As the video game industry grows, more universities are creating curricula to support careers in video game design. These courses are usually offered within the computer science or media departments. Video game designers typically have a bachelor's degree in game design, computer engineering, or computer science which takes four to five years to complete. Courses in a game design degree program may include project management, integrated video design and technology, game prototyping and level design.
Computer games designers devise new computer games and define the way the game is played and the 'game experience'. They develop:
- the rules of the game
- the setting
- story and characters
- props such as weapons and vehicles
- different ways the game may be played.
It is part of their job to convince other members of the team to develop the game. They work with programmers, artists, animators, producers and audio engineers to turn their original vision into a working game.
Games designers work around 35 hours a week, but they may need to work longer hours as deadlines approach. They work in offices and spend long periods sitting at a desk using a computer or attending meetings.
Salaries may range from around £19,000 to £55,000 a year
Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft may have lost out to Apple in the war of hip digital products, but the company remains the king of the video game sector. They develop and publish games for the Xbox, PC Windows and Microsoft Phone platforms. They frequently work with third party developers under their publishing label.
Their bestselling game titles include the Halo franchise, Gears of War, Fable, Project Gotham Racing and Forza Motorsport.
In terms of sheer revenue, the Japanese consumer electronics company Nintendo is the largest video game company in the world. Believe it or not, though, the company actually got its start manufacturing cards in the late 19th century. Nintendo’s Wii, using motion controlling sensors, is the most popular game console in the world. As of September 2012, Nintendo had sold over 500 million video game units worldwide.
In addition to products specifically customized for its Wii console, Nintendo is also responsible for the hugely popular franchises Super Mario Brothers and Zelda.
Nintendo’s American headquarters are in Redmond, Washington. Yes, they do hire Americans.
Sony Computer Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of the vast Japanese electronics conglomerate. The company handles research development and production of games designed for their Playstation line. Their top selling games are the Call of Duty and Gran Turismo franchises.
Electronic Arts develops and publishes video games for a wide variety of platforms since it is associated with no console or game playing system of its own. The company is best known for its Sims, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need For Speed, Battlefield and Mass Effect franchises.
Toby Gard (born 1972 in Chelmsford, Essex) is an English computer game character designer and consultant, notably being part of the team that created female British archaeologist Lara Croft. Lara Croft was awarded a Guinness World Record recognizing her as the "most successful human video game heroine."
Kenneth Alan Lobb (also credited as Ken Lobb, KAL, and K. Lobb, born December 10, 1960) is an American video game designer formerly employed by Taxan USA Corp., Namco Hometek, and Nintendo of America, and currently employed byMicrosoft Studios as Creative Director.
Lobb was employed as Product Manager of Taxan USA between 1989 and 1991, where he worked on games for theNintendo Entertainment System such as Burai Fighter, Low G Man, and G.I. Joe. After Taxan closed down, Lobb was then briefly employed by Namco Hometek, where he worked on the localization of the Genesis versions of Rolling Thunder 2 andSplatterhouse 2. Afterward, Lobb was employed by Nintendo of America, where he worked on several games, includingGoldenEye 007, from 1994 until 2001. Lobb has been employed by Microsoft Game Studios since 2001.
William Ralph "Will" Wright (born January 20, 1960) is an American video game designer and co-founder of the game development company Maxis, now part of Electronic Arts (EA). In April 2009, he left EA to run "Stupid Fun Club", an entertainment think tank in which Wright and EA are principal shareholders.
The first computer game Wright designed was Raid on Bungeling Bay in 1984, but it was SimCity that brought him to prominence. The game was released by Maxis, a company Wright formed with Jeff Braun, and he built upon the game's theme of computer simulation with numerous other titles including SimEarthand SimAnt.