Recruiting in the gaming industry is no small task, as the market itself is estimated to be worth nearly $200 billion. From eSports and virtual reality to mobile gaming, the gaming landscape covers a lot of territory, and it’s only getting bigger. As the industry keeps on growing, gaming companies need to hire the best and brightest.
The guide below will help you better understand how to approach game recruitment and find the best talent, providing an overview of the gaming industry, information about the most in-demand roles as well as a few recruitment strategies used by industry experts.
Gaming Industry Overview for Recruiters
The gaming industry has enjoyed unprecedented levels of popularity lately. According to one report, two out of every five people on the planet play video games. Another estimates that there are over 3.2 billion video gamers across the globe.
As the number of gamers continues to grow, so does the number of ways to play. Some of the most popular gaming companies making consoles include Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (Playstation) and Nintendo (Switch). Plenty of others make games for mobile devices and for PC — to keep up with the 42 percent of gamers who use a PC and 57 percent who use a smartphone.
Whatever the platform, these gaming companies all need to keep an eye out for top talent.
The Gaming Job Market
As the demand for video games grows, so too must the supply of the professionals who create them. That’s why the number of gaming jobs grew by 5 percent in 2021.
The number of gaming companies is growing too. As of 2023, there are approximately 3,500 video game companies in the United States alone. And that number has grown 5 percent every year since 2018. Even tech companies like Google, Meta and Apple have thrown their hats in ring, hosting games on their mobile apps and social media sites.
With this job growth comes new challenges for recruiters trying to fill open roles. Like most recruiters, ones that work in the gaming industry face issues like filtering applications into outdated systems, but they also tend to rely too heavily on cover letters and fail to provide applicants an opportunity to showcase their visual portfolios.
“In pursuit of suitable opportunities, talented game professionals can send hundreds of resumes for months into an unanswered void. It’s the result of the industry sticking with archaic practices and systems that waste time and effort for everyone,” Maya Rand, founder of The X Place, told Pocket Gamer. “As an industry that produces visually striking content, it’s underwhelming that the systems we all use today are driven solely by words, lots of words, entered in online forms. Professionals have very limited ways to be discovered and they don’t have opportunities to showcase themselves and their work with rich visuals.”
Gaming industry recruiters can overcome these challenges by prioritizing the in-demand roles, researching the games candidates have worked on and creating thoughtful career pages for their company.
How to Recruit for the Game Industry
The key to recruiting for any industry — not just gaming — is to keep a pulse on what are the most in-demand roles, what skills these roles need and where professionals with these skills can be found.
The Most In-Demand Roles in Gaming
By looking at all of the open gaming jobs listed on Built In, we found that most of them fall under four categories: software engineering, design, data and product. These disciplines will have the highest competition for candidates, but hopefully, with rising candidate interest, your biggest struggle will just be identifying the right match.
The engineering team of any gaming company is a critical unit of highly trained experts. Thirty-five percent of all the open gaming industry roles listed on Built In are software engineering and development related. We also found that the most commonly used coding languages in the gaming industry include:
Designers also play a critical role in creating visually aesthetic gaming experiences. Especially in an age when virtual reality and augmented reality are leading the industry, it’s critical to have top-notch designers to create a game with a better experience than your competitors. Designers account for about 20 percent of all open gaming roles on Built In’s site.
DATA and ANALYTICS
When you have thousands, millions, even billions of users playing your games, you’re generating tons of data — that, when analyzed thoroughly, can provide you with extremely helpful insights into what users like and what elements need to be added or changed. That’s where data analysts, who account for nearly 5 percent of open gaming industry roles on Built In, come in.
Anyone who knows anything about gaming knows that product launches are critical for the success of a new title. Gaming companies need experts to ensure all things are considered and thoroughly communicated before and while a new product goes live. It makes sense that product roles represent 5 percent of open gaming industry positions on Built In’s site.
Tips for Game Industry Recruiting
Recruiting in the gaming industry is competitive and costly. It can cost between $28,000 and $36,000 to hire a software developer. So how can recruiters combat these intimating costs?
Recruiting for unique roles, like game story writers, concept artists and gameplay designers will present unique challenges. Here are a few tips you can keep in mind:
Tips for Game Industry Recruiting
- Don’t only focus on candidates who have worked at big-name game companies.
- Research the games candidates previously worked on.
- Create a thorough, creative and informative career page for your company.
- Network in unique ways like hosting Game Jams and Hackathons.
- Use your passion for gaming to inform your decisions.
Whatever role you’re recruiting for, networking is an important part of the process. That could take the form of attending Game Jams or game conventions. Using the industry’s unique ways of connecting with each other can help recruiters find passionate talent.
8 Examples of Game Industry Recruitment and Career Pages
To help you brainstorm ideas for recruiting gaming candidates, we’ve gathered eight examples from gaming companies recruiting top talent.
Software engineers are one of the most difficult hires to make in the gaming sector. To combat this challenge, Zwift shared an in-depth article with interviews from three members of its dev team. This article provides candidates with employee testimonials, insider information on company culture and more.
Bungie’s career page hosts a wide variety of content that’s pertinent to interested candidates. From a blog that features company news, updates and information from its dev team to community service opportunities for employees and even this simple, yet very helpful tour of their studio.
Did you know 37 percent of candidates want to hear employee testimonials when researching a potential employer? The team at FanDuel isn’t shy to share why they love working for their company. You can find testimonials, company principles and more on their careers page.
Jackpocket knows that candidates have their preferred methods for job searching. To help simplify the process, Jackpocket encourages candidates to connect with them and learn more about the company and its culture on the platform of their choice.
On its careers page, Unity shares a unique series of videos that highlight different aspects of the company. Additionally, to help answer some frequently asked candidate questions, the company added a “Your Questions Answered” section to their careers page. This not only helps interested talent and candidates preparing for interviews research its company, but it also saves recruiters time answering simple questions.
PlayStation certainly wouldn’t be the brand they are today if it didn’t recruit the best of the best. In order to attract top talent, it has a number of in-depth employee spotlights, employee perks and its flex mode policy highlighted on its careers page. Additionally, PlayStation created a number of videos on careers, internships and departments that can be found on the company’s Youtube channel.
Geocaching created an Instagram account — separate from its business account — to share all things company culture and employer branding. The company regularly updates its account with new content, highlighting events, company outings, conferences, office pets, employee spotlights and more. It also designates a section of its careers page for this Instagram account so that candidates know where to find this additional resource.