push out a decent mobile or flash game every 3-4 months) , revenue through ads for the "free/demo" version also helps boost total revenue slightly. If you go for the PC market then you need to either make something new or atleast make a modern spin on classic gameplay to be able to compete with a low budget, There is more room for high prices though so the total revenue can also be alot higher. (The market for casual PC games has pretty much disappeared in favor of casual web games so its alot harder to sell casual games on the PC now that just a few years ago, it can often be better to target the niches than to go for the casual market on the PC) Either way gamedev is not an easy field, competition is fierce and you'll have to work hard to make a living unless you get insanely lucky. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites [quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333035482' post='4926370'] I admit I haven't looked into every possible option at this point but, as I said, I'm very eager to actually start working on game programming which is the primary reason I'm not very interested in college. [/quote] It seems to me that you have two problems: - You want to work on games. - You want to advance your career. These aren't necessarily tied together. It would be awesome if they could be, but it does not seem realistic based on what you've told us. If I were you, I would focus on the career. Anyone can download a compiler and work on games, including you. Getting a degree will give you more, better options. Getting more professional experience will give you more, better options. Having some financial stability will give you more, better options. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Forza1, I wouldn’t even consider the employment route if you aren’t prepared to go for a degree. It’s the norm nowadays, especially at the entry level. An old fart like me can get away with it, but I joined the industry when no degree was the norm and competed among those ranks then, picked up the experience and now I can hold that against all my competition, degree or not (for them and me). It would be too easy to say this has never been an issue for me - it doesn’t seem to have been, but the likelihood is that I’m just not aware of doors which didn’t open for me. Either way, degree or not you won’t have this benefit of experience for many years. If you do manage to get your foot in the door, you might get the experience over time…but unlike me you’ll spend your entire life competing against people who got the degree when you could have and got the same level of experience during the same years. It will be a lifelong battle for you. Don’t make life harder for yourself. It seems to me you have two choices if you want to make games. a) Don’t get a degree, make your own games and if it turns out to be successful for you, the lack of a fallback or the need to qualify for alternative employment in the industry (or even outside it) won’t matter. Even if you’re shithot, there’s a crapshoot element to this…beware. b) Get a degree. You can work for others making games more easily. You’ll have the option of doing that first if you wish and the option of being an entrepreneur won’t ever go away. You can go for this sooner if you want, but if it fails, or you need to take a raincheck you’ll have the credentials that qualify you more easily for continued employment. You’ll get to do everything you want and have better fallback options with the latter. It might take a little longer, but you’ll have all the options you want in life. When you’re older and you have a family to support, you’ll be able to do that more reliably and with less worry. You are very young still. Time is on your side. You mention sacrifice, but if you don’t take the time to do things right…don’t forget you’re sacrificing the time you have. Better to take the time and by age X have all the options you want, rather than get to X…have tried something, failed and have less options open. Bear in mind at any age, you’ll always have the choice of going back to school to pick up credentials you didn’t get sooner. I would add though, that having a choice doesn’t mean the options are realistic and as you get older, even if you have the choice…the option to go back to school will be a more difficult one to take. There’s no better time to get the qualifications than while you’re young and have less things going on. I lie, there’s another choice. If you want to make games, make games. You don’t have to be a professional to do that and you can pursue another entirely successful day job/career at the same time. For some people, this is the best option to be honest. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites [quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333035482' post='4926370'] My current job is free lance programming, I'm only making slightly more than I would full time at a minimum wage job.[/quote] Not to be overly critical, but to some extent you are clearly "doing it wrong". Minimum wage around here is <$10/hour, and I used to earn $20/hour doing basic webdev in high school. Freelance Java work as a sophomore in university earned me$25-35/hour, and more work was available than I had time to fulfil alongside my studies...

You should probably take a long, hard look at the type of projects/clients you are taking on, and whether they are taking you for a ride.

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This is a tough topic that, for some reason, comes up a lot. It's tough to say really because some companies may not take you without a degree but as it was before, if you have a great portfolio or something to show that you are capable of doing the work, then your good to go without a degree. Case in point, I went to college and realized that I was getting more in debt with each semester so I cut my losses with an Associates in Business Management, now I find out that people don't even consider this type of degree to be sufficient anymore that it's all about the Bachelors and the Associates are equivalent to a High School Diploma. My roommate did not go to college at all, actually he did not even get a high school diploma but a GED, and got A+ certified at some point years ago, he is right now working for a major company and before that he developed for the government, these aren't no name companies either. He is self taught and learned over the course of about 4ish years now (I think) the level he is programming at now makes college level look like a joke, especially when you pretty much waste the first two years with "core classes" and junk like that. Honestly if you truly know what you are doing I would look into contracting companies that hire you and contract you out to the big guys, there is a huge market for programmers right now (my roommate gets job offers frequently, the most recent being from As Seen on TV for 75,000 for six months) if you can find a contracting company to take a chance on you and you are able to handle the job or at least prove that you are able to handle the job, then your golden and each contract you complete, you learn more and can raise you asking price. He went from $30/hr when he first started and now his asking price for the next contract will be$65 and this is in the course of maybe two years that he started getting contract work for programming. Ultimately it is your decision and there is no guarantee that your story will be the same, but at least I can give you some food for thought on the matter, my Associates now is nothing but a 30,000 debt, which I barely make in a year.

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[quote name='fightergear' timestamp='1333128820' post='4926734']
college level look like a joke, especially when you pretty much waste the first two years with "core classes" and junk like that.
[/quote]

This quote is the reason I down-voted the post above. Core classes are most definitely not a joke and are not a waste of time.

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[quote name='freakchild' timestamp='1333054768' post='4926445']
Forza1, I wouldn’t even consider the employment route if you aren’t prepared to go for a degree. It’s the norm nowadays, especially at the entry level. An old fart like me can get away with it, but I joined the industry when no degree was the norm and competed among those ranks then, picked up the experience and now I can hold that against all my competition, degree or not (for them and me). It would be too easy to say this has never been an issue for me - it doesn’t seem to have been, but the likelihood is that I’m just not aware of doors which didn’t open for me.

Either way, degree or not you won’t have this benefit of experience for many years. If you do manage to get your foot in the door, you might get the experience over time…but unlike me you’ll spend your entire life competing against people who got the degree when you could have and got the same level of experience during the same years. It will be a lifelong battle for you. Don’t make life harder for yourself.

It seems to me you have two choices if you want to make games.

a) Don’t get a degree, make your own games and if it turns out to be successful for you, the lack of a fallback or the need to qualify for alternative employment in the industry (or even outside it) won’t matter. Even if you’re shithot, there’s a crapshoot element to this…beware.
b) Get a degree. You can work for others making games more easily. You’ll have the option of doing that first if you wish and the option of being an entrepreneur won’t ever go away. You can go for this sooner if you want, but if it fails, or you need to take a raincheck you’ll have the credentials that qualify you more easily for continued employment.

You’ll get to do everything you want and have better fallback options with the latter. It might take a little longer, but you’ll have all the options you want in life. When you’re older and you have a family to support, you’ll be able to do that more reliably and with less worry.

You are very young still. Time is on your side. You mention sacrifice, but if you don’t take the time to do things right…don’t forget you’re sacrificing the time you have. Better to take the time and by age X have all the options you want, rather than get to X…have tried something, failed and have less options open.

Bear in mind at any age, you’ll always have the choice of going back to school to pick up credentials you didn’t get sooner. I would add though, that having a choice doesn’t mean the options are realistic and as you get older, even if you have the choice…the option to go back to school will be a more difficult one to take. There’s no better time to get the qualifications than while you’re young and have less things going on.

I lie, there’s another choice. If you want to make games, make games. You don’t have to be a professional to do that and you can pursue another entirely successful day job/career at the same time. For some people, this is the best option to be honest.
[/quote]

Thanks for the large write up and advice for me. I have already decided to sign up for college next semester and at least start working towards a degree while I'm making the decision so that if I decide to go for a bachelors then I will be that much closer. Who know? Maybe I'll even enjoy it more than I would have expected.

[quote name='swiftcoder' timestamp='1333058165' post='4926463']
[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333035482' post='4926370']
My current job is free lance programming, I'm only making slightly more than I would full time at a minimum wage job.[/quote]
Not to be overly critical, but to some extent you are clearly "doing it wrong".

Minimum wage around here is < $10/hour, and I used to earn$20/hour doing basic webdev in high school. Freelance Java work as a sophomore in university earned me $25-35/hour, and more work was available than I had time to fulfil alongside my studies... You should probably take a long, hard look at the type of projects/clients you are taking on, and whether they are taking you for a ride. [/quote] Sorry, I should have been more clear, I am making more than minimum wage on an hourly basis. I meant that if you are working full time at a minimum wage job (40 hours a week$7.25 an hour here) then you will be making a little less than $1,200 per month. So based on a monthly salary I am only making a little more than minimum wage but I am also working far less hours. Sorry for the confusion. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites There's a whole bunch of walls of text in this post, so forgive me if someone suggested this already, but going to college definitely wouldn't preclude you from working on indie projects in the meantime. I'm in a full-time job right now completely independent from the gaming industry, one that allows [i]much [/i]less free time than I ever had in college, and I'm still finding the time to contribute to indie projects on the side. Maybe you wouldn't be able to build entire games by yourself, but I bet you could pick up little side-projects on these forums, while also working toward that degree--thus building both your portfolio and your more traditional education, making you an all-around stronger candidate after you graduate. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites [quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']There was a study done in 2009 claiming that Americans alone spent$25.3B on games, which is probably an understatement and has definitely risen since then.[/quote]

The gaming industry has far succeded Hollywood Box Office in revenues.

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']realistically a very small percentage of released games end up being successful.[/quote]

Depends on what you define as "successful". Compared to Farmville, WoW is pretty unsuccessful.

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']I am in my early 20s and have no college education so I don't believe my chances at this stage of my life are very high for getting a job at any of the gaming giants.[/quote]

With an IQ of 90+, time spent knowing and practicing the trade and no severe mental issues, your chances are 99.9%.

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']Or should I try and push myself through 4 years of college and be in my mid 20s before I even start my career?[/quote]

This. Don't take any short cuts, they'll just come back and bite you later on. Let your opportunities come to you (and they will if you stay diligent). The giants of game design are rare exceptions. You must always follow your dreams, but don't bet your entire fortune on just one number.

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']So I guess my question is can one really make a living off being an indie game programmer?[/quote]

Not if you haven't already been doing major work in the past to support it. Remember that most indie devs with any serious success are easily 30+ years old. Some don't even "come out" until their 40s LOL

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']Assuming that I spend a couple years on a game then get lucky and sell 10,000 copies of it, where does that leave me? I would imagine that, for an indie game, I will be charging roughly $10 per copy which [i]should[/i] leave me with$100,000.[/quote]

Exactly. You need additional ways of income.

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']I love programming and I really want to break into the industry but I obviously need money to live as well.[/quote]

Call your nearest game development studio and ask them what it'll take for you to get an internship with them, and what you need to know. Do that today or tomorrow and that's 1 fact mapped out (and do nag at them, because they will most surely ignore you at first because receptionists don't have a clue). You could even try to call the nearest University, the teachers are often VERY helpful - sometimes [i]too[/i] helpful for their own good lol.

[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']Do gaming giants like Blizzard, EA, Valve, and Epic take programmers without a degree if they have enough experience?[/quote]

Technically, yes. But it's virtually impossible to get a job that way, nowadays. Plus the top developers have maybe 1-2 positions available for a group of maybe 5000 applicants (not counting the 1 million fanboys with zero serious background). That's your competition. You need a degree.

----------

[b]Conclusion:[/b]

Be optimistic. All the barricades are just illusions stemming from one's own insecurity and lack of experience. Your ONLY two obstacles are "time" and "effort". Be sure to kick both their asses and you're getting inside eventually. But you're still young. You may need to get some Burgers cooked in the meanwhile.

Caution: I'm a bit hyper-active, so don't take my words for these things. Just double-check them and you'll see that my replies are at least 80% accurate.

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But you're still young. You may need to get some Burgers cooked in the meanwhile.[/quote]
I'd honestly avoid that particular hell. Start working on a CS degree instead - even sophomores (and avid freshmen) can land decent web/database gigs on the basis of professor recommendations, or pick up a part-time sysadmin job on the side.

[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1333134861' post='4926768']
[quote name='fightergear' timestamp='1333128820' post='4926734']
college level look like a joke, especially when you pretty much waste the first two years with "core classes" and junk like that.[/quote]
This quote is the reason I down-voted the post above. Core classes are most definitely not a joke and are not a waste of time.[/quote]
Some are, some aren't. Picking the ones that aren't is half the battle in succeeding at university.

But it is important to remember that most core lasses are aimed at making you a more well-rounded person, and to improve your communication skills. The latter is vital important, even if you don't consider the former to be so - every development job involves at least as much communication and negotiation as it does programming...

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[quote name='Forza1' timestamp='1333033251' post='4926359']Or should I try and push myself through 4 years of college and be in my mid 20s before I even start my career [[i]in programming[/i]]?[/quote]
This. Don't take any short cuts, they'll just come back and bite you later on. Let your opportunities come to you (and they will if you stay diligent). The giants of game design are rare exceptions. You must always follow your dreams, but don't bet your entire fortune on just one number.
[/quote]
Firstly, I have to point out that you (DrMadolite) are [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/623620-is-it-to-late/"]constantly[/url] giving advice from a design perspective when the original posters were talking about programming. I don’t disagree with your go-get-them attitude but options are much much more plentiful for programmers, and there are many different approaches that are certainly not “shortcuts”.

From a design standpoint, options are indeed much narrower. School is more important because it is one of the only quantifiable ways to sell yourself. Demonstrating “good design” in itself is fairly subjective, and while you can try to spout out a bunch of good game design rules, such as making sure players are rewarded when giving them an option to go far out of their way, it doesn’t convince potential employers that you have good sense in putting that into play and balancing it out with all of the other factors that go into good—and bad—design.

Then there is the potential for employment. Game designers are typically geared towards thinking about employment at mainly major companies, because only major companies and medium-level companies can hire them. Small companies take outsourced work from the upper companies, and there is no need for a designer in that environment. Designers somehow instinctively know this and rarely even acknowledge that small companies exist.

But for programmers none of this is true. Firstly, programming skills are quantifiable and tests are frequently given. Musicians and artists don’t get tests but their portfolios are quite quantifiable. Only design profiles are not.
This makes school less important compared to the increased value of a portfolio and demonstratable side projects.

Omitting school in favor of building a strong hands-on portfolio is certainly not a “shortcut” for a programmer. In fact it can often be [i]advisable[/i].

And the potential for employment is much higher. As follows with my actual advice to the original poster.

[size=5][b]To The Original Poster[/b][/size]
My advice is to take a look at [url="http://www.gamedevmap.com/"]GameDev Map[/url] and find anything in your area, big or small (smaller has better working conditions and higher chances of getting hired) and apply.
Work there to get hands-on experience in the field which is no less valuable than going to school, and it even pays for itself.
Use your spare time (I have a thing or 2 to say about anyone claiming that a full-time job leaves no room for side projects) to work on your own games to increase your skills that much more and to later sell, as per your plans. Even if they don’t sell, you have money and you have something to show to the next bigger company on the ladder.

It is fairly trivial to work up into one of the bigger companies, but I honestly can’t see why you would want to do so. Working conditions at Electronic Arts are only slightly improved from their horrible conditions a few years ago. Blizzard and Valve have better working conditions but in any case you will be nothing but a number, and climbing up will be pretty hard.
It is basically like spending a lot of time and effort just to arrive at the top, only to look around you and realize you are actually about the same as when you started.
You will find better growth potential and wages in smaller and medium companies. Not to mention the relaxed work environments.

L. Spiro

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@ L. Spiro:

[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1333043751' post='4926403']
It should perhaps be noted that actually getting experience without a degree is hard, (professional experience is the only experience that really counts). an impressive portfolio on its own will often not even get looked at (If you have neither professional experience nor a degree you need something else on your resume that will make whoever looks at it get interested.) (a important position on the development of a good, [b]well known[/b] freeware game or mod can be a ticket past initial screening for example, don't expect the HR person to actually download and look at your game though, if they havn't allready heard of it then it won't help much)
[/quote]

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[quote name='swiftcoder' timestamp='1335478386' post='4935234']I'd honestly avoid that particular hell. Start working on a CS degree instead - even sophomores (and avid freshmen) can land decent web/database gigs on the basis of professor recommendations, or pick up a part-time sysadmin job on the side.[/quote]

Believe me, it's just a figure of speech LOL. I wouldn't even want that for my worst enemy xD

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@ L. Spiro:

[quote name='SimonForsman' timestamp='1333043751' post='4926403']
It should perhaps be noted that actually getting experience without a degree is hard, (professional experience is the only experience that really counts). an impressive portfolio on its own will often not even get looked at (If you have neither professional experience nor a degree you need something else on your resume that will make whoever looks at it get interested.) (a important position on the development of a good, [b]well known[/b] freeware game or mod can be a ticket past initial screening for example, don't expect the HR person to actually download and look at your game though, if they havn't allready heard of it then it won't help much)
[/quote][/quote]
That is only accurate if you, again, only target the big companies.
[url="http://www.sloperama.com/advice/catch23.htm"]http://www.sloperama...ice/catch23.htm[/url] Read, “Catch-23.a. You can't get a job without experience, and you can't get experience without a job.”
[url="http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.html#rea"]http://www.sloperama...sson24.html#rea[/url] “To which I (Tom) want to add another aspect of [b]over-reaching[/b] - applying exclusively at Top-Ten publishers or developers. Those companies can afford to be much more picky about who they hire - and they almost always require some years of game industry experience, meaning they don't hire newbies fresh out of college. If you've been getting shot down by the big publishers, stop frustrating yourself and lower your sights.”

I dropped out of high school and got a GED from a 2-year technical college.
It hindered me in no way, as my first employer was only interested in seeing my demos/portfolios (and having me pass a test); he never even knew I dropped out of high school and he didn’t care at all what kind of diploma or degree I had. The only reason he asked if I had one at all was so he could hire me, because you can’t be hired overseas without one, legally.

Which brings me to another point. My first job, without any previous experience, was [i]overseas[/i]. In fact I have [i]only[/i] worked overseas all my life. I have never worked in my own country of America.

So not only can you easily find jobs in small companies without previous experience, you can even do so in anywhere in the world (Japan excluded), not just your own country.

After working in 3 countries and traveling more of the world on business trips on top of that, was dropping out and getting a GED an unwise shortcut, or was it hitting the ground running?
From my own experience, I can 100% certainly say that going the full 4 years of school etc. would have been a mistake, and while the point is that it is not a mistake for some, it certainly is not [u]for[/u] everyone (“for” underlined to avoid reading contexts fallacies—read it over and over until you read the last bit as, “it is not suitable for everyone”).

That is why any advice that strongly suggests one way or another is the only real hope one has is inherently wrong.
Yes, education is one way to go, and can work.
But calling the alternatives, especially getting hands-on experience in a real workplace a “shortcut” or even just “hard”—is wrong. It is actually quite tried and true.

One of the biggest factors is passion, really. A person without passion can’t make it in the industry without school. But then again he or she does not belong in the industry at all anyway.
A person with passion doesn’t need school because he or she will have a strong portfolio of a ton of little games he or she made which both speak towards his or her skill and his or her passion, both very attractive qualities to a potential employer. This is what lead to my first job, as my passion was unbounded and I had a ton of demos to show for it, and just by talking to me he was able to sense my passion/enthusiasm for the game industry.

That—not papers—got me my first job in the industry.

But if you want to work overseas, school papers are a cold hard fact of life. But you only need a 2-year GED, not 4 years and a degree.

L. Spiro Edited by L. Spiro

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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1335543874' post='4935421']
This is what lead to my first job, as my passion was unbounded and I had a ton of demos to show for it, and just by talking to me he was able to sense my passion/enthusiasm for the game industry.
[/quote]

Lots of people have passion. Few people have a tons of demos.

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[quote name='L. Spiro' timestamp='1335543874' post='4935421']
[url="http://www.sloperama.com/advice/catch23.htm"]http://www.sloperama...ice/catch23.htm[/url] Read, “Catch-23.a. You can't get a job without experience, and you can't get experience without a job.”[/quote]

Catch 23 is nonsense. You [i]can[/i] get experience without a job, it's called education or concrete, personal work that you can present (that is relevant to what you want to work with).

The rest I've deleted from my reply, because I feel like I'm either flaming myself or feeding a troll.

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You can get experience without a job, it's called education or concrete, personal work that you can present (that is relevant to what you want to work with)[/quote]
Neither one counts as 'experience' in a hiring sense.

If you have a 4-year degree along with 2 years of personal projects, and you claim '6 years experience in game development', HR will laugh merrily as they shred your resume.

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Catch 23 is nonsense. You [i]can[/i] get experience without a job
[/quote]

In job ads and in hiring interviews, the word "experience" has a particular meaning. Read [url="http://www.igda.org/games-game-october-2006"]The Experience Experience[/url].

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It is always a great pleasure to read L Spiro's posts. Some moderators could learn a thing or two in how he/she communicates. I voted you up L Spiro [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]

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[quote name='swiftcoder' timestamp='1335559605' post='4935473']
If you have a 4-year degree along with 2 years of personal projects, and you claim '6 years experience in game development', HR will laugh merrily as they shred your resume.[/quote]

Maybe I worded myself poorly. My point is that it counts towards your chances of landing a job. I mean, if you have 4 years of education and 2 years worth of actual programs that you can showcase, they'll obviously favor you over someone with no background whatsoever.

Also, I'm pretty sure that it wasn't Thomas "Notch" Persson's earlier job experience that made Bethesda Game Studios want to hire him.

[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1335566407' post='4935485']
In job ads and in hiring interviews, the word "experience" has a particular meaning. Read [url="http://www.igda.org/games-game-october-2006"]The Experience Experience[/url].
[/quote]

Definitely, but I'm talking about experience as is. I.e. that you have practical and theoretical understanding of something. I never said that "just having experience" is all you need to land a job, you obviously need to take use of your experience and actually produce something for them as well - like your own website showcasing your many Java apps, or some major programs and games that have had some success. That's a given.

And the HR people would be pretty stupid if they ignored the fact that it was you who made Braid, Terraria or Minecraft. Edited by DrMadolite

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