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4 Reasons NOT to Become a Game Developer
by Jeremiah Goerdt on 07/01/13 12:26:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutraís community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


If you're reading this, you probably have some silly idea in your head that you want to make games as a hobby or a career. Well, I'm here to help you realize that you couldn't be more wrong.

Let's break this down into some common reasons why people think they want to become a game developer. Then I'll smack some sense into you and show you why these are bad ideas.

Game developers make millions of dollars and I want fame and fortune!

It is common knowledge that people who make games are millionaires and I understand the draw to having pockets full of cash for minimal effort. I'm sorry to tell you this, but spending a couple weeks on a game and making buckets of cash isn't going to make you happy. It will only make you sad.

Think twice before you turn your hobby into a career because you won't be satisfied. You should just find a job at a software company and  squash bugs all day. You won't make as much money but it is much more rewarding.

I don't care about the money. I want to follow my dream and make games that I want to play.

I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but if you make video games, you aren't going to want to play them. If you are one of those crazy people who makes a game that you want to play, you will regret it.

When you finish your project and look back at what you've created you are going to be disappointed. Having a finished piece of art that makes you proud of what you've done is overrated. Making clones of popular games so that you can get people to play it is a much better idea.

It feels great to work hard on something that you create yourself.

This sentiment is a common one, but I don't think that people realize the flaw in their reasoning. The problem with this is that you are assuming making games is hard.

You may remember from the first point that if you make video games you will become a millionaire. This is true, but the worst part is that it takes no effort. Anyone with a computer and a basement can spend a couple hours per day after school and pump out stunning video games.

If you are someone who wants to be proud of your work because it's difficult and rewarding, look somewhere else. Making games is not for you.

Working for yourself and having creative control is all I care about.

Oh man are you misguided. If you have ever actually worked for yourself you would understand that it's not what it's cracked up to be. Trust me on this, you should just find a boss who doesn't understand the people that will be using your products.

Once you get control over your job and your life you will miss the way things used to be. It's nice to always know what you have to do because your boss always has more mindless work for you to do.

For now, that's about it and hopefully you leave here with a better idea about what making games is like. Let's recap just to be sure:

  1. Don't make games for the money. The millions that you get won't make you happy.
  2. Making games that you want to play is unrealistic. You're better of copying what other people have done.
  3. Producing great games is easy so you won't have the pride of working hard on something.
  4. Working for yourself and having creative control is overrated. You'll be happier taking orders from people who don't play video games.

What misguided reasons do you have for making games? I'd love to put you in your place and show you how ridiculous your dreams are.

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Jeff Murray
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Jeremiah Goerdt
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Rodrigo Abreu
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I'm brazilian and also a web programmer, actually a game programmer on my spare time. The software market in Rio de Janeiro is not bad, there many companies and they pay considerably well. All I can say is that working for the market will not make you happier, also. I believe that what we have here is some frustrated programmer that could not meet success on game dev, and is also trying to destroy others' dreams. The life is hard but if you guys have some talent and is a good programmer, full of creativity and good ideas, why not to try?
There are different kinds of people, and I believe that creative people always will feel sick and tired of been locked inside a company, 8h/day, working on something that is not challenging, is not funny and is not yours. In my oppinion game development (even more if you're indie) is for creative, strong minded and commited people, not for everyone.

:) keep the hard work, if you believe you can.

Viliami Tuanaki
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Making great games is not easy.