Influences

Impact of technology and technical development

The games industry is slowly changing because of the impact of technology and technical development, downloadable games are becoming more common, systems like Steam are massively successful , this is largely because of the convenience of downloadable games. With some exceptions downloadable games can be a lot cheaper than disc based games largely due to cutting out most of the middle men and getting the game straight to the consumer.

“Whether it is through better graphics, multiplayer gaming, ornew user interfaces, a la Microsoft Kinect, the video game industry will always be in a state of progression. We are now at the beginning of the next progression: gaming-on-demand.”

On-demand gaming can help prevent piracy as it will make it harder to copy games and hack consoles. The gaming industry has lost a large amount of money due to piracy, between 2004-2009 worldwide the industry lost “$41.5 million” and in 2010 the UK games industry lost “$2.31 million”.

With gaming On-demand being cheaper this would be a huge benefit to those playing games as in 2009, in the USA, consumers spent an amount that would equate to $138 a year each and in the UK in 2009 consumers spent “£3.78 billion” collectively.

info from http://www.scribd.com/doc/79424012/The-Impact-of-Technology-in-the-Gaming-Industry

Legal issues and statutory controls

Software licensing

Nintendo were one of the first companies to introduce software licensing to the video game industry and some people were not happy about this “I think we actually had our golden age when game development was using floppy disks and it was an open free platform when we could all make games like we wanted to make…Nintendo came along and software licensing came in and we’ve been in a dark age since then”. Although some people didn’t like this it was important “The licensing model was one of the most significant changes to the games market when it arrived hand in hand with the console boom. Until that point coders were free to publish whatever they want on whatever they want, as is still the case in the creativity-rich PC software sector. However, the likes of Nintendo and Sony changed this by requiring titles pass their certification process before being released on their machines”. Info from http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/hawkins-blames-software-licensing-for-creativity-decline/082258.

Copyright laws and practice

“The legality of cloning a video game has been an issue for the industry since its conception. In 1976, Ralf Baer, creator of the Magnavox Odyssey console, settled with Atari out of court over claims that Atari’s version of Pong was an unauthorized copy of the tennis game for the Odyssey system. In present-day law, it is upheld that game mechanics of a video game are part of its software, and are generally ineligible for copyright”.

There are certain aspects of a game that can’t be protected by copyright such as “the idea for a game, its name or title, or the method or methods for playing it”  but “The underlying source code, and the game’s artistic elements, including art, music, and dialog” can be protected by copyright law.  Info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_clone.

Intellectual Property rights (IP)

This is along the same lines as copyright, this is important as it protects most aspects of someones game. “Intellectual property laws are designed to protect different forms of subject matter, although in some cases there is a degree of overlap. These include Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks, Trade secrets, Semiconductor chips and Industrial design rights”. Info from http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/Intellectual_property.

Tax and national insurance

The games industry maybe getting a planned tax break in the UK, “Chancellor George Osborne said he planned to introduce corporation tax relief from April 2013 for the video games, animation and high-end television industries”. Info from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17464478. It is still unknown if the tax break will happen as there is an EU investigation into the plans but if it does then it will be a huge boost to the industry.

Health and safety

There is not a lot of information about health and safety in the games industry but I did find some health and safety tips from Xbox.com for when you play video games but they could also apply for people working in the games industry. The website breakdowns the key things to consider when you play games.

” Position: Make sure your position is not encouraging discomfort….

Breaks: Stepping away at regular intervals is important.

Health: Keep a balanced and healthy lifestyle.” Info from http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/healthygamingguide

These same tips can be considered for working in the gaming industry as well as the users of their product. If you sit in an uncomfortable position it will affect your posture, sitting in front of a computer screen will affect your eye sight over time so it will help if you take regular breaks and keeping a balanced and healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, it is especially important for people in the games industry as most of your time is spent indoors and in front of a computer so it is important to keep active.

The computer screen aspect to working in the gaming industry is quite important.

“Computer workstations or equipment can be associated with neck, shoulder, back or arm pain, as well as with fatigue and eyestrain…Surveys have found that a high proportion of DSE workers report aches, pains or eye discomfort. These aches and pains are sometimes called upper limb disorders (ULDs), which can include a range of medical conditions such as RSI. Most of these conditions do not indicate any serious ill health, but it makes sense to avoid them as far as possible…That doesn’t mean that DSE work is risky – it isn’t. ULDs can be avoided if users follow effective practice, set up their workstations properly and take breaks during prolonged use. By just taking a few simple precautions, work with DSE can be more comfortable and productive”. Info from http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/dse/

So their can be problems with working with a computer screen but they can be avoided.

Business and financial support

IDEAScotland is a company that helps people start up their business and focus on digital media businesses.

” IDEAScotland™ is a business accelerator programme designed to help start-up digital economy entrepreneurs of any background or experience attract valuable investment to build a sustainable and profitable business…We are looking for start-ups and development opportunities seeking to capitalise on the connected digital economy. We are particularly (but not exclusively) interested in businesses in the digital journalism, digital entertainment, big data and learning technology spaces.” Info from http://www.idea-scotland.co.uk/

This would be helpful for companies that are fairly new/small that have good ideas and are quite ambitious.

The website business.scotland.gov.uk has some helpful info on how to start up a business. This first piece of info is an overview of the basics of starting a business.

“As well as your product or service, you will need to think about what you will call your business, what sort of structure it will have and how you are going to run it. You should also think about how you are going to attract customers and where you will get the money for starting up.” Info from http://business.scotland.gov.uk/view/guide/starting-a-business-the-basics

This covers most of the basics to consider when starting up a business. This is not specifically aimed at the games industry but it is relevant for anybody starting up a business no matter what industry.

Grants and loans

Scottish Enterprise would be a great place to get a grant from as they already support one of the largest video game based companies in Scotland and that is Rockstar North “the internationally recognized video game development studio based in Edinburgh”.

“Rockstar North, the internationally recognised video game development studio based in Edinburgh, has been awarded an R&D Grant from us. The grant of just over £1 million is a 15 percent contribution towards an £8 million R&D project, and has, to date, created 25 new high value jobs in the Edinburgh and Scottish video game sector”. Info from http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/resources/case-studies/pqr/rockstar-north.aspx

Since a massive, successful company like Rockstar is partly funded by this grant it is safe to presume that it would be a good place to receive some help when starting a business.

Industry and professional associations, societies, guilds and unions

The Scottish Games Network (SGN)

” The Scottish Games Network now offers a single unified and strategic contact point for Scotland’s diverse games sector, as well as opening the sector up to the wider cultural and creative industries, both nationally and globally. The Scottish Games Network is open to every company and organisation involved in the video games and interactive industries. Not simply developers, but technology companies, animation specialists, audio companies, publishers, retailers, media, freelance staff, contractors, academic institutions and the government.”

“The organisation pro-actively identifies new projects and opportunities to enable the games sector to grow, evolve and prosper, moving beyond advocacy and representation to pull together the individuals, companies and organisations across the country, providing strategic insight, research, create new opportunities and organise incredibly cool events”. Info from http://scottishgames.net/2013/10/07/the-scottish-games-network-launches-as-scotlands-video-games-industry-body

They are looking to find new projects and opportunities to showcase to others so that the gaming sector will grow. This is needed for the smaller companies/ people in Scotland who are doing amazing things but are not getting noticed, it will shine a light on their talents.

Gaming Industry- Jobs

Games Industry

Game designer

Job 1:

An experienced game designer tasked with working with a small, professional development team, looking for the challenge of adapting of creating new mobile games and brand spin offs on mobile platforms.

Job Duties:
– Deliver innovative and engaging designs within the scope, the technical limitations of the target platform and the constraints of the project schedule, all the while maintaining Superhippo standard of quality.
– Manage a title through its whole life cycle from high concept and complete design brief, to final reference builds.
– Retain core game balancing and overall game experience values.
– Create mock-ups and prototypes of game play mechanics, menus and user interfaces.
– Clear and concise game design communication and with team members, brand champions, and senior management.
– Consider broad, long-term design strategies beyond individual products or platforms.
– Ability to use constructive feedback through review process and ability to update design based on these internal and external reviews.
– Strong ability to work with review teams, make design updates as needed to attain approval at each milestone in a timely fashion.
– Provide and accept critique in a fair, balanced and constructive manner.
– Remain current on industry trends, new genres and interesting game design methods and techniques
– Driving the mobile studio to unique IP development.

Skills/Qualifications:
– 2+ years working in Mobile Games industry.
– Worked on at least 2 freemium games.
– Excellent analytical, facilitation and organizational skills, with a strong command of written and verbal English.
– Work closely with artists, producers, programmers and QA to create a feasible design. Must work well in a closely knit team environment.
– Proven ability to write detailed technical design documentation and maintain it throughout the development cycle.
– Observe and analyze user testing and recommend design solutions.
– Able to both conceptualize and implement game ideas using various tools and technology.
– Good knowledge of handheld and mobile devices, their limitations and capabilities.
– Broad knowledge of the casual games industry.
– Provide insight and counterpoint to your peers.
– Be disciplined, self-managed and motivated.
– Able to multitask and be flexible about changing role requirements.

Desired Skills:
– Knowledge of audio file formats and sound editing software is an advantage.
– Basic knowledge of artistic and animation techniques and graphics editing software.
– Familiarity with programming language basics.
– Familiarity with basic project management and associated software.
– Creative writing skills”.

Advert from http://www.gamesindustry.biz/jobs/superhippo-games/ireland/uk-and-europe/game-designer-id63295

The salary for this specific job is negotiable but according to creativepool.com

A new computer games designer with previous industry experience could earn around £19,000 a year.
With experience, this could rise to between £25,000 and 35,000.
A lead designer may earn between £35,000 and £55,000″. This gives you a rough idea on how much you could make as a game designer.

http://creativepool.com/articles/jobdescriptions/games-designer-job-description

Superhippo Games

Location: Superhippo Games are located in Dublin, Ireland.

Products: They create games for mobile platforms.

Size: They are a young company with a small group of employees but they seem ambitious. We are a young dynamic team with more than 40 of the most passionate developers, designers, marketers and artists on board. The future is mobile, and we intend to lead the way”. Info from http://superhippo.com/

Job 2:

Nordeus is looking for talented Game Designers to manage the design effort of the new and existing games. We are looking for skilled and creative people, confident in the face of new trends and ready to work on the cutting edge of the industry.

What you will be doing:

Create game features for new or existing games
Model and tune game mechanics and economies
Define user experience and user interface
Write copy, names, and narrative elements of a game
Analyze real-time feedback and metrics, and adjust game designs accordingly
Work with product manager, developers and artists to oversee the implementation of new features and systems
What you should have:

Excellent mathematical and analytical skills
Strong written and verbal communications skills
Strong knowledge of game balancing and pacing
Ability to visualize and describe user experience
Familiarity with online/social game space
Passionate about making and playing games
Pluses:

Shipped games
Experience in designing games with strong social component
Experience in system mechanics and/or UI design
Computer science/software development background
Adept at using spreadsheets, word processor, UX mock-up editors and presentation programs”.

Advert from http://www.nordeus.com/job/game-designer/?gclid=CNakwcTP9bkCFW3KtAodGw8AtQ

Nordeus:

Location: They have people working in Belgrade, San Francisco, Dublin and Skopje” http://www.nordeus.com/about

but they are based in Belgrade http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordeus

Products:The Company’s first product was Top Eleven Football Manager, an online football management game for Facebook which has grown steadily since being published in May 2010.[7] Top Eleven has more than 6M Monthly Active Players on Facebook, more than 2 million downloads of Android version and more than 800K downloads of iOS version. Since May 8th 2012 it is available on of the biggest Russian social networks – Odnoklassniki”.

Size: Nordeus is a relatively new company, it was founded in 2010, has 75 employees and has only one game but the game is very popular with more than 11 million monthly and 5 million daily users on Web, Android and iOS devices”. Info from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordeus and http://www.nordeus.com/about/

Job 3:

Crytek UK, located in Nottingham, are looking for a talented Game Designer to join the team. Working on both single and multiplayer experiences the successful candidate will become a key member of a creative group looking to shape the next wave of exciting triple-A first-person shooters.

Responsibilities

•    Using the CryENGINE Sandbox level editor to develop fun, engaging gameplay experiences
•    Design, plan, setup, script and tune levels from concept to completion
•    Work with designers and other disciplines to drive the quality and vision of both content assigned to you and the game as a whole
•    Ensure deadlines are met to the highest possible quality
•    Conceptualise and evaluate design ideas
•    Use Office / PowerPoint to document and present design concepts
•    Perform extensive playtesting and iteration on game content

Requirements

•    Understanding of game design theory such as accessibility, pacing and balancing
•    Outstanding team player with the ability to collaborate and communicate in a positive manner
•    Willingness to take design feedback when offered
•    Work well under pressure to meet deadlines
•    Experience playing first-person shooters
•    Demo / video examples of relevant work (e.g. personal portfolio or content created in a shipped title)
•    A general passion for video games along with a desire to make the best games possible and be part of the Crytek team

Preferred

•    Previous experience of building levels in a visual game design tool such as CryENGINE Sandbox
•    Prior knowledge of visual scripting (using CryENGINE Flow Graph, Kismet or similar) to define and develop gameplay logic
•    Demo / video examples of a level or gameplay sequence created using CryENGINE

Please note we are unable to employ anyone who does not have the legal right to live and work in the UK. Due to the Coalition Government’s interim immigration limits Crytek UK Ltd’s ability to sponsor employees under Tier 2 (General) of the Points Based System is very limited. Candidates from outside the EEA are therefore encouraged to explore immigration routes which will allow them to work in the UK without such sponsorship”.

Advert from http://crytek.com/career/offers/overview/nottingham/design-content/gdesign-content

Crytek:

Location:Crytek has its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, with additional studios in Kiev (Ukraine), Budapest (Hungary), Sofia (Bulgaria), Seoul (South Korea), Nottingham (United Kingdom), Shanghai (China), Istanbul (Turkey), and Austin (USA)”.

Products: Crytek makes many high-end games that have received many awardsIts award-winning games include Far Cry®, Crysis® (Best PC Game of E3 2007), Crysis® Warhead (Best Graphics Technology at IGN Best of 2008 Awards), Crysis® 2 (Best Shooter of E3 2010 and Gamescom 2010), Fibble – Flick ‘n’ Roll, Crysis® 3 (Electronic Playground Best of E3 2012 and Most Valuable Game from PC Gamer E3 2012), and Warface® (Best Social/Casual/Online Game of Gamescom 2012)”. They also have there own game engine, the CryENGINE The engine was awarded the ‘Best Simulation in Real Time’ at the IMAGINA Awards 2010, as well as the ‘Most Innovative Technology’ at the European Innovative Games Awards. It is not only used throughout the gaming industry, but also in fields such as architecture, simulation, and learning and development”.

Size: Crytek are a massive company, they have headquarters around the world, have countless award and they have strong business partners such as EA, Microsoft game studios, Amazon, Apple, etc.

Location, products and size info from http://crytek.com/company