Exodus, or just re-Genesis?

An article on Gamasutra that went up last week, "The Great Video Game Exodus," humanizes the GDC 2018 State of the Industry survey report with lots of great interviews from people with varying levels of video game industry experience, and is definitely worth a read.

However, as pointed out in the comments for this article, GDC (who shares a parent company with Gamasutra) isn't the only acronym organization that does game developer surveys. The data point that 32% of respondents had worked in "the industry" for fewer than 6 years should be nothing new to anyone familiar with the IGDA Developer Satisfaction Survey, done annually by that organization to its membership. As Tanya X. Short points out, the number of respondents to that survey working fewer than 6 years were:

2018: 32%
2017: 48%
2016: 46%
2015: 48%

So, where's the exodus? It's nothing to brag about if the number of experienced employees drops at a rate of half every 6 years to only one-third (roughly,) but it's a progress that ought to be considered.

Games are still a young industry compared to just about every other way to create and sell art and entertainment products. There are a lot of comparisons that can be made, and best practices that those in charge of the business end can adopt and discover, to make their operations run better.

In the meantime, there is no shortage of people fascinated by video games to the point of inspiration. If you're one of those people, you should very carefully plan your careers starting well before you land that first job. Look out for opportunities to improve yourself and your craft, and show others what you can do. And, if you meet someone on the way out, stop and talk. Learn as much as you can on your way in.

That's what we're helping people to do at Game Lab. Keep us in mind!

John Henderson