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Tips on How to Break Into the Game Industry

Every year at this time, ModSquad SVP, Global Operations Rich Weil heads to San Antonio, Texas for the PAX South video game conference. He’s a familiar face at the event, hosting a popular panel series on breaking into the video game industry. Rich has many years of industry experience, and spent the past decade connecting game companies (like Bandai Namco and Konami) seeking outsourced player-support services with our smart, game-savvy Mods. From content moderation and troll moderation to player engagement and support, ModSquad’s video game support is by players, for players. We love staying in touch with the industry through conferences like the PAX events.

At PAX South, Rich will once again be hosting a discussion on how game enthusiasts can turn pro. We asked Rich for a preview of the panel, and to offer a few nuggets of wisdom for those seeking gainful employment in the game industry. Here are some of his top tips.

  • “People don’t often think of this, but game companies are the same as other companies in that they have all the ancillary services — HR, PR, facilities management, and accounting. If you’re an HR professional but want to get into the game industry, seek out HR positions in game companies. There are many ways in.”
  • “Because game companies make different types of games, they tend to develop different cultures; many companies specifically develop these cultures. The dev team, for example, in a company producing match-three games will have a much different culture than one in a company that’s making a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game or an esports game. Ignore that at your peril. Try to get a sense of it when you’re interviewing.”
  • “If you’re interviewing for a development job, have a game of your own to show them. You don’t have to be in the industry to make games. There are many tools, and free software, that you can use to make your games. Even if you’re applying for a non-development job such as a QA position, think about having a game to show them. It impresses them more than telling them how much you want to learn about creating games.”
  • “Ask the interviewers when they want the position filled. If you get vague answers, they might not be serious about the position. In the game industry, things can also be timeline-dependent. Companies may hire a big community staff and customer-support teams based on a launch date. Then the launch gets pushed back six months, and that put things in upheaval. So it’s important to nail down how real that position is; make sure they can tell you.”
  • “You may hear about who’s laying people off, but it can be tricky to know who’s really hiring. That’s why you should associate with business peers. Every discipline has a professional organization, like the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). People love going to meetings to talk shop. Networking is super-important, so make time for it. It’s one of the reasons I love coming to conferences.”

That’s the perfect segue to remind readers that Rich will be moderating the Game Industry Career Panel at PAX South. He’ll be joined onstage by game industry veteran Linda Carlson, YellowPike Media CEO and Founder Keith Pape, Playable Worlds Studio Art Director Mat Broome, and Battlecry Studios Studio Director Douglas Mellencamp. See the discussion on Sunday, January 19 in the Cactus Theatre at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Want to learn more about why ModSquad is the premier managed services provider for the gaming industry? Set up a time to talk to Rich at PAX South; if you won’t be in town, feel free to schedule a meeting with Rich.

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