March 28, 2024
UI/UX Design

How Can a UX Designer Enter the Gaming Industry in 2024?

Are you a UX designer who loves gaming? Read on to find out how you can enter the gaming industry so that you can create multiple cool games.
Cristi Fonea
March 28, 2024
How Can a UX Designer Enter the Gaming Industry in 2024?

When people say that gaming brings people together, they are not wrong. Today, gaming ranks as the second largest media sector after TV. It has seen extraordinary growth in the last decade, and it is expected to reach 3.6 billion by 2025. 

If we were to ask players what made a game great for them, we would probably receive varying answers. Some people are all about the graphics and the visual side of things. Other gamers find the soundtrack to be the factor that makes or breaks a game. However, the thing most of us will remember is the user experience. There are about 5 million games out there in the world and UX designers have never been more instrumental in making sure that these provide great experiences to the players. 

What Does a UX Designer Do in Gaming?

The main role of a UX designer who works in the gaming industry - a game UX designer -  is to understand and gather information about player behavior and preferences and create a good user experience. After they have received the needed feedback from users, they have to adjust the game to fit their likings. A good UX designer will create an immersive and engaging user experience for the players. 

The purpose of a game UX designer is not to create the entire gameplay. Rather, they make sure that elements such as controls, UI, and navigation, are all accessible and intuitive for users. This role can entail a number of responsibilities:

  • Research. This is the first step a UX designer needs to take to analyze their target audience. They will also need to determine the goals of the game.
  • Analysis. Whether they gathered data through surveys, testing sessions, or other channels, Game UX designers have to analyze the information to take further decisions about the game. This step usually involves creating prototypes.
  • Collaboration. An important part of the product design process is the cooperation between different departments. The game UX designer needs to collaborate with the game developers and the rest of the team to make sure that all the game components blend together.
  • Onboarding. Before diving into the actual gameplay, users need to be taught the rules and mechanics of the game. For this reason, UX designers create immersive tutorials.
  • Usability. There is one factor that game UX designers always have to consider in the creative process: that all users will find the game accessible. 
  • Design and Testing. After a palpable product is finished, it needs to be tested with players. This often results in useful findings that can be implemented to improve the user experience.
  • Launch. The last step involves planning out the official launch, as well as potentially enhancing the game after the post-launch feedback.

What Skills Does a Gameing UX Designer Need?

1. Contextual Thinking

There are so many gaming genres nowadays, ranging from RPGs to first-person shooters, all the way to strategy games. When a user purchases a horror game, they will not expect to see cute animals baking cakes all throughout the gameplay. It is important that a game UX designer is very familiar with the elements that make up the genre they are working with to create an interesting and fitting user experience for players. 

Another thing to keep in mind during the design process is the device on which the players will engage with the game. UX designers need to be accustomed to the consoles or the computers on which the game will be launched because they dictate what type of controls are suitable.

2. Inclination to Arts

Just as much as a designer has to be technically skilled, they also have to be artistically inclined. The visual art of a game is instrumental in the design process. A game is similar to a visual novel, it conveys a story. 

Because games create environments for users to express themselves, they are often considered to be an art form. Understanding concepts such as modeling, texturing, and animation are essential skills. It is hard to imagine that a UX designer with no artistic background would be able to delimit styles and leave a long-lasting impression on players. 

3. Communication

Game UX designers need to collaborate with members of different teams, from gaming developers to artists. This is why they have to be able to clearly express and explain their work and findings to other colleagues. 

Sometimes the UX designer gives directions to other departments, but there are many cases in which they also need to follow instructions. Whether it is written or verbal, a game UX designer has to be able to both provide and receive feedback.

4. Analytical and Technical Skills

While the artistic side is instrumental, a successful game UX designer knows the tools they can use and how to best implement them. It is important to be familiar with scripting and other programming basics - they will help you better understand what the game really needs. 

Creating a game is a complex process. The more you know about its technicalities, such as the game engine and level design, you will be able to enhance the user experience. 

How Do You Become a Game UX Designer in 2024?

Whether you already have experience in UX design and you want to transfer to the gaming industry, or you are just starting in this field, the first thing you need to work on is your portfolio. This should encompass the work you have done that proves your skills as a product designer, such as wireframes, prototypes, and other projects that involve user experience.

As you are aiming for the gaming industry, it is essential to target your portfolio toward this subject. Do not let the fact that you have not yet worked for a company to design their game. A common practice of UX designers who want to branch out in the field is redesigning games that already exist. During this process, you will be able to play and analyze different games, which gives you a better understanding of what you could potentially do to enhance them. 

After you have created a hefty and varying portfolio, you will need to get down to the nitty-gritty of gaming design. Chances are that you are already familiar with some of them as a person who is passionate about gaming. From the dynamics to the mechanics and the visual elements, you have plenty of resources in the form of books, tutorials, and online courses to study.

You can gain a lot of useful insights by collaborating with game developers. Think about it this way: Game developers are on a constant hunt for UX designers that can help them boost and improve their games. This is a great opportunity to learn tips and explore the market and it can also turn into networking. You never know who could recommend you for a job!

One piece of advice that is commonly given in the industry for newbies is to get into prototyping before you even land a job. Creativity is a muscle, it needs to be trained. It does not matter if your first tries are a little shabby, because skill is built over time. 

The final step is to analyze the market and study different companies you would like to work with. Find roles that match your skillsets and apply for interviews. Make sure that you are properly prepared for your discussion with a potential employer. People like to see that someone is genuinely interested in what they do, so study their catalog of works beforehand. 

uinkits – Our Figma Design System and UI Kits

We at uinkits understand the importance of inputs in great user experiences and creating amazing UI designs. That’s why we’ve developed a Figma UI Kit with design components that include these essential UI elements that enable you to design intuitive and user-friendly interfaces effortlessly.  

“You press the button, we do the rest.” – Kodak.

Inspired by this iconic tagline from Kodak, we believe in simplifying the design process for you. Our Figma UI Kit, uinkits, is a complete design system with UI components that allows you, as a UI UX designer, to create your products as quickly as pressing a button. 

Our design system includes UI components, icons, variables, cards, buttons and everything you need for your design process. All you have to do is take your UI design component needed, and you’re ready to use it in your designs!

Cristi Fonea
March 28, 2024

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