The idea of “The Playful Kraken” has been in my mind for several years. It has slowly grown into far too many related topics and questions. For that reason, I would like to write about the difficulty of getting a job in game development companies, and the incompatibilities of the current game education and the needs of the Game Industry companies.
The formal research topic is actually ”The coverage and distribution of game education in Finnish educational institutions compared to the Chips of Competence and the Game Industry as a whole, as well as the global game education range/selection aka The Playful Kraken.” However, the difficulty lies in the definition of “Game Industry” (“Video Game Industry,” 2022; Zackariasson & Wilson, 2012) which entails more than just development, marketing, and monetization of video games. Even specialized reports about the Game Industry (Team Neogames, 2021) seem to deal mostly with the game development side of the industry. In the broad sense the Game Industry would involve everything related to games from their development to enjoying them and to realizing diverse ways of game-related events and by-products so familiar to gamers. Of course, Esports (“ESports,” 2022) is also a growing area that is easily defined under the same concept of the Game Industry even though it has been deemed an actual sport.
Consequently, the definition difficulty should be further investigated within the hypernym ’Game Industry’. The Game Industry in its broadest sense can be much more than just the basic definition of game development (“Video Game Development,” 2022) or game production, which is usually the thing that is taught in many institutions around the world. The question then remains: is it even necessary to redefine the Game Industry term or is it just enough to map and compare the needs of game industry to the education provided? At least more in-depth concept analysis would be useful in deciding which term or terms to use and describe the phenomenon, whether there should be a different hypernym altogether.
Without a more detailed analysis, it is evident from Table 1 that different search engines provide different results when searching with the different combinations of the search terms “game”, “games”, “gaming”, “industry”, and “sector”. This is probably due to search engine optimizations. Theseus was the only search engine which seemed to identify all the variations of the word game in its searches. The search hits in Table 1 have been highlighted and stylized in the following way for each search engine and search term or combination of terms:
- Most hits = Green / Bold
- Second most hits = Yellow
- Fewest hits = Blue / Italic
In the search results the conjugations of the word have been simplified in the following way:
- 1 = game
- 2 = games
- 3 = gaming
It is an interesting observation that the word “industry” appeared to be more closely tied to the word “game,” while the word “sector” seemed to be more tightly coupled with gaming. But the most interesting finding is that the word “games” lacks any connection to the words “industry” or “sector.” In Janet.finna database similar search hits could be explained by the search engine optimization between the words “game” and “games.”
Table 1. Search terms and hits per search location
The Game Industry attracts increasing amounts of interested young people to the education institutions in the hope of being able to professionally realize themselves as game developers in their respective fields. But in the end, the game creation process is a job like any other job, and the lack of varied game industry related specialty skills, other than those related to game production, might make it harder for the graduates to get a job in an already competitive industry.
“The Playful Kraken” tries to tackle the immense amount of information by explaining the basics, the terminology, and by producing a set of resources as well as more defined questions, which will help develop the available Game Industry education to match the industry needs. In the end, the research can take many forms and give answers to already existing questions, but the actual goal is to map the potential of Finnish game education compared to global education options. For this purpose, a research team of Game Industry experts is a necessity. It would be beneficial, since there will be many research and development topics to continue to work on after the initial charting research, and a group would have a broader view of the challenging topics. So, a team of experts handling copious amounts of data sources and information as they were individual tentacles, hence “The Playful Kraken.”
Risto Koskenkorva (Certified Professional Teacher (JAMK), M.Sc – IT (JYU), Game Industry Veteran) works as a senior lecturer in Jamk BIT Game Production. Specialized in Game Industry (Game Development, Game Production, Game Programming, Game Engines, 3D Art & Animation, Game Publishing, Game Entrepreneurship, and Leadership & Management).
Esports. (2022, May 2). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Esports&oldid=1085525414
Team Neogames. (2021, June 8). Finnish Game Industry Report 2020 [A report created by Neogames in collaboration with the Finnish Game Developer Studios Assn., Business Finland, City of Helsinki, and interviewed game studios]. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://neogames.fi/category/publications/
Video game development. (2022, May 27). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Video_game_development&oldid=1090114373
Video game industry. (2022, May 31). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Video_game_industry&oldid=1090783816
Zackariasson, P., & Wilson, T. L. (Eds.). (2012). The Video Game Industry: Formation, Present State, and Future (1st ed.). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203106495
Read the other parts of ”The Playful Kraken” series: