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  • The Disciplines

    [06.03.09]
    - Albert T. Ferrer

  • Other Jobs

    Community managers. Community managers are involved with the online community aspect of a specific game title. They manage and tend to the concerns of the game players through forums, web sites, email, and chat rooms. The community manager then relays those concerns to marketing teams, publishers, or the developers, operating as the liaison between the public and the people behind the curtain. This is most often seen when developers release beta test versions of their games for the public to play, and the players in turn send feedback, bugs, or other concerns to improve the game.

    Play testers. Play testers are unpaid game testers who play the game much like a focus group. Play testers are different from testers and focus testers in the sense that the information obtained from a play tester is more about the individual’s thoughts about a game (rather than seeing their opinions as representing a market share of potential customers). Their job isn’t to find bugs, but rather to share their overall thoughts on a game.

    PR and marketing. Public relations and marketing people are important to getting a game exposure and into the field of view of the consumer. Marketers use the power of the press, advertising, mailing lists, and web sites to entice players to purchase their games. PR people entice the press to review their games or otherwise mention it in their publications. Getting preview and review copies of games to the media early can help or hinder a game’s success. They work with publishers and producers to determine the timing of the marketing, sending out press releases, and launching video teasers, trailers, screenshots, and other assets.

    The press. Journalists, video game reviewers, the media, or simply “the press” are critical to the success or failure of a game. Their opinions or ratings of a game are highly influential to consumers; they can sway the purchasing decisions of the public. Through the internet or print media, journalists write reviews, previews, commentary, opinion-editorials, and features about video games and the game industry. They are the source the consumer looks to and trusts to get a serious opinion on the latest games. Many game writers get their foot in the door by writing on their own time, either via a blog or on forums, where editors of magazines and professional web sites see their work and make contact with them. A formal education isn’t required to become a game journalist, but knowledge of grammar, sentence variation, paragraph and story structure, and copy editing goes a long way.

    Tech support. Tech support, also known as “production technology” or IT, is the backbone of any game development studio. Within a developer lies a large complicated network of servers and computers that the technical support staff maintains, doing much more than doling out keyboards and computer monitors. They make sure that the valuable information stored within the studio's network is secure. An understanding of networking and programming languages, such as Python, is important. Every game company requires tech support to run a fast network of computers and servers, and to meet the everyday technical needs of employees at game companies.

    HR. Like any other employer, game studios need human resources professionals. HR staff help manage employees’ benefits, protect employees, and typically have to have an understanding of state employer laws. HR staff are also an integral part of recruiting, hiring, firing, and training employees. They keep track of all employee information, and are typically the first people an applicant meets during an interview. Although HR is an administrative role common to all businesses, game companies like to hire people who love video games and know a thing or two about them.

    [Albert T. Ferrer is an artist, animator, and freelance contributing game writer from Vancouver, currently working in the game industry.]

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