Gaming: the world of work and play

With the sales of video games going through the roof, jobs in the industry are hitting new levels too, says Dan Poole

In its first week of sales in the UK, computer game Grand Theft Auto IV sold 926,000 copies, earning developers Rockstar Games a whopping £39.9m. Those figures are impressive enough in themselves; however, when you bring Chris Martin’s Coldplay into the equation, things – for once – become even more interesting.

As we went to press their latest album, Viva la Vida, had the highest openingweek sales in the UK this year. The figure? Just under 500,000 hard copies. So, is this an indication that computer games have become more popular than CDs among the buying public? Simon Soffe, head of communications at Game, has certainly noticed a resurgence in gaming products. “The people who make the consoles and the people who make the games have really aimed for a much broader audience. They have done that by showing the appeal and the level of entertainment that can be provided by video games.

“It has cut through the imagination of consumers of all ages. As a result, specialist retailers like Game, who are able to stock the entire range of products that are available, have been able to make the most of that success.”

Karl Johns, business sector manager at Sega, has noticed a marked increase in his workload. “Several years ago, it used to be a case of twiddling your thumbs when it wasn’t Christmas or Easter. Nowadays, release schedules are a lot more balanced, so you get very few dips.”

With the sector becoming such big business, a career in video-game retail is becoming an increasingly attractive option. That could be within a company such as Game’s head office, working in a specialist department, such as IT, finance, buying, logistics, HR or marketing. Relevant skills and experience are useful for these roles.

Depending on which department you were in, your job could involve liaising with the likes of Karl Johns; retail and sales are closely linked in gaming. “If we’ve got a game coming out, we’ll go and present that game to retailers,”

Johns says. “We’ll share our thoughts on the forecast numbers that we’ll do, the business plans that we have in and how we’re going to bring that game to market. Then we’ll share our thoughts with the retailer on how we’d like them to be involved in marketing activities and consequently how many numbers they should take as part of our business plan. There begins the negotiation.”

The alternative career route is to go into a store and work your way up from the position of sales assistant, or possibly higher if you already have a decent amount of retail experience.

A knowledge of the product on sale goes a long way too. “Video games aren’t as easy to buy as crisps or even music,” says Soffe. “There are different formats and different types of consoles available, so you need people who understand entertainment, understand video games and can communicate that with customers, putting the passion into retail.”

Even that initial sales assistant role is very involved. “New video games are launched every single Friday,” says Soffe. “That involves things like changing over the merchandise in the store, putting up new posters and generally altering the look of the store so that the new release is at the front, to help customers see it.”

From such beginnings, those who start as sales assistants have a fairly established route to the top. The next level up is deputy or assistant manager, then store manager, district manager and, finally, regional or area manager.

“Regional managers have a much wider brief,” explains Soffe. “It’s competitive – people always want to do jobs that are more senior – but we give them plenty of training and plenty of assessment before they go into it. We don’t put people into a job they’re not capable of. We’re very keen on training and there are a lot of people here that have been with the company for more than 10 years.”

All the evidence points to the video games industry being on the up and up, it seems. However, for those who do like the sound of it, will it still be a viable option a few years down the line? Will Grand Theft Auto V prove as popular as Grand Theft Auto IV? “There is a real buzz in the industry now,” says Soffe. “The innovation with all the products coming through is just fantastic. Three or four years ago, if you’d suggested that we would have anything like the Wii, people wouldn’t have believed you. It’s all happening and customers love it. We saw people queuing outside shops to buy Grand Theft Auto IV – that level of excitement doesn’t suddenly disappear.”



Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Data Analyst - Essex - £25,000

£23500 - £25000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Data analyst/Sys...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Account Manager

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Account Manager is r...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Manager / Sales Executive

£18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Account Man...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee