Day in the Life of a Video Game Designer


Updated September 13, 2022

Discover what a day as a video game designer looks like. Explore workplace settings and typical responsibilities to find out whether this career is right for you.

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Video game design can offer creative and tech-focused career paths. Designers in this field create layouts, stories, characters, and other artistic elements of video games.

Now is a promising time to enter the field as video games continue to increase in popularity. Payscale reported that video game designers earned an average annual salary of $66,890 as of March 2022.

This page covers a typical day in the life of a video game designer, including typical tasks and work environments.

What Is a Video Game Designer?

Video game design is a cross-disciplinary field that incorporates computer science and computer programming, graphic design, user experience, and creative writing. Video game designers create new video games and improve existing ones. They also brainstorm plots, settings, characters, and rules.

These designers need storytelling, user experience, and web development skills. Becoming a designer usually requires a bachelor's degree in video game design, computer science, computer programming, or a related field. After graduation, an internship or entry-level job in the industry can help individuals develop the skills to pursue higher positions.

Video game designers usually collaborate with programmers, artists, animators, and other designers.

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What Does a Video Game Designer Do?

A video game designer helps create the design, layout, and story of a video game. They develop a game's characters, parameters, and scenarios from their ideas or based on existing concepts.

Designers provide the artistic direction that brings a video game to life and makes people want to play it.

Creative people who enjoy working with technology in a collaborative environment may thrive in this role. Potential challenges include the difficulty of breaking into a competitive field and the stress of working under strict deadlines.

Below, we describe five key job responsibilities of video game designers.

Video Game Designer Job Description

  • Create and Direct Games: A video game designer's job description includes using artistic and tech skills to develop game plots, rules, and characters. Sometimes, video game designers devise ideas on their own. Other times, companies hire them to create games based on existing properties.
  • Improve Game Quality: Video game designersimprove designs for existing games and projects in the development process. These professionals may make games more playable, refine overall concepts, and enhance the appeal for players by conducting user experience tests.
  • Meet with Clients: A day in the life of a video game designer may include meeting with existing or potential clients to discuss ideas or provide updates on current projects. Video game designers need to listen to feedback and communicate effectively with clients.
  • Research Developments in the Field: Video game designers must follow new developments in the market to understand what types of games people want and keep an eye on the competition. Staying up to date on new technologies and trends in the industry can also lead to ideas for new games.
  • Train New Team Members: Video game designers usually work with teams and ensure that everyone communicates with each other. Some video game designers train new team members and get them up to speed on current projects.

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Where Do Video Game Designers Work?

Video game designers can work in various settings. Typical work environments include offices and remote workplaces for major game publishers, independent game studios, and mobile game companies.

Major Game Publishers

Major game publishers like Sony, Nintendo, Tencent Games, and Microsoft employ many video game designers. The large companies in this category often publish, release, and distribute video games. Some, like Nintendo and Sony, develop games exclusively for their video game consoles.

Independent Game Studios

Video game designers also work for smaller independent game studios. Indie studios may be more likely to take a chance on an experimental game that does not fit the mold for what typically sells well. These studios typically do not rely on publishers and self-publish their games using crowdfunding and other financing strategies.

Mobile Game Companies

Video game designers can find an increasing number of career opportunities at mobile game companies. These companies create games for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Gamers can purchase mobile games through Apple's App Store and Google Play. Look for video game design opportunities at mobile game companies like Supercell, Niantic, Tencent, and NetEase.

Designers may find pros and cons working for each of these employers. The workplace can affect a video game designer's job duties, pay, number of job openings, and work settings.

In general, major game publishers may offer more jobs and better pay than indie companies. However, indie companies may offer greater freedom to experiment and more work flexibility. As mobile games become more popular, new designers may find more and better-paying opportunities in this area.

Questions About Video Game Designers

What does a video game designer do day to day?

A day in the life of a video game designer may include developing plots, settings, and characters for games. Designers also meet with clients to discuss projects and work on improvements for existing properties.

Is video game design a good career?

Video game design can be an excellent career for creative, artistic people with strong technology skills. Video game designers can earn competitive salaries, especially as they gain professional experience in the field.

How do I start a career in video games?

Earning a bachelor's degree in game design, computer science, or computer programming is a good first step toward a career in video games. Completing an internship either during or after college can provide an opportunity to get your foot in the door.

Is it fun being a video game designer?

Being a video game designer can be a very fun career. These designers usually get the chance to use their artistic and technology skills on creative products designed to produce entertaining, interactive experiences.

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