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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Gamers in the Game Industry

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54 posts found

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16303

OP  10/07/12 8:06:04 PM#1

It may come as a shock to some that there are actually people out there making games who don't actually *gasps* play them. In this week's Pokket Says, she takes a look at that notion with quite a bit to say. See what you think and then leave your thoughts in the comments.

So this week I want to talk about gamers in the game industry. Now it is without a doubt that there are quite a few avid gamers that work in the game industry, but there are also quite a few people who, well, aren't gamers at all. Before we can talk about gamers working in the industry, we must first pinpoint what we consider to be a gamer, and what qualifications these people should meet.

Read more of Hillary Nicole's Pokket Says: Gamers in the Game Industry.

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Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  User Deleted
10/08/12 9:45:49 AM#2
It may be a dream to work in the gaming industry, but the grass isn't always greener, and while I agree you should have a grasp of the games, be prepared to look at them in a new light and be prepared not to care much about playing them once they become your bread and butter rather then your favorite past time. Just because you like playing them doesn't mean you would like to make them and vice versus just because you can make them doesn't mean you like to play them. Once you understand how to make them, it pretty much ruins the experience of playing. Stick to flipping burgers and gaming will always be a welcome fascination to your minds.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/20/10
Posts: 1043

10/08/12 9:46:46 AM#3
OMG YES!  This is probably partially why Blizzard continues to dominate the PC market (even though D3 isn't considered their best work).  And, while I doubt all their staff are gamers I have a feeling those who have a key role are and so are their support (have you ever used them?  It's awesome and fun).

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Joined: 6/08/12
Posts: 663

"Veni Vidi Vici"

10/08/12 9:51:40 AM#4
True^^^^ gotta be at least a gamer to get in a gaming industry.

Looking at: The Repopulation
Preordering: None
Playing: Random Games


Novice Member

Joined: 3/28/12
Posts: 235

10/08/12 9:53:32 AM#5
I totally agree. I returned to RIFT because Trion is just an awesome company understanding what gamers want (at least, I can identify with it). Also I keep playing and supporting GW2, which has the same company feel (and fun gameplay and all that)

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." - John F. Kennedy
And for MMORPGs ever so true...


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Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 13664

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

10/08/12 10:06:50 AM#6

Being an avid gamer is a big part of the industry's culture, so it would probably be hard for a non-gamer to fit in. Gaming is a passion that seems rather universal, and you'd probably be hard pressed to find devs on a break that weren't playing games or talking together about the latest games they played and the latest features/gameplay they've found interesting or engaging.

It's awesome to see how a dev lights up when talking about their favorite games, too. You can easily tell how big a part of their life gaming is.


There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein



Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14702

10/08/12 10:15:15 AM#7
It depends some on the exact job description.  Anyone with any say in design decisions for the game surely needs to know the game industry.  But a janitor doesn't.

Novice Member

Joined: 6/15/12
Posts: 326

10/08/12 10:26:22 AM#8
I have been openly critical of Pokket, but this is one of her better articles. I look forward to her expanding in future articles. I always wonder when I play a game whether or not the people who made said game actualy played the game while developing it. I firmly believe following a business model of development isnt always the best model of development. Good job Pokket.

Novice Member

Joined: 9/04/09
Posts: 241

10/08/12 10:30:07 AM#9
lol "piano songs" LOL.  LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 18493

10/08/12 11:03:56 AM#10

I'll offer a differing opinion.

I would say that people who don't play games should not be in the position to design games. I would say that people who don't play game could be in positions where being a gamer might not be needed.

Look at Curt Schilling. he was clearly a gamer. But not much of a businessman. Does it matter if you are a gamer if you can't keep the budget on track or bring in new investment?

If I find an amazing artist then it might not be important that they play games but that they are an amazing artist who can bring concepts to life?

What about someone who is an amazing animator? Maybe for movies. But they dont' play games? I think I'd rather take someone who wasn't a gamer but knew their craft well and could be utilized by those who are designing the game.

One of the things I've noted from my limited experiene at game conventions is that there are a lot of people working at game companies who are very unprofessional. I sometimes wonder if some of the issues that seem to plague game companies are that they are run/staffed by gamers and not professionals.

Of course, if you are designing a game then being a gamer and one that understands the game/demographic you are working for would be incredibly important.


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Joined: 12/27/07
Posts: 589

10/08/12 11:16:49 AM#11

I agree that to be a developer you don't have to be a 'gamer'.  Now what I consider a gamer is someone who since they were young has been glued to some type of screen for hours a day obsessed with one or many games.  What I don't consider a gamer is someone who sits down and pwns noobs in Nazi zombies, or someone who says "Yeh I play ps3 and a little xbox". No...a gamer is someone, like the majority of us here, who checks mmorpg daily, watches videos trailers daily, spends stupid amount of time being part of a gaming community not just in a game, but online websites and or in real life.


Playing games is seriously only half of being a 'gamer' in the real sense. 


However, to be a dev, I don't think you need to be a gamer.  What you need is, skills to apply to your task in development., an understanding of what the game will accoplish, what the fans want vs. what other games offer.  I think you need a passion for creating art, as developing a game is very much an art.  You also need a deep understanding of gaming history, what made certain games fail and succeed.


Firstly though, a developer should be viewed as a professional artist in my eyes.


Originally posted by Arskaaa
"when players learned tacticks in dungeon/raids, its bread".


Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/18/10
Posts: 3225

Veni, Vidi, Converti

10/08/12 11:39:50 AM#12
I like to hear this sort of thing from someone who is genuinely energised by good games and well designed games & talking about such: Why we love it: Tokyo Jungle

Novice Member

Joined: 7/11/12
Posts: 53

10/08/12 12:06:58 PM#13
She uses so many commas...

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

10/08/12 12:22:38 PM#14

Would you trust a mechanic that doesn't like cars?
A novelist that doesn't read?
A musician that doesn't listen to music?

Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/06
Posts: 160

10/08/12 12:47:24 PM#15

The key is to be a gamer and a professional at your job. I agree with felix that a developer should be viewed as a professional artist. If you went to school (a university) to create games, you probably are a trained artist in many mediums. 

The problem I'm facing as a newly grad looking to get into the industry is the lack of low level positions available. Nine times out of ten companies are looking for someone with many years of experience and shipped titles. This is getting off topic, so I'll just say that I agree developers need to have experience and understand gaming. I really don't see how you could do a job in any field without actively participating. 


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Posts: 18493

10/08/12 1:17:47 PM#16
Originally posted by ShakyMo

Would you trust a mechanic that doesn't like cars?
A novelist that doesn't read?
A musician that doesn't listen to music?

Well, I think it goes one step further.

All of your points I agree wtih but I would say that since games are made up of many different components, it might not really be a factor if your network expert liked games or not or if your head artist was brilliant but he didn't play games.

From what I know of composers (of which I am one) most of the composers I've met don't play games. Of course there are composers who do but most of the composers I know are either interested in concert music (for some reason - not a lot of money in that) or a smaller group who are open to movie scores. So a game composer might not really be a gamer but they might be a very good composer for games.

The machinist who creates parts for cars doesn't need to lovec them. The head of advertising for a publisher might not be much of a reader but might really know how to hook people on a product.






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Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 13664

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

10/08/12 2:18:15 PM#17
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by ShakyMo

Would you trust a mechanic that doesn't like cars?
A novelist that doesn't read?
A musician that doesn't listen to music?

Well, I think it goes one step further.

All of your points I agree wtih but I would say that since games are made up of many different components, it might not really be a factor if your network expert liked games or not or if your head artist was brilliant but he didn't play games.

From what I know of composers (of which I am one) most of the composers I've met don't play games. Of course there are composers who do but most of the composers I know are either interested in concert music (for some reason - not a lot of money in that) or a smaller group who are open to movie scores. So a game composer might not really be a gamer but they might be a very good composer for games.

The machinist who creates parts for cars doesn't need to lovec them. The head of advertising for a publisher might not be much of a reader but might really know how to hook people on a product.

For the art fields you present, I agree, that they don't necessarily have to know gaming to do their job well. One doesn't need to be a gamer to create the assets they are told to create. However, the art and music directors should probably have a decent finger on the pulse of the gaming community, if not full-fledged gamers themselves.

Beyond that, though, it seems odd to work in a creative environment where you don't fit with the culture. Imagine working at ESPN and not being interested in sports or working in a music store selling instruments and you have no interest in playing them?  There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but the passion isn't there, the involvement isn't there, and it will reflect in one's work and, to a certain degree, one's relationship with their co-workers.

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein


Novice Member

Joined: 4/17/10
Posts: 602

10/08/12 2:28:26 PM#18

Certain types of personalities tend to be gamers and if a company fails to be diverse in its hiring practices than they are effectively limiting the company's potential to be innovative.

Also, the non-gamers might have a better idea on how their product can appeal to other non-gamers, thus increasing their potential customer base.


Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7209

10/08/12 2:43:17 PM#19

Your column was great until you quoted Smedley since he is without doubt one of the most clueless execs in the business, Why he is still in charge at SOE, is still a great mystery to most of us.

I do agree you must be a gamer to write games, otherwise you do dumb things like Mythic did to DAoC with the Age of Atlantis expansion, EA did with SWTOR, SOE did with SWG, EA again with Ultima Online on the Age of Shadows expansion, Turbine with AC2, etc.  The list can go on and on.  

Then you have execs in the business like  John Riccitiello, Bobby Kotick, etc that run some of the major studios who would not know a good game if someone plastered their office with it.

The industry is full of people who do not have a clue how to make a good game and unfortunately many of them are in positions of authority.  

Despite all this, we still get a good game occasionally.  The unfortunate problem with MMO's is they take a lot of money to produce hence you always have to get the money boys involved and it usually goes downhill from there.



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Joined: 3/18/11
Posts: 1126

What is "real"? How do you define "real"?

10/08/12 2:46:06 PM#20
I agree for the most part.  I would only add that while I think all the developers of a game (that is, the people actively involved in the creation of the game) should be gamers, I don't think it's necessary for all the execs of a company to be gamers.  I do think a majority of the execs should be, though, and those people would be the ones that teach the others the ins and outs of gaming.  So, while a CEO doesn't necessarily need to be a gamer, he or she should surround themselves with gamers and actively pursue knowledge of the gaming industry.  IMO that would just make him/her a more effective CEO.  This would apply to pretty much all execs.

You want me to pay to play a game I already paid for???

Be afraid.....The dragons are HERE!

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