Layoffs are sweeping through the video game industry.
Companies impacted by recent employee cutbacks include Unity, which maintains a popular platform for building video games; Riot Games, creator of the ultra-popular “League of Legends”; and Microsoft’s game studios, including 343 Industries (maker of the “Halo” franchise). That’s in addition to cutbacks at Fandom, which runs popular gaming media outlets such as Giant Bomb.
“This process, while hard when it leads to difficult decisions that impact programs and people, allowed us to identify where we need to double down and invest more to get closer to our goals, ultimately resulting in cutting programs and projects that did not make sense to continue in the current economic climate,” a Unity spokesperson told SFGate.
The cutbacks in the video game industry come as some of the largest companies in tech, including Google and Microsoft, unleash significant layoffs. What’s driving these actions? Fears of economic uncertainty and a possible recession have made executives everywhere take another look at corporate expenses, especially after the massive spending (and lightning-fast hiring) of the past few years.
Even as companies are hit with layoffs, though, it’s important to note that the overall tech unemployment rate remains 1.8 percent, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. From manufacturing to finance, industries across the country need tech professionals who can do everything from maintain websites to secure tech stacks against internal and external threat.
If you’re interested in a career in video game development but can’t find opportunities that excite you (at least for the moment), keep in mind that many of your skills are transferable to other areas of tech. According to Lightcast, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, here are some of the essential skills for game design and development:
- Game development (of course)
- Level design
- Epic Unreal Engine
- Adobe Photoshop
- Art Direction
- Microsoft C#
- 3D Modeling/Design
- Software Engineering
- Gaming Industry Knowledge
Many of these skills (especially programming languages such as Python and C++) are in demand in other industries. And if you want to stick to gaming, keep in mind that it’s a huge industry still generating lots of revenue—companies will inevitably need to hire more tech professionals to build the games everyone loves.