For thousands of High School seniors nationwide, the decision of what to study has become increasingly daunting. But despite the recession, there is one field that has grown steadily in the face of economic adversity: programming. But what you may not expect is that one of the most lucrative skills that a programmer can have today is to learn how to create mobile games, and it isn’t as difficult as you may think.
Coding is becoming one of the most important skills to know, so much so that schools across the country are beginning to offer it in increasing amounts. It also shouldn’t come as a shock that of the various careers available to the nascent programmer, video games are clearly the most lucrative. But, in an industry dominated by big budget titles with remarkable graphics and gripping storylines, why would anyone want to learn to make a mobile game instead of the next Call of Duty?
While the reason may not seem obvious at first, the answer is simple: time and money.
Nearly everyone has a smartphone or tablet these days, and of course, one of the first things people began using these devices for was entertainment. People of all ages, many who had never held a game controller in their hands before that point, now found themselves playing Angry Birds while riding the bus or Tiny Tower as they sit in a doctor’s lobby.
But the accessibility of mobile games is only one of the reasons for their success. Over time, video games have only become more complex and difficult to produce, with hundreds of developers now required to spend years working on a video game intended for the PC or gaming consoles, costing the development studio millions of dollars. The problem then becomes obvious; there risk in creating a new game is significant, and so numerous ideas for video games never come to fruition.
Mobile games, however, are quite the different endeavor. Taking only a handful of people to produce over only a few months, mobile games pose a much smaller hurdle in video game production. This ease in creation allows the programmers to take much bigger chances in creating a game. With the new business model of free to purchase games with ad-support, they also allow consumers to try games out more willingly than they would their $60 competition on consoles. And if a game is a hit, then those few programmers can parlay their successes into even larger ones.
“The barrier to entry now is a lot lower for people who want to start their own thing. This is the opposite of a meltdown, out of all this change there has been a rebirth of creativity.” Said Bryna Dabby, former EA employee and founder of the mobile game company Nine Tail Studios, which has only ten employees.
Realizing the potential that small groups of programmers have to make massive successes out of seemingly simple games, numerous companies have begun to up the ante by offering incentives for new developers. Gamefly, an online rental service for video games, recently announced a project to help sponsor new developers of mobile games with the intent of eventual hosting within their rental services.
Obviously, the time has never been better for the aspiring programmer. With a vibrant market and open playing field, mobile games hold a wealth of opportunities just waiting to be exploited.