Games Producer

Introduction

Games Producers play a vital role in the complicated production of computer games. You will basically be managing the whole project from start to finish, including the production schedule, budget, and development team, as well as working closely with the marketing, advertising and public relations side.

Video: - Alex: Associate Games Producer

Work Activities

Games Producers play a vital role in the production of computer games. You will basically be playing the role of a project manager, overseeing and managing the project as it progresses.

As a Games Producer you will have one of the most important roles within the gaming industry. It will be down to you to manage the production schedule, make sure everything is operating within budget, co ordinate the progress of the development team, and work closely with the marketing, advertising and public relations departments.

So there is hardly an element of the computer games development process which you aren't involved in!

You might be working closely with a creative director to see the project through to completion. The creative director will deal with the actual artistic creation of the game, the graphics, the sound, the colours etc. You must work closely with them and co ordinate their plans with the rest of the team(s).

You are there primarily to make sure the left hand knows what the right is doing - that each department works closely together to achieve the same final goal - a great new game.

Artists sometimes don't like to rush their artistic process - so the Animators, Audio Engineers, and Games Writers might need to be kept informed of any deadlines, and hurried along if necessary. You must regularly meet with all the teams involved and establish milestones and targets. If these deadlines aren't being met then action must be taken. The teams must also be aware of any financial restraints which might effect their role.

As the game development process is nearing completion, you must then develop a marketing plan with the marketing team. How are you going to sell it, and to whom?

Personal Qualities and Skills

As a Games Producer, you'll need:

  • a good knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, computer games. Play lots of games!
  • to understand the technical side of computer games development. Learn about coding and games design. This will help you to manage different technical teams succesfully.
  • to have made your own computer games. The are plenty of tools to help you, such as GameMaker and Unity 5. You will develop the skills required to impress any potential employer!
  • to get some work experience in the world of business, learning how businesses function.

You will also need to be:

  • a natural leader - able to take positive control of a project.
  • able to work under pressure to meet deadlines.
  • prepared to keep up to date with developments in the gaming world
  • patient and painstaking, as developing a new game from scratch is a long and demanding process, and you may need to go back to the drawing board many times as the process develops.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

Salaries for Games Producers vary depending on the range of their responsibilities and the size and type of company they work for.

The salaries given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £25,000 - £30,000
  • With experience: £35,000 - £45,000
  • High flyers: £60,000+

Your salary might include performance-related pay, profit share or company bonuses.

Hours of work

You would usually usually work 35-37 hours, Monday to Friday. However, late finishes and some weekend work are often required, especially as deadlines approach.

Demand

The computer games industry is one of the fastest growing areas of the entertainment industry. There are currently 1902 computer games companies operating in the UK (A Map of the UK Games Industry - NESTA).

However, it is very hard to become a Games Producer, as 95% of these companies are small businesses, who employ a small number of people, and so opportunities are very rare.

Where could I work?

Around one half of all computer games companies are based in London. However, significant computer games industry 'hubs' are growing in the following places:

  • Brighton
  • Cambridge
  • Cardiff
  • Dundee
  • Edinburgh
  • Guildford and Aldershot
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Oxford
  • Sheffield and Rotherham
  • Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon.

This career could involve working for an agency.

Future skills needs

Technical skills are highly important in this industry. However, employers have also highlighted the need for the following non-technical skills:

  • teamworking skills
  • good communication skills
  • business skills.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in specialist magazines/websites such as Edge and Develop, on IT job boards and employers' websites and in national newspapers.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

So, how do I become a Games Producer?

Although it is a very exciting job role that will appeal to many many people, there are few vacancies for Games Producers in this country. It is vital that you look for other employment first, before considering a move into this area.

What other employment could you do that could help you one day become a Games Producer?

There are no qualifications aimed specifically at this career, but experience in a similar environment is vital. If you can show that you understand how businesses like these function and that you understand the games development process then you will stand a much better chance of being successful.

Roles which will help you to gain that vital experience include:

  • Project Manager, preferably within the IT industry
  • Website Manager
  • Product Manager - preferably within the IT industry
  • Any sort of work experience within the computer games industry will help your cause.
  • Workbased experience where you can show that you took an idea from its conception through to the finished product - and that the product was a success.

It would also be great if you can show that you are familiar with the latest Management Methodologies, such as AGILE or SCRUM.

These fantastic career options will all give you excellent project management experience.

But what else can you do to get into this area?

Networking is an important way of getting your face known. Visit Computer Games companies and speak to them - ask if you can get some work experience, even if it is answering the phone and making the coffee - it all helps to get your foot in the door.

Talk to Games Producers and Creative Directors - find out as much as you can. Follow them on Social Media and engage in meaningful discussions with them.

Create you own computer games and take part in GameJams. A quick Google search will show you where and when the next GameJams are taking place.

Or take a look at:

www.globalgamejam.org/

Eventually, you will need to knock on doors and find a suitable role - and all of the above will improve the chances of you being invited in for a chat!

Work Experience

Previous experience working in website management or project management would be really useful for this career.

Qualifications

There are no specific qualifications for getting into this career. However, we recommend that you consider working in another career first, and so you will need to look carefully at that careers required entry routes and qualifications.

Here are some suggestions to help you take those first steps towards becoming a Games Producer:

For many Project Management roles you will need a degree or equivalent, possibly in a business subject.

For entry to a degree course in a business subject, the usual requirements are:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
  • English and Maths at GCSE.

Alternatives to A levels include:

  • BTEC Level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

The BTEC Level 3 qualifications 'Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals' or 'Computer Games Development' will help you to stand out from the crowd. See if a college close to you offers this qualification.

To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A*-C or 9-4, including English and Maths, and possibly two A Levels.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

The Tech Partnership

Skills for business and information technology

Address: 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR

Tel: 020 7963 8920

Email: info@e-skills.com

Website: www.e-skills.com

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Association for Project Management (APM)

Website: www.apm.org.uk

Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Tel: 01536 204222

Email: enquiries@managers.org.uk

Website: www.managers.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Tech Partnership

Email: info@thetechpartnership.com

Website: www.thetechpartnership.com/

People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales

Email: peopleexchangecymru@gov.wales

Website: www.peopleexchangecymru.org.uk/home

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