Thirty-something odd years ago, electronic gaming was still a pretty niche activity, an interest reserved only for the geekiest of boys and men (if you think there aren’t enough women in the gaming hobby and industry today, you weren’t old enough to remember how it was before). In short, it wasn’t quite that cool to watch a bunch of big, blocky pixels bounce around on the television screens.
Today, the videogame industry is literally a multi-billion dollar global industry, with people from just about every demographic partaking of interactive digital entertainment in its many forms. Giants in the industry like Electronic Arts and Activision shell out multi-million dollar production and marketing budgets for their latest games; the logistics of which are on par or even exceeding that of some Hollywood productions.
Most people from my generation and upwards (I’m a Gen-Y gal), started with video games from the cradle onwards. It wasn’t an odd or dorky thing to be playing on a console or having a digital avatar in an online game; it was even expected, in some cases. Our folks were just as disappointed that some of us turned into video game junkies (even if their generation was the one that made videogames bloom beyond obscurity).
Now that we’re a little older and wiser (I’m hoping), all this exposure to video games and expectations of a career that will pay our bills and provide us the resources to raise our own progeny, do we consider all that time we spent gaming to be a total waste of time? For me, I don’t think it has to be that way.
Just from the top of my head, here are a few ways you can take advantage of your love for videogames and all sorts of digital entertainment:
Some gamers are more curious than others, and in their gaming pursuits, have always tried to look into the guts of games and tweak around with them. Games like the Elder Scrolls series by Bethesda even provide development kits for players who want to customize their gaming experience, basically making them amateur game developers in their own right.
If you have a Steam account, you will see that there are literally hundreds of small-time (or indy) developers making their own games and selling them via digital distribution channels. You don’t need a large studio or a big workforce to get started in developing games; all it takes is a few talented and passionate game developers, and a bunch of great game ideas.
Electronics and Games Retailing
Buying everything online isn’t quite the thing for everyone just yet, so there is still an opportunity for you to create a brick-and-mortar business that specializes in all things electronic gaming. This is especially more viable in places where internet access and electronic credit isn’t all that widespread yet, so people are still reliant on going to a physical store and purchasing these products.
You also have the option of going all-digital, as well. There are many online storefront solutions if you want to create your own website, or just jump into developed online shopping communities like eBay and start selling your wares from there. In either case, your extensive background in gaming and hardware related to video gaming will be a distinct advantage; you know what you are selling.
Sales and Marketing
If you’re not feeling particularly entrepreneurial at the moment, you can still be part of the industry by joining established companies that publish, market, or even develop these games. Armed with enough educational credentials (or savant-like skills that no diploma could ever match), you can immerse yourself in all the joys (and probably the seedier aspects) of being inside a videogame company.
I would still encourage that you harbor some dream of incorporating your very own company and becoming your own entrepreneur-driven outfit that can possibly make a mark on the entire industry. It can totally happen!
Small outfits that offer various game and metagame services can be found hawking their wares in most online gaming worlds. Their menu of services range from selling in-game currency (charging real money for it), leveling services in where they do the laborious process of increasing your character’s level and equipment, and other miscellaneous services that fall somewhere in-between those aforementioned two. They are anywhere from grey-area to illegal, depending on the policy of the company that owns and runs the games.
I wouldn’t exactly encourage anyone to partake or start their own little company that provides these services, but one cannot deny that they exist, and they can be lucrative. I leave it to your judgement and due diligence if you wish to incorporate a company that works in this seedier neighborhood of the industry.
There are many more ways to make use of your passion for videogames; they are only limited by your imagination. Keep on gaming, everyone!
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and makes use of services like MyCorporation when creating corporations or LLCs to house her new business ideas.