Video games have become more than a pastime. From what started out as hobbies or time-killers, video games have evolved into providing people more value than what we could have imagined years ago. From YouTubers like Pewdiepie and Twitch streamers like Pokimane, video games now offer more than just a simple distraction from daily life but are now considered income generators. And that’s just on the user’s end.
Behind the curtains, video game publishers and developers also make a ton of revenue creating games for people around the world–26% of the population, in fact. In 2020, the gaming industry generated $155 billion in revenue, and by 2025, analysts predict the industry will generate more than $260 billion in revenue. Today, the video game industry is larger than the movie and music industries combined. There’s no doubt that the video game industry has had unbelievable growth since its beginnings in the 1970s.
The Magnavox Odyssey, the first gaming console, was introduced in 1972. The development of video games from simple leisure to a form of entertainment and cultural expression signaled the start of the video game business. The success of the Magnavox Odyssey paved the door for the creation of more sophisticated gaming systems and an expanding market for video games. Video games have grown into a multi-billion dollar industry over time, with a vast variety of genres and themes that appeal to different demographics. They now serve as platforms for artistic expression, communication, and education in addition to serving as a simple form of entertainment. The development of video games from the Magnavox Odyssey to the current day demonstrates that they have definitely gone beyond simple entertainment.
So who are the people behind this enormous industry? If you’re aspiring to become a part of the community that creates new worlds for people across the globe, you should first have an understanding of what it means to be a game developer.
What is a Game Developer?
A game developer is a person or team responsible for creating and designing video games. They work on various aspects of the game such as programming, graphics, sound design, and even script writing among others. Because there are various mediums to enjoy games on, developers often specialize in a specific medium such as console gaming, mobile gaming, or PC gaming. This is because each platform has unique technical requirements and audience preferences, so developing games for these mediums requires specific skills and knowledge. By focusing on one medium, game developers can master the technical and creative challenges of that platform and create the best possible gaming experiences for players. Remember: understanding the differences between these mediums can help you choose the right path in your career as a game developer.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what it means to be a game developer, which medium for gaming should you focus on? Find out below.
Mobile, console, and PCs: Which should you focus on?
Since there are multiple mediums for playing video games, the same game can still feel different when played on a mobile phone versus a handheld console like the Nintendo Switch. Although they’re both handheld, the experience is definitely unique for each device. Even more so when the input mechanics change, such as a touch screen for mobile phones, a mouse and keyboard for desktops, and controllers for desktops and consoles.
Aside from the input mechanics differing, the specifications and capabilities of each medium vary as well. Definitely, desktops have the potential to be more powerful because of their upgradability (and if you have the cash) while consoles are generally more optimized since you can work on set parameters because console gamers usually have the same hardware with minimal changes between them. Mobile gaming is a whole different story because there are thousands of different phone models that are present in the market, so you have to choose a number of mobile phones that you’ll optimize for.
Because of these factors, choosing where to start or what to focus on can be challenging. But always remember that you don’t have to be stuck with one medium, since each device type has its own pros and cons.
Smartphones are becoming easier to purchase nowadays. Some even have top-notch processing units to accommodate demanding games. With smartphone gaming, it’s easy for people to game anywhere they want. This means that you can expect your games to be played more often since it’s more accessible.
Thus, the biggest reason why you should consider mobile game development is that the market is unequally larger than consoles or desktops. With that in mind, you might often see mobile games having cash shops where people can purchase in-game currency to help them advance their level or have an advantage over others. Because of this, the potential for monetization is boundless. That’s why it’s important to also learn the payment methods for both mobile platforms and create a plan to monetize the game. Sponsored ads and in-app game purchases are some of the methods you can use to gain money from your game.
However, creating a video game for mobile entails releasing it on Android, iOS, or both to reach a wider audience. Aside from that, it might be more challenging to optimize for different devices–specifically on Android since the majority of Android devices vary in screen size and tech specs.
The primary reason why you should consider working on console-first games is that it’s generally easier to work on in terms of hardware capabilities. Since each generation of console has a fixed specification depending on the manufacturer, optimization is more straightforward. You’ll be working on specific parameters since the graphics processors and other parts of a Playstation or Xbox are generally the same from a game design standpoint. The only problem then is that consoles are not upgradeable; it may be more difficult to optimize your games for consoles with older, more dated hardware.
Moreover, when people use consoles, they can’t usually pirate (or steal) the games that they play, so this means that the games you will be developing will more likely be sold rather than become a victim of piracy.
Another thing is that compared to mobile gaming, consoles have better hardware that enables you to create more visually appealing titles with more complex gameplay. With better hardware also comes better opportunities to tell greater stories and experiences, which is what most game developers aspire for. This brings us to console-exclusive games.
With consoles, there is a multitude of exclusive games that can’t be played anywhere except the chosen system. The likes of From Software’s Bloodborne (Playstation), God of War (PlayStation), and the Halo series (Xbox) can only be played on their respective consoles. Granted, all of the games mentioned above have also been released for PC gamers, although they had to wait a year or two to play these games.
Desktop game development generally has better capabilities than consoles but also has the problem of optimization similar to mobile games. Although you might start off with optimizing for a targeted minimum and recommended hardware, the variations of desktop computers and their respective specs can affect how your game will be played.
Despite that, it doesn’t mean that your game can’t be experienced properly since most PC games enable the user to tweak the game’s settings to ensure that they have smoother gameplay so you can leave some of the optimizations to the users.
Finally, since desktop computers can generally have better hardware than consoles, you can go all-out on the game design and complexity of your title and make it so that the user experiences the game as how you want them to.
Pursue Your Passion for Game Development at CIIT
Developing games for mobile, PC, and consoles are definitely in a field of its own, and having a good understanding of the pros and cons of each should give you a good idea of where to start.
In terms of starting, CIIT provides the best program for aspiring game developers—with the guidance of its founder, Niel Dagondon. Aside from establishing CIIT, Niel is one of the pioneers of end-to-end gaming in the Philippines who led a company that worked with global game publishers like EA, Activision, Big Fish, and Disney. Thus, you can be sure that you’d be getting one of the best education in Bachelor of Science in Entertainment and Multimedia Computing.
You’ll learn how to develop and use different game engines, like Unity 3D, React Native, and Blender. Plus, you’ll also have the opportunity of interning under the top game development companies in the country and abroad. Thus, CIITzens are developed to become highly competent practitioners in their respective fields and industries.
Our Bachelor of Science in Entertainment and Multimedia Computing program covers all aspects of the gaming industry to prepare you for a great career as a game developer.
Here in CIIT, we fully support your endeavors and hone your game development skills to become the next Anino Games founder and developers. Become a CIITzen today and enroll in Bachelor of Science in Entertainment and Multimedia Computing. Get to know about the course here!