What Does it Take to Be a Video Game Manager?

By Milica Kostic | September 30, 2020

Recent reports show that the gaming industry will reach a revenue of $159.3 billion this year. That’s almost three times the worth of the global entertainment industry and about eight times what the music industry makes. It is a lucrative business that will keep on growing in the years to come. Whether you’re a gaming enthusiast or not, this might be the perfect time to find your place in this field. 
Creating a video game is a complicated process that can involve hundreds of people with various skills and duties. These include programmers, graphic designers, animators, writers, and testers. To keep that developmental mess from losing focus, most company directors rely on video game managers. It is a fairly new job title that merges creativity with the business side of things to ensure good results. Of course, that’s just one part of it. There’s plenty more hiding behind that one name.

Types of Managerial Jobs

When someone mentions a video game manager, they could be referring to a number of different jobs that all play a crucial role in the production. Some of the most popular occupations right now include:

  • Video Game Development Manager

This is the person responsible for streamlining the game development process, making sure the deadlines and quality requirements are met. However, even after the game is released, managers need to think about product placement and gaining feedback from the public. Depending on the predefined roles within the company, this can all fall within the duties of a single manager or be delegated to other, more specific roles.

  • Marketing Manager

As the name suggests, a marketing manager focuses on the promotion of the game, which takes place both before and after its release. There are plenty of different strategies managers can use, but it all comes down to creating “hype” on the market and showing off the game on the right channels. In fact, most AAA studios will spend the majority of their game budget on marketing efforts because that’s what eventually sells the product.

  • Community Manager

Community is such an integral part of every gaming project nowadays that it requires special treatment by a dedicated professional. The main goal is to keep the fanbase active and happy. The role combines customer support and social media management but can also go way beyond that. Whatever it takes to keep the community alive and well is at the very core of this role.

Job Requirements

The majority of jobs in the gaming industry today don’t require a formal degree of any sorts. Instead, focus is placed on demonstrable skills and talent above all. If you prove to your superiors that you can do the job successfully, you can get a job with practically any level of education. Now, considering there are different types of video game management roles, they may have different job requirements based on specific duties.

  • Video Game Development Manager: Understanding the Mechanisms

The development manager acts as a link between different parts of game production, studio executives, and the marketing team. This means you need to be good at juggling different elements and making sure they all fit together by the end. It’s a perfect job for people who have a natural knack for organization and can easily communicate their ideas to team members.
One of the biggest challenges is getting yourself acquainted with all the parts of the process. It usually requires some experience, which is why people don’t normally go head-first towards this position. It’s more of a long-term plan where you start at the very bottom and work your way up. For example, you can start your career as a writer, creating scripts with dialogue and scene descriptions. After that, you can be a game designer, putting the pieces together and coming up with a gameplay. Once you master those positions, you’ll have a better grasp of the process and be able to organize it more effectively as a development manager.

  • Marketing Manager: Setting the Scene

The job of a game marketing manager is not much different than marketing in any other industry. A big part of it is researching the market and coming up with viable marketing strategies. You need to have a good understanding of how promotions work nowadays, with the emphasis being on social media and trending gaming platforms. 
Basically, you need to have good analytical skills and be able to crunch the numbers down to get something useful from them. If you’re only just starting out in this line of work, you should consider learning more about social media ad management, user acquisition campaigns, and influencer marketing. Nowadays, everything is done online, so make sure you know your Facebook and Google ads as well as some SEO techniques.

  • Community Manager: Keeping in Touch

Although it’s not a necessity, most community managers evolve from regular game fans. They decide to use their vast knowledge of the game to help out other players and improve their overall experience. Simply put, the best way to know what the community needs is to be a part of it yourself. This is especially important for online multiplayer games that can only survive with an active player base. With the growing popularity of esports, the focus has also shifted towards tournaments and the ever-growing betting community.
One of the essential qualities of a community manager has to be patience. Players tend to get frustrated and annoyed when they encounter a problem, which can sometimes turn into personal attacks directed towards the manager. Despite that, the studio representative has to maintain a good level of professionalism and composure. It is a plus if the manager shares the passion for the game and can understand the challenges of the community.

How to Choose the Right Position

Now that you’re familiar with some of the most common managerial roles, how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Well, you’ll need to ask yourself a couple of questions and find out where your passion lies.

  • A game development manager requires a slow climb through the ranks and a holistic approach to the process. It’s a good opportunity for detail-oriented people who have exceptional organisational skills and can mediate between different departments.
  • Marketing managers understand the ins and outs of online game promotion. They know what streaming platforms are popular and who are the best influencers for the job. The position requires someone who is always in touch with the latest trends.
  • A community manager usually shares the passion for the game with the fanbase. This is an excellent option for people who want to be a part of their beloved game and work on making it even better.