Addressing Skills and Innovation Needs in the Video Game Industry

Jun 27, 2024By Niall Maher
Niall Maher

The gaming industry's rapid growth is a testament to its ever-increasing appeal and technological advancements, positioning it as a leading sector for innovation and creativity. With an expected surge in the global player base to nearly 3.8 billion by 2030,

The video game industry is a dynamic and ever-evolving field, driven by rapid technological advancements, shifting consumer preferences, and new business models. Despite its impressive growth, the industry faces several skills and innovation gaps that must be addressed to continue thriving.


One of the most pressing issues is the skills gap, highlighted by the fact that 26% of gaming companies report being limited by a lack of skills and expertise in their workforce. This shortage underscores the urgent need for continuous learning and professional development within the industry. In this blog, we will explore these key areas and discuss potential solutions to bridge these gaps.

Skills Gaps

 1. Advanced Programming and Software Development:

As the complexity of video games increases, there is a high demand for developers skilled in languages such as C++, C#, Python, and Java. Expertise in game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine, although some companies are exploring alternatives, remains crucial. To address this gap, educational programs and bootcamps focused on game development should be enhanced, and partnerships between industry and academic institutions should be strengthened.

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 2. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:

AI and ML have the potential to revolutionize the gaming industry by improving NPC behavior, procedural content generation, and personalized gaming experiences. However, the adoption and innovation of these technologies are still limited. To better integrate AI/ML, the industry must invest in specialized training for developers and foster collaboration with AI research communities.

This expansion, however, introduces complex challenges, including the necessity to manage high turnover rates and navigate a fiercely competitive market that relentlessly demands fresh, innovative content. In this dynamic environment, the importance of talent optimization and embracing AI and ML becomes paramount.

3. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

VR and AR offer immersive experiences that can transform gaming, yet there is a significant skills and innovation gap in these areas. Developing VR/AR content requires specialized skills in 3D modeling, spatial computing, and user experience (UX) design. Cross-disciplinary training that bridges traditional game development with VR/AR technologies is essential to close this gap.

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AR and VR initiatives are not just strategic imperatives but essential components for sustaining growth and fostering a culture of continuous innovation. By prioritizing the development and inclusion of AR and VR talent, the gaming industry can unlock new levels of creativity, drive engagement, and build a new platform for propelling the sector to new heights.

4. Data Analytics and User Research

Understanding player behavior, engagement, and retention through data analytics is crucial for the gaming industry. However, there is a shortage of data scientists and analysts. Encouraging data science education specific to gaming analytics and fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making can help address this gap.

The demand for multi-skilled data driven employees is intensifying, with roles in the industry becoming more diverse and overlapping. Employees often find themselves wearing multiple hats, from game design and programming to community management and QA testing. The lack of data analytics and research complexity adds to the challenge of video game optimization and development.

5. Cybersecurity

The gaming industry is sitting on a hotbed of coveted data – vast amounts of instances of personally identifiable information (PII) and credit card information of gamers worldwide. It’s the responsibility of the industry to protect this information and ensure that their platforms are a safe environment for gamers.

Shield Internet phone Smartphone is protected from hacker attacks, Firewall Businesspeople press the protected phone on the internet. space put message

Protecting video games from hacking, cheating, and data breaches requires specialized cybersecurity skills. Integrating cybersecurity training into game development curricula and hiring dedicated security experts are necessary steps to safeguard the industry.

Another key consideration here is that the video gaming industry is required to comply with the global Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) that requires that gamers’ credit card details are kept secure. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) gives supervisory authorities the power to fine non-compliant organizations €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover, whichever is greater. Various local regulations also require that gaming transactions can be audited.

 6. Narrative Design and Storytelling

Compelling narratives and immersive storylines are vital for engaging players, yet narrative design and storytelling skills are often overlooked and undervalued. Ireland, with its rich history of literature and storytelling heritage, could lead the way in enhancing these skills. Collaborating with writers and narrative designers from other media industries, such as film and literature, can elevate the storytelling quality in games.

White robot human featuresInnovation Gaps

1. Cross-Platform Play and Interoperability
Seamless cross-platform play and interoperability between different gaming systems and devices are still in their infancy. Developing standardized protocols and APIs that facilitate cross-platform integration is essential for expanding the gaming ecosystem. There are also legal and licensing challenges involved in creating interoperability. For example, ensuring that intellectual property rights are respected across different platforms and games

2. Ethical Game Design

Ethical game design addresses critical issues within the gaming industry, such as addiction, unfair monetization practices, and the broader impacts of game mechanics on players' well-being. With the rise of microtransactions and in-game purchases, there is growing concern about creating disparities between players who can afford upgrades and those who cannot. This practice can lead to a "pay-to-win" environment, where financial capability determines success, thereby diminishing the gaming experience for many. Ethical game design aims to create balanced and fair gaming ecosystems by establishing clear, transparent, and fair monetization strategies. Developers should incorporate ethical guidelines right from the concept phase, ensuring that games are designed to be engaging and rewarding without exploiting players' psychological vulnerabilities. This includes transparent communication about the odds of winning in loot boxes, fair matchmaking systems that do not penalize non-spending players, and mechanics that encourage skill and strategy over financial investment. Moreover, addressing addiction involves designing games that promote healthy gaming habits, such as implementing time-outs or reminders for breaks.

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By fostering an ethical design framework, game developers can build trust with their audience, promote long-term player engagement, and contribute positively to the broader discourse on digital well-being. Establishing industry-wide standards and encouraging developers to adhere to them will ensure that ethical considerations become a cornerstone of game design, leading to a more inclusive and fair gaming environment for all players.

3. Inclusive Design

Games accessible to players with disabilities are still not widespread. Innovating inclusive design principles from the outset and collaborating with accessibility advocates and experts can ensure that games are enjoyable for all players.

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In the realm of sim racing, for instance, efforts to create innovative ideas for accessibility should be encouraged and expanded.

 4. Blockchain and NFT

Leveraging blockchain technology and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) for in-game assets and economies presents both opportunities and challenges. The regulatory and technical landscape is still a minefield, requiring careful navigation. Furthermore, blockchain-based games can implement decentralized finance (DeFi) mechanisms, allowing players to earn rewards and participate in governance within the game ecosystem. This fosters a more inclusive and participatory gaming environment, where players can have a stake in the development and success of the games they love. 

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Conducting research and pilot projects to explore the benefits and risks of blockchain integration in games is necessary for responsible innovation.


The video game industry stands at the cusp of incredible growth and innovation. By addressing the skills and innovation gaps highlighted above, the industry can continue to thrive and deliver cutting-edge experiences to players worldwide. Collaborative efforts between educational institutions, industry leaders, and policymakers are essential for fostering an environment of continuous learning and innovation.

Competition from other sectors is another major consideration here also. Video games companies around the world compete fiercely to recruit the best talent for roles which are highly specialised, innovative and forward-facing. Additionally, as a industry which relies on cutting-edge infrastructure and technical talent, video game companies often compete not only with themselves but with the wider technology industry.

As we move forward, investing in specialised skills and training, ethical practices, and inclusive design will ensure that the gaming industry remains vibrant and resilient, ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.