How to get a job designing video games: ‘Every Game You Like Is Built on the Backs of Workers.’ Video Game Creators Are Burned Out and Desperate for Change

A decade ago, a company would release a video game in a box, players would go to the store and buy it, and there wouldn’t be any updates or changes unless there was a sequel. But today, more than 90 percent of video game consoles are connected to the Internet, said Mat Piscatella, a video games industry analyst with research firm NPD Group. That has allowed game studios to constantly update and refresh their existing games, in part through “DLC,” or downloadable content, like new weapons or levels that players can purchase. Gamers now expect and demand such content, which studios can profit handsomely from — putting yet more pressure on workers for months or even years after a game’s release date. “Now, games are living, breathing worlds, and they can receive updates for years,” says Piscatella. Game company Take-Two Interactive, for instance, said in its annual report in May that digital sales made up 63 percent of revenue in the most recent fiscal year, up from 52 percent in 2017.

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