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How To Hire Game Developers For Building Your Next Game?

According to the 2020 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, approximately 5.6% of developers worldwide are game developers. This number is growing year by year — to no surprise. The gaming industry is one of the most valued digital and entertainment markets to invest in. In 2020, the global gaming market was valued at over 160 billion dollars — and reports suggest that this number may pretty much double by 2026.

The gaming industry is also one of the most desired ones to work in by developers. This is caused by the fact that many IT experts got interested in technology and coding because of their early love for video games. Even nowadays, according to the aforementioned Stack Overflow survey, 15% of developers tend to play games when they get stuck at work. While playing, many developers often imagine their own perfect game and later try to turn this vision into reality. 

Interestingly, game developers are also one of the groups in IT most actively looking for a job. With so many talents ready to join your game development team, how can you make sure you hire game developers who can truly deliver the results you need?

Read on our guide to learn about all the ins and outs of hiring game developers.

What types of games are there?

The first thing to consider when you want to hire game developers is what type of game do you actually plan to develop? This is especially important to setting up the expectations and the technical requirements for your candidates.

The most important categories to consider are:

  1. AAA games

    Most often developed for PCs and consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo). They tend to have a high budget and are published by the biggest players in the industry, such as Electronic Arts or Ubisoft. Due to the high budget of AAA games, companies working on them can hire game developers with years of experience in the industry who have already worked in huge teams where each dev has a different role to play.

  2. Indie games

    This term evolved during the last two decades. At first, indie games were smaller experiences, often developed by single developers or tiny studios of friends. While such projects still happen today, the term indie started to be associated with virtually any game that doesn’t meet the AAA standard. Even the industry giants, like Electronic Arts, sometimes help publish a game that could be called an indie.

  3. Mobile games

    An industry that sky-rocketed since the birth of the iPhone and App Store. While mobile games sometimes take the approach of classic indie games or even AAA games and are sold for a one-time fee, the more popular system nowadays is the F2P (free-to-play) model — the initial game download is free but the product is filled with optional microtransactions.

  4. Web games

    While the web games industry is not as important now as prior to the mobile games era, there is still a lot of potential in it. Modern web games can be accessed using virtually any browser, including those on mobile devices, and utilize the F2P model.

  5. VR games

    The recent rise in popularity of virtual reality goggles is slowly changing the gaming landscape. With the launch of the low-budget, easily available Oculus Quest goggles, the industry left the early adopters era and started to become an interest of more and more game developers. The rumored launch of Apple VR goggles will surely power up the industry even more.

What game developers do you need?

Your budget and the size of your game are both important factors to consider when you hire game developers. 

Smaller mobile games or indie games are often work of micro teams where there are only two or three programmers. On the other hand, bigger projects require a set of game developers of varied specialties. AAA companies often post job offers for roles focusing on one aspect of the game — e.g. the combat system, the AI of enemies, or the online features.

The bigger the game, the more elements it consists of — and the more talented developers the studio needs in order to get the project completed in an efficient manner.

The technical skills to consider when you hire game developers

It’s virtually impossible to create a unified list of hard skills required for a game developer. The needed skill set will simply vary too much depending on the type of game you are developing as well as its scale.

There are, however, some areas of hard skills that you should definitely write down before you start the hiring process. We list the most important ones below.

  1. Experience with relevant game engine

    The two most popular game engines are Unreal and Unity. They both offer free versions, making them accessible for both small and huge developers.

    There are also less robust game engines, used most often by indie devs. These include Construct, GameMaker, Twine, Godot, and many more.

    Of course, some companies also hire game developers who are experienced enough to build their own in-house engines. While it will take money, time, and resources, it’s sometimes the preferred option, as game engines can be reused by the company for their later projects.

  2. Proficiency with relevant programming languages

    The choice of the programming language depends on the game engine chosen. For example, Unreal Engine uses C++ while Unity leverages C#.

    A separate group to consider here are mobile and web games. The first ones often require the knowledge of platform-native languages (Swift for iOS, Java or Kotlin for Android); for the latter, you need to hire game developers with experience in both front-end and back-end technologies.

  3. Experience with version control

    Version control tools allow developers to track changes in the game’s code and revert them fast in case of any major bug. A crucial thing in the era where new game patches have to be released sometimes even on a daily basis.

Don’t underestimate the soft skills!

Creating a game is a creative process for everyone involved, including the more technical part of the team. To make sure everyone cooperates well and delivers amazing, innovative solutions, consider the following soft skills when you hire game developers…

  1. Expert time management

    To swiftly fit new tasks into the daily work plan.

  2. Attention to detail

    To deliver as smooth, issue-free experience as possible.

  3. Desire to learn new things

    To enjoy exploring new ideas in the game development world and translate them into a final product.

Finding game developers that truly fit your business

There is a vast selection of game developers on the market and not every single one of them will be a good fit for your company. How to make sure you hire game developers that will get the job done truly efficiently? Look into the two following categories of the company fit.

  1. Product fit

    There are game developers experienced in platforming games and those with years spent on building RPGs. There are experts in shooters and those who would rather spend time on developing visual novels.

    Whatever type of game you are developing, try to find and hire game developers who have already built a similar product. They will already have a handful of solutions to help you speed up the development process.

  2. Company culture fit

    The gaming industry might feel like one with a rather unified work culture — but it’s actually far from true. It’s different to work in an AAA studio with hundreds of other people and for an indie dev with only a small office (or even no office at all!).

    Make sure to carefully review the values that are important for your company and your preferred management style. Do you aim for diversity? How do you approach the problem of crunch (work after hours to deliver the final product on time)? What is your position on remote work?

    Compare your answers with the preferences of your candidates and hire game developers who truly fit your company culture.

Who else will you need — how to hire game architects and other gaming experts?

Game developers, even the best ones, are usually not enough to build a fantastic gaming experience. You will also need to hire game designers, level designers (game architects), and other experts responsible for everything from the sound of the game to how it looks.

Whatever type of gaming industry veteran you are currently looking for, we can help you find them fast. At Ideamotive, we run the industry-leading network of IT experts from all disciplines. We can help you find and hire game developers, game designers, and other similar experts who truly fit your project and your business as a whole.

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