I’m sure a lot of people think that a career in games means sitting at your desk, since there are some great gaming desks online for playing games, and staying snug and warm in your own little swivel chair fort in the corner of the office. Sorry to burst your happy little bubble. It is in fact, the complete opposite.
In order to make it in the games industry, you need to socialize. A lot. Networking is one of the most important key components to getting yourself work, having people recommend you for work, and generally getting yourself known within the game development community.
I am currently enrolled in a course called Incubator, a course specifically designed to teach game developers how to build a company from the ground up. We recently had the pleasure of having Yug, creator of AustralianGamer.com, creator of the oh so awesome Mana Bars, and Marketing/Advertising Manager for MCV Pacific come in and talk to us about the importance of networking and how to go about it.
The first thing he mentioned was the need to make a presence within the game development community. This means going OUTSIDE (I know, scary) and attending social media events. You can check out whats going on at sites like Tsumea, MCV Pacific, and the Digital Labourers Federation (sign up to the forum) [Editor’s Note: The DLF site is currently down, due to be brought back online in April]
When meeting people at such events, it’s important to know the difference between developers, distributors, publishers and retailers.
For example, distributors won’t know how much effort was put into the game or the texture resolution of the environment, and developers wont know how distributors communicate with the retailers to get a game out to the people. Just be sure that when you speak to someone, you know what kind of questions to ask.
After you meet these people initially, you’re going to want to stay in touch. When you send them an e-mail, don’t make it formal and long. Seriously, who actually reads long 3 page emails? At most they will skim over it then it’ll be forgotten.
What you need to do is keep it short and personal. Ask them how they’re doing, invite them for coffee or find a link that you think would interest them and send it their way. That’s all it takes to keep the relationship going.
I can say honestly from my own experience that all this works. Thanks to Yug’s talk on networking, I am now having coffee with Clinton Keith, scrum master of the gaming development world. Just because I sent him a friendly e-mail. Don’t be shy! Get out there and meet like minded people. It’ll benefit you both socially and professionally.