10 Gaming Careers You Could Pursue Right Now
© Jonathan Ferreira / Red Bull Content Pool
Long gone are the days when gamers where seen as lazy couch potatoes. Today there are some solid salaries and travel opportunities involved and a gaming-related job is seen as a cool profession.
These 10 experts briefly explain the basic requirements needed to join each of their respective fields in the gaming industry.
- Gaming Café Owner
- Gaming Show Presenter
- Gaming Team Manager
- Professional Gamer
- Gaming Commentator
- Game Reviewer
- Cosplay Artist
- Game Designer
- Events Organiser
1. Gaming Café Owner
Moloki Mosome is the owner of Viral Gaming Café in Ster-Land, a cinema complex in Arcadia, Pretoria. This successful, one year old gaming café is one of the many pop up gaming cafés mushrooming around Pretoria central and the eastern suburbs.
RB: Is starting a basic gaming café expensive?
Moloki: You don’t need lots of money, with a budget of R60 000 and an understanding of gaming culture, one can start a gaming café. You just need to find the best location where rent isn’t expensive. Buy consoles, TVs and market the place.
RB: What's the best thing about owning a gaming café?
Moloki: Being in charge of my own income and having fun playing video games with the guys.
2. Gaming Show Presenter
Pippa Tshabalala made history as host of the first live video game TV show in South Africa, The Verge, which ran for four years until 2012.
RB: What is required to be a video game show presenter?
Pippa: A good knowledge of your topic is essential, whether that is gaming, fashion, sport etc. If people ask you questions you need to be able to answer them, not rely on the team around you otherwise it's not authentic and the audience knows it.
RB: What's the pay like?
Pippa: It's not bad money. You invoice per episode, so it really depends on how many episodes you're doing in a month. That was never my only job as I worked as a content producer on the show as well.
RB: What are the rewards of this job?
Pippa: For the most part it's working with a cool team who share your passion for the topic. You get to meet interesting people, play video games for work... what's not to love really?
3. Gaming Team Manager
Michele 'Stickalish' Brondani is co-founder of Goliath Gaming, one of the biggest gaming teams in South Africa, which has signed various e-sports champions who've dominated major eSports competitions locally.
RB: What is required to start a pro gaming team/Multi Gaming Organisation (MGO)?
Stickalish: Any business needs capital/funding to get off the ground..Other key requirements are an understanding of business & branding & a good eye to identify the right players, communicating with them & managing their competition logistics & practice hours.
RB: How can people pursue this career seriously?
Stickalish: Start your own MGO or approach an existing MGO to discuss opportunities of managing them...It also helps to look at other well established gaming teams/brands...The SA industry is still a bit young compared to international market...Generally people didn’t start with the aim of managing an MGO it was kind of a progression from gamer to manager.
RB: What’s the pay like?
Stickalish: The reality is that our gaming industry is still developing (well, I might add). But honestly, people shouldnt become an MGO manager for the money because there are very few people who can run an MGO full time without another income...As with any career, if you have passion, clear goals and consistency, it will absolutely bear fruit at some point.
4. Professional Gamer
Julio 'Beast' Bianchi is one of the lead FIFA 18 players for local gaming team Goliath Gaming and the world. In 2018 alone he has won some cash in FIFA competitions, and he is also ranked 24th globally in FIFA 18 for PlayStation 4.
RB: What is required to be a professional gamer?
Beast: You need to be extremely competitive, consistently playing, and know how to persevere when you suffer losses...Believe your the best!
RB: How can you become a professional gamer?
Beast: Participate in as many gaming tournaments as possible and approach eSports companies asking them to sign you up. Hopefully in future gaming can be included in school curriculums and the Olympics.
5. Gaming Commentator
Sam 'Tech Girl' Wright, editor of Tech Girl magazine, and an ESL shoutcaster, is one of the noticeable desk hosts and shoutcasters making a mark locally and overseas.
RB: What is the difference between a shoutcaster and desk host?
Tech Girl: A shoutcaster commentates on the game live as its happening, while a desk host questions a panel of experts and analysts in between games to get more insight into the game and the players' performance.
RB: How can people get into this job?
Tech Girl: Start casting! Phone some friends and ask if you can spectate their games. Commentate and record yourself or stream it live. The more you cast the better you get. There are many free online resources available or you can also seek professional sports broadcasters to help you with tone, flow & pace.
6. Game Reviewer
Marco Cocomello is editor and manager of one of the country's leading gaming websites Glitched Africa. He also produces gaming content relevant to the industry at the time and reviews and scores new games.
RB: What kind of writing careers are available in gaming?
Marco: You can write gaming storylines or write about new games eg: 'Top 5 Games of 2018' which is what I do.
RB: What is required to own or manage a gaming site?
Marco: Anybody can blog about anything they love so I guess you need to love what you are writing about...Glitched has been built on the passion for gaming, good ideas and cool content so if you had to work for the brand you would need to be able to do those things.
RB: What's the best part of your job?
Marco: I have travelled the world and I am only 28 thanks to being able to attend conferences for brands that need you to cover their products overseas. The free swag is always cool too as events you attend are often littered with shirts, lanyards, USB sticks and much more. But to be able to play something super-anticipated two weeks before it releases and write a review and film and edit a cool video review for the world to see is my favourite part of my job.
7. Cosplay Artist
Charl Bubb is a member of the World Body Painting Assosciation & the owner of Airvolution Studios, which specialises in spray painting bodies, murals and hosting airbrush classess. His intricate Spiderman/Venom body art design caught a lot of attention at Comic Con Africa...
RB: How has the boom of the video game industry and events like Comic Con Africa effected the local costume design business?
Charl: We usually do corporate events and photo shoots, but have seen an interest in body painting with corporate clients like Cool Ideas who hired us to paint comic and gaming characters at Comic Con so yes there is definitely more interest in it now, and the pay can be good if you find the right clients or sponsorships.
RB: Do people need to study this at fashion school or can you jump in if you are naturally good at costume design?
Charl: I think for cosplay artists they do need to have a basic idea of how to make a costume. As a body painter I am a self taught airbrush artist although I did study Graphic Design when I left school.
RB: Which video game/comic characters have you designed for cos play models?
Charl: We've painted Spiderman, Batman, Lara Croft, Deadpool, Wolverine, Hulk to name a few.
8. Game Designer
Semblance, is the name of the first ever Nintendo Switch game released by an African studio. Nyamakop, a small start up owned and run by Cukia Kimani and Ben Myers from Jo'burg, is still making international gaming headlines after releasing Semblance in mid 2018...
RB: What's the best thing about being a video game designer?
Ben: It's probably the travel! Cukia and I visited 25 cities across 5 continents in 18 months while developing Semblance. We went to places like Brazil, Japan, and all over Europe and the USA. You learn about new cultures, people, and meet incredible game developers.
RB: What is required to design a hand held console based video game like Semblance?
Ben: You got to get a team together to do art/animation, sound design, music, programming, and game design at the very least! Each of those skills have their own software, but the results all end up in a game engine... For a console game you usually need a specific piece of hardware, called a 'development kit' that you use to test the game on before sending it off to a given console's certification programme.
RB: Did Semblance make your rich?
Ben: Rich in wisdom maybe? Honestly, Semblance was our debut game and we weren't planning for it to make us piles of money. We just used it as a way to break into the industry in terms of contacts, visibility, and experience. It definitely did that...
9. Events Organiser
Michael James is the Senior Project Manager at rAge gaming expo for the past 16 years, he has been running NAG (magazine/website) for 20 years and Rush event for 2 years.
RB: What are basic requirements to host a large gaming event?
Michael: ...I think the easy answer is what everyone always says, passion. But what does that mean? From my perspective I love gaming and popular culture. I play the latest games, I read everything new in the gaming, technology and geek industry every single day (even on weekends) and I love everything about it, since the age of 10.
RB: How has the boom of the video game industry influenced gaming related events in South Africa?
Michael: There are more people doing more things around gaming than ever before...It’s just not growing lightning quick because the advent of online game sales hurts the whole local industry because none of that money goes into South Africa. So try and buy a game in a shop every now and then if you don’t. Esports is an area that has a lot of potential for careers (everything from shout casting to production to playing and organising events)...
RB: What are the rewards of this job?
Michael: Seeing an empty venue fill up with cool things in the space of a week. The number one thing I love the most is seeing thousands of people with the same interest and passion as me come to my event and love every second of it.
Gabriella Rego is founder of Urban Espresso, a boutique public relations company which includes Goliath Gaming as one of its leading clients
RB: What is your role as a PR agent in the gaming biz?
Gabriella: I manage the PR for a local tournament organiser and content creator; and for Goliath Gaming – ensuring they are regularly featured in the right media channels in order to raise their profiles and build credibility; communicating key messages to their respective audiences and more.
RB: How do you take care of professional gamers in your organisation?
Gabriella: It’s my duty to ensure all players within the MGO are profiled regularly within the media (gaming media and mainstream media) – to build their own personal brands and profile, and by association raising the profile of the MGO.