What is video game writing?
Think about your favorite video game. What’s the storyline? Is there any dialogue? Did it come with a game guide? From Super Mario Brothers to Call of Duty, you’ll find many types of writing within the game. Full-time and freelance writers are tasked with creating that content, and they’re also needed in the planning, development, and marketing phases of a game.
You can find video game writing jobs for video game guides, sales copy, walk-throughs, game narratives, reviews, gaming books, and so much more. You can also be asked to create posts on industry trends and events, in-depth articles about games and creators, media scripts, and other materials relevant for gaming audiences.
Basically, any written content about video games is considered video game writing. It’s a growing industry with plenty of room for you. Part of your work outside of video game writing may include researching, interviewing, analyzing games, developing storyline ideas, and other tasks that’ll help you create the content your client needs.
In 2020, approximately 10,263 video games were released.
Where can you work as a video game writer?
Options are abundant when it comes to where you can work as a video game writer, but the best choices come down to how you like to work and get paid. If you prefer a more traditional job, you’ll want to look for an established gaming company that hires writers on a full-time or part-time basis.
There are often opportunities with game development companies, gaming magazines, and large media companies that cover video games. While these positions won’t always allow you to work from home, they typically come with a regular paycheck, and could even include benefits.
If you prefer to be your own boss, you also become a freelance writer in the video game industry. Instead of working directly for one company, many freelancers work with a variety of clients. For instance, one week you could write blog posts for an up-and-coming gaming blog while you’re also creating social media content for a small startup and working on a game guide project for a larger company. As a freelancer, you’ll experience more control and flexibility as you work.
No matter which type of work you decide to pursue, video game writing isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t passionate about gaming, you’ll have a hard time in this challenging industry. Your clients expect you to understand gaming culture and be comfortable writing about it. Moreover, games and gaming technology are continually changing, so you must be willing to do the research and stay current.
If you think writing about video games sounds like a great fit for you, keep reading to see what other qualifications will help you succeed in this role.
What qualifications do you need as a video game writer?
You don’t need a college degree in writing or tons of expertise to land most of these video game writing jobs. While each company sets its requirements, here are six basic qualifications most ask for when looking for writers:
- Writing skills. You’ve got to be able to write great content and ensure it’s ready for an audience to devour; grammar mistakes are one of the most common video game writing mistakes that can damage your reputation.
- Industry knowledge. If you don’t know (or care) about the popular games, this isn’t the right field for you.
- Communication skills. You’ll be interacting with clients and creating content for a specific audience. You must be able to communicate well.
- Organization skills. As a freelance writer, you’ll be keeping track of your assignments and handling your business paperwork. If you aren’t organized, you’ll miss deadlines or forget to send an invoice.
- Willingness to research. You aren’t going to be an expert in every single game you’re ever asked to write about. But, with passion and research, you can create engaging (and accurate) content for your clients.
- Ability to work on a team. Freelance video game writer jobs often require collaboration with other group members, so you’ll need to work effectively with them.
How to become a video game writer
If you’ve got the skills companies want, the next step is getting started. As a video game writer, there are a few things you can do to get your business launched, find gigs, and start making money.
1. Create your portfolio
Before you start landing gigs, you’ll need to create a video game writer portfolio to show potential clients. They want to see that you can write great content. If you don’t have previous experience in the video game industry, take time to create some video game writing samples and publish them on a personal website, guest post on gaming sites, or post it to a place like Medium.
If you plan on guest posting, take some time to research before you submit your post. You’ll want to do a Google search to find gaming sites that allow contributors. You can use these keywords to help find some opportunities: “Video games + Write for us."
When you find a site that looks promising, check out their other content and past posts. You’ll have a better chance of getting published if you create the type of material their audience expects and that is fresh compared to their existing content.
Once you’ve got a published link or video game work to share, add it to your digital portfolio. Many people house portfolios on their website, but you can also build a digital portfolio on places like ClearVoice and Contently if you’re not ready to create your own site. As a bonus, these companies are also platforms that connect clients and freelancers. If your portfolio and experience match a need, you could have jobs sent your way.
2. Find video game writing jobs
Once you have a couple of samples ready, it’s time to start looking for video game writing jobs. Here are four ideas to get your name out there:
- Scour and apply for video game writing jobs on free writing job boards. Here are several you can peruse:
- Blogging Pro
- Freelance Writing
- Freelance Writing Gigs and its job board
- All Freelance Writing
- Facebook groups with writing jobs
- Cold pitch gaming companies. Start with gaming companies who produce games you’re passionate about and then branch out.
- Ask your network for leads and let everyone you know or come in contact with what you do and what you’re looking for.
- Google "video game writing jobs" and see what's available on company websites and employment sites.
Other options include:
- Craiglist boards for local and big cities like New York. Look at both the jobs and gigs sections.
If you see video game writing jobs with interesting titles, use those specific keywords to find the perfect video game writing job for your skillset.
3. Write great content for each video game writing job
Once you land a job, do your best work on it. You want to deliver work that exceeds your client’s expectations.
Always proofread your work before you submit it. Also, stick to your deadline and do a good job communicating with your client. Your reputation plays a big role in your game writing career, and happy clients are often excellent referral sources.
4. Do your financial paperwork
Many video game writing jobs are done on a freelancing basis, which means you’re typically considered a contract worker, not an employee.
This means you won’t get an automatic paycheck for the work you turn in. Instead, you need to submit an invoice if you want to get paid. As a contractor, you’ll also be responsible for paying your own taxes on income earned. You’ll need to send that quarterly, and it’s a good idea to have extra cash on hand to cover business expenses while you wait for client payments.
5. Market your business
Work won’t automatically start rolling in once you’ve completed one or two pieces of writing. You must keep marketing your business and applying for new writing gigs.
You can draw in some additional business by giving yourself a title on your social media profiles. Add “video game writer” to your bio, and occasionally post that you’re looking for additional writing opportunities.
Also consider creating a website so potential clients can learn who you are and what writing services you offer. This is the perfect place to explain your availability, pricing, unique selling point, and portfolio. Hosting providers like SiteGround and Bluehost are popular. Many sites on the web use WordPress.org to build their site and free WordPress themes to make it easier.
Social proof also helps with marketing. If a client likes what you’ve created, ask them for a testimonial. Then, with their permission, use their words on your website, LinkedIn profile, and even emails when responding to inquiries, so others can see that you’ve done great work in the past.
Approximately 44,690 Americans are employed as video game writers.
6. Rinse and repeat
It can take some time to get your video game writing business up and running, so don’t worry if things seem slow at first. Instead, keep repeating the above steps and watch your business slowly grow.
Always be on the lookout for new video game writing jobs and continue to gain new samples and market yourself. As you publish new pieces, update your portfolio and add the experience to your resume. Then, you’ll be in a better position to land writing jobs in the future.
How much do video game writers make?
You can earn a lot of money as a video game writer. According to Salary.com, the national average annual salary for someone in this field in the United States is $70,366.
Of course, your income potential depends on many factors. Your experience, skill level, number of hours worked, and rates all play a role in how much you earn. Full-time game writing positions typically pay more than part-time or freelance jobs. You’ll have less flexibility with your time and responsibilities when working full-time for someone else, but there are benefits and employee perks that make it worth it.
15 video game writing jobs to try
Now that you know how to make money as a video game writer, it’s time to explore 15 different opportunities available in this field. If you see one that looks fun or promising, head to Google or one of the job boards listed above to find gaming companies currently hiring.
1. Video game scriptwriter
Do you love the idea of bringing games to life? If yes, consider looking for work as a video game scriptwriter. Without a script, the games wouldn’t play well. There’d be no consistent plot or storyline, and the characters wouldn’t stay true to themselves.
To help make games compelling, companies hire video game writers to create the script. Often, several writers work together to complete this project. Each writer must be willing to collaborate with others, including game designers and voice actors.
2. Video game guide writer
When you were a kid, did you eagerly dive into the booklet that came with new games? These books explained gameplay and controls and gave some basic backstory to help players succeed. While printed books have been replaced with digital guides, you can still teach others how to play new games by writing video game guides.
To succeed as a video game guide writer, you must be able to explain complicated tasks succinctly. Familiarity with gaming controls and knowing the ins and outs of the video game are also essential.
3. Video game copywriter
If you can create compelling copy, you’ll be able to help video game companies sell their game. Copywriters create sales pages, box copy, advertisements, email sequences, and more.
To apply for this type of video game writing gig, you’ll need some proven samples of your copy, even if it’s in a different niche. Your clients want to see that you have what it takes to create content that encourages readers to click through and make a purchase.
4. Video game narrative designer
Are you a storyteller who can help shape the narrative of a new game? As a video games narrative designer, you’ll put your creative writing skills and technical expertise to work.
In this writing role, you’ll help shape gameplay to tell the desired story. You’ll help:
- Pace out gameplay
- Write mission dialogue
- Contribute to the narrative vision of the game
- Ensure voice actors are properly capturing the narrative vision
This role is a bit more time-consuming, so it may be full-time. Always make sure you ask about the time expectations before you accept a position.
5. Gaming news writer
The gaming industry always has news to share with the public. If you enjoy staying up to date on all things gaming, one of these game writer jobs could be a good fit.
As a news writer, expect to write newspaper-style articles about popular gaming systems, up-and-coming video games, and gaming technology changes. You might even be asked to cover popular industry events such as Comic-Con and Gamescom. How cool would it be to get paid to attend and write about one of those?
6. Video game reviewer
Consider looking for work as a game review writer if you enjoy diving deep into video games and gaming trends. In this role, you’ll create honest reviews about new video games. You may also be asked to compare video games to help players decide which one to go with.
To succeed as this type of video game writer, you must be familiar with each game. You should play them several times before you start writing to understand better how the game actually works. While you can do some research to help you create content, your audience can detect whether or not you’ve played the game.
7. Creative story editor
This video game writing position is similar to the narrative designer above. However, it’s different enough that it deserves its own spot on the list.
As a creative story editor, you get to work with other members of the game production team to ensure the gameplay is a good fit for the target demographic. You’ll also look for inconsistencies in the script, story, and gameplay. This way, players have the best experience possible as they work their way through the game.
These types of writing jobs aren’t typically for beginners, so you might need experience in other kinds of video game writing and development. They’re also more likely to be full-time, so check the details carefully.
8. Gaming channel scriptwriter
Have you ever watched video gamers play on YouTube or other video channels? You can find really popular channels for a variety of games.
While some users write their own scripts for their channel, many prefer to lean on those with more expertise to create professional scripts that provide magnetic opening hooks, compelling descriptions, and smooth transitions.
You’ll need lots of creativity for these writing jobs since they’re so different. For instance, some people love to watch videos of gamers trying tough challenges or new ways to accomplish familiar goals. You’ll get to brainstorm ideas and see what fun videos you can help create.
If there’s a gamer you enjoy watching, reach out and ask if they ever work with freelancers. You might be able to create content for your favorite YouTuber.
9. Video game walkthrough writer
Do you love finding all of the secrets as you play? Are you familiar with cheat codes and how to use them?
If you dive deep into the video games you play, you should look for opportunities to create video game walkthroughs. Your content can help a frustrated player learn how to tackle the next challenge, and finally make progress in the game. In fact, a well-written walkthrough can help a player finally achieve all of the game’s objectives and feel the pride that comes with it.
Since companies want their guides to rank well in search engines, you’ll want to have SEO experience in this position. That way, you can include the long-tail keywords (you'll learn about those) that people are actually searching for. You can look for patterns in searches and deliver the best information for readers.
10. Video game social media writer
There’s a lot of buzz about gaming on social media. Companies need someone to create shareable content to help spread the word about their games.
With social media writing jobs, you could create content about:
- The latest gaming news
- Updates on developing games
- Tips for gameplay
- Upcoming gaming events
- Fun facts about games or the company
Video game writing jobs in this category will likely include some social media management as well as content creation, so you’ll want to read the expectations carefully. That way, you don’t get stuck on social media when you’d prefer to be writing.
11. Video game list post writers
List style posts are super popular in the video game industry. If you would enjoy writing content like these:
- The top 5 strategy video games of all times
- 10 video games to try if you like Call of Duty
- 7 video games to help your kids practice reading
Then video games list writing jobs might be in your future. To succeed, you must be a good researcher so that your list includes the best gaming options. You also want your passion for gaming to shine, so readers view you as an authority in the gaming space.
There are plenty of list-style sites that don’t specialize in gaming, but still might be open to content in this niche. So, don’t rule out a site just because it doesn’t specify gaming. If they accept a wide variety of content, it’s worth trying.
12. Strategy guide writer
While walkthroughs help gamers complete the game, strategy guides help them tackle a specific objective. In this job, you write about a variety of video games. This means you need a broad knowledge of gaming culture.
As with the walkthrough video game writing jobs, you must be skilled in SEO best practices. You want to deliver exactly what the gamer is looking for, so they can quickly get the answer in your video game guide and move on.
13. Video game book writer
There’s a rich history of gaming culture, and several books have been written on this topic. From Hyrule Historia to The Art of Super Mario Odyssey, you can find actual books on many video games.
Those books? Someone needs to write them. And if you enjoy writing longer content, you might be the best writer for the job.
Since video game books are often in-depth, several writers might collaborate on them. You’ll need to work well with others so that projects get completed on time. Since it’s a team effort, you’ll likely be a ghostwriter, meaning you won’t get your name on the cover or other recognition. Make sure you know the terms and conditions of the position before you begin.
A quick word of warning about this type of video game writing job: video games and characters are licensed. You must work directly with the production company, or a company they’ve given express, written permission to. Otherwise, you could be violating copyright laws and wind up in legal trouble.
14. Video game features writer
If you enjoy writing feature stories, you can be a feature post writer. Feature writers create easy-to-read material on popular gamers, talented designers, and other hot topics in the gaming industry.
To succeed in one of these video game writer jobs, you might need to interview people over the phone or in person. Top-notch communication skills are a must, but showing up as confident (even when you’re not) can go a long way. Having key talking points about your portfolio and preparing interview questions ahead of time can help calm nerves.
15. Gaming blogger
With a simple Google search, you can find thousands of blogs devoted to video games. Many of these blogs have a never-ending need for fresh content their audience is interested in, and freelance gaming writers deliver that.
To succeed in this role, you’ll need to create video-game-themed content your readers can quickly scan. You’ll also need to communicate effectively in email, since that’s how you’ll typically send pitches to companies.
4 tips to help you succeed in video game writing jobs
Did you see any writing positions you’d like to try? To help stand out from the other applicants and have your business succeed your business, try these five quick tips:
- Always research the company you’re applying for. They want to know that you’ll be a good fit, so customize your writer application materials to show why you would be. Also, when sending your pitch email, try to find a name to address it to. It shows you’ve done your homework, and comes off much better than the vague and outdated, “To whom this may concern.”
- Push past rejection. As a freelance video game writer, many companies will tell you no. Rejection is part of the journey, so don’t let it get you down or take it personally. Just keep pitching.
- Keep your writer portfolio updated. As you get better samples from experience, replace the old ones you’ve been using.
- Build relationships with other freelance video game writers. Instead of viewing them as competitors, view them as coworkers. You never know when someone might have too many video game writer jobs and send a referral your way.
You really can earn money from home as a video game writer with these jobs. Any one of them would be a great way to get your business off the ground.